Um Horizon Zero Dawn's story may have majorly ripped off Mass Effect

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#1 Posted by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

I just finished the game and while I thought the combat was amazing the story kinda left a bad taste. In the beginning it was intriguing, the mystery and scale of it all. But as the plot slowly unraveled it started to feel more and more like a certain other game I played a long time ago. After analyzing the game's story in depth now, I can say the the game's overall plot is an almost one for one retread of the first mass effect game. Fair warning, its a fairly in depth analysis and not for the TLDR kids. Here is my analysis (FULL SPOILERS):

The World/Galaxy is one where life is still only in its budding stages thanks to an extinction level event having wiped out the previous dominant and highly advanced race, the Old ones/Protheans. It is now filled with conflict due to various tribes/races vying for dominance like the Carja,Nora,Banuk / Human,Salarian,Turians.

Aloy/Shepard is a fighter of uncommon mettle and lowly origins that survived a disastrous event (the Proving/Akuze incident) and is chosen by the Matriarchs/Citadel Council to become the Seeker/Spectre, a title that grants special rights, extra freedom and immunity from the more mundane laws of the society, due to Aloy's/Shepards special link to the Old ones/Protheans thanks to contact with the Ruins of the Old ones/Prothean Beacons. Aloy's/Shepard's mission is to uncover the secrets of the past and stop Helis/Saren, who are outlaws wanted for murder and defection.

Aloy/Shepard causes many troubles for Helis/Saren thanks to betrayals by Olin/Benezia (who prove to be unwilling slaves working for the enemy) and help from other tribes/races (Carja/Salarians). After some investigation, they discover Helis/Saren are mere pawns of a far more ancient foe called Hades/Sovereign that has simply appealed to Helis/Saren's ideals by saying what they want to hear and are using them to amass the power and armies (Eclipse/Geth) required to carry out its plans. Helping Aloy,Helis/Shepard,Saren to understand the Old ones/Protheans are the Focus/Cipher that allow them to communicate indirectly with the Old ones/Protheans.

Helis/Saren knows Aloy/Shepard is after the same thing they are after i.e. more Ruins of the old ones/Prothean Beacons and tries to destroy the focus/Cipher before Aloy/Shepard can fully use it. Helis's/Saren's end goal is to obtain the Deathbringers/Conduit, which will make their mission much easier than otherwise. Further investigation and tips from allies lead Aloy/Shepard to the Zero Dawn facility/Virmire Base where they find another Old one Hologram/Prothean Beacon and learn where they need to go next and understand what caused the extinction i.e the Faro Plague/Reapers. They also encounter Helis/Saren here and is almost killed but bailed out by an ally (Sylence/Joker) using Overridden mounts/Normandy.

Aloy/Shepard thus head to All-Mother Mountain/Ilos Prothean Facility which is already overrun by the Eclipse/Geth and meets an ancient AI called Gaia/Vigil which was created by the Old ones/Protheans with the task of guiding the new races and preventing them from making the same mistakes that caused extinction. The Zero Dawn Scientists\Prothean Ilos Scientists survived the extinction and sacrificed themselves in order to aid the future races against the Faro Plague/Reapers. Gaia/Vigil explains that in order to prevent another extinction, Hades/Sovereign must be stopped from getting to the Spire/Citadel Relay, which is its true goal. The Spire/Citadel Relay is an ancient artifact that reactivates and recalls the dormant Faro Plague/Reapers and thus triggers the extinction event all over again.

Using help from multiple Tribes/Races and allies gathered throughout their mission, Aloy/Shepard is able to kill or convince Helis/Saren and stop Hades/Sovereign once and for all.

END ANALYSIS

Needless to say, this rather impacted my experience with the game negatively, and when the Zero Dawn 'twist' was revealed, I could only manage a groan as I just felt it was mass effect all over again.

But what confounded me is how apparently nobody else has discussed about this anywhere on the net, even though I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this sequence of .... suspicious coincidences. Usually something like this spawns a lot of discussion on reddit and stuff. So what are your thoughts? What did you think about the story? Are you accepting of something like this?

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#2 Posted by dreman999 (11257 posts) -

* In before any mention of author c. Clark being the bases of both theae games.

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#3 Edited by RSM-HQ (7513 posts) -

just finished the game and while I thought the combat was amazing

. . .

Don't recall the combat being amazing but never finished it either so maybe it got better, much later-on.

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#4 Posted by nepu7supastar7 (4713 posts) -

@hyperbertha:

Either way, the world and its inhabitants are different enough for me to forgive it. I'd say that what you mentioned are similarities at best.

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#5 Posted by Damedius (363 posts) -

Does that mean Horizon 3 will have a pointless ending in which nothing we did mattered at all?

Does this mean Horizon 4 will diversify it's writing staff, resulting in it sounding like fan fiction written by a 18 year old gender studies major.

Having said that I'm okay with as long as it doesn't cause my face to be tired and as long as it allows me to identify as an Asari Commando,

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#6 Posted by SoNin360 (6949 posts) -

Interesting parallels, but it doesn't change my opinion of the game. I was really interested by the story throughout. I don't think I ever thought of Mass Effect while playing this game, though it's been a while since I've played the first game. Regardless, the Mass Effect trilogy was amazing story-wise (even in spite of the muddy ending of the third game) so even if Horizon did borrow elements from it, I'd still say it's still rather unique in its own way, or at least different enough for the resemblance to be unnoticeable to most.

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#7 Posted by mrbojangles25 (42415 posts) -

The concept of a "precursor" race is nothing new, and fairly common in sci-fi. That might be the definition of a "trope" but not sure.

I don't think you can blame Horizon: Zero Dawn for being unoriginal without doing the same of Mass Effect. And Game of Thrones. And Star Trek. And...

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#8 Edited by xantufrog (10103 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: I agree, the OP is giving way too much credit to ME. These are old (but good) sci fi themes. I was genuinely surprised at how well HZD pulled it off. If only the side quests and characters were more interesting. It had the opposite problem of TW3, basically

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#9 Edited by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

@SoNin360: You may have enjoyed it but its still quite shady to take a story and disguise it just enough for the average player to not notice it. I noticed it, and hence couldn't enjoy it. This is a big enough problem for me.

@nepu7supastar7: Similarities? Everything that happens in the story is in the exact same sequence of events. Even the twist is the same. No way this is a coincidence.

@mrbojangles25: I thought it was clear it did way more than just borrow the precursor race concept. The story literally is the same, with name changes throughout to disguise it. This is far from just a 'trope'. Mass effect just borrowed a theme. Zero Dawn lifted the whole thing. Don't see how you can defend what could be plagiarism.

@xantufrog: All horizon did was copy the exact same story. Mass effect did something original with the concept. Its story, its twist, was all unique. These similarities are just too frequent, and even the order of events is the same, to the point it significantly affected my enjoyment. Its was an 8.5/10 but now its a 6/10.

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#10 Edited by xantufrog (10103 posts) -

@hyperbertha: mass effect didn't do jack that was original. Or, put more fairly, the only thing original it did was string together a bunch of old Sci Fi tropes in a fun package. And THAT's where it actually has merit. HZD did the same. You're holding these to too high a standard. I'd argue HZD felt fresher in its use of various old ideas, in fact. But regardless, when you start chastising people for supporting plagiarism, that's not fair

*edit* you don't have to take my word for it - Google "mass effect story ripped off" And you'll find long nerdrage discussions about how unoriginal ME is... and chill people pointing out that it's all about the execution that makes these things special

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#11 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (4713 posts) -

@hyperbertha:

"Similarities? Everything that happens in the story is in the exact same sequence of events. Even the twist is the same. No way this is a coincidence."

How? Look at what Mass Effect had.

*Mass Effect had interstellar space travel from planet to planet.

*As well as the abundance of different alien races.

* A war against Machines. (Something Mass Effect borrowed from movies to begin with.)

*Had you controlling a customizable commander whose duty was to assemble a team to undertake missions given by a high council.

☝😕 Now how is ANY of that exactly the same as Horizon Zero Dawn? Because of the rapid machines acting like animals? Because of the ancient city ruins? Because of a simple Prothean and ancient human comparison? (Yet another popular sci fi theme that Mass Effect borrowed)

Because I sure don't remember Commander Shepherd hacking into Reapers and using them to fight alongside you. Or riding them like horses. Or using a head piece to use old technology that Shepherd discovered as a child. Or humans actively worshipping ancient human technology. Or humans basically living in a new stone age.

The differences couldn't be any more severe. And to say that HZD is a clear rip off is like saying that Mass Effect was the first that did all of that in the story. While it was indeed far from original. All of your points were about a sequence of events. Something that many people can use for practically every game that has ever come out with a story and accuse of not being original.

I was a huge fan of the Mass Effect trilogy too and it was definitely not something I ever thought about when I play Horizon Zero Dawn. Because the execution and deliverance for the stories of these two franchises is different enough that you can easily overlook any similarity.

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#12 Posted by Random_Matt (3477 posts) -

HZD is a better game though, ME ripped off stuff from other games/movies or whatever. Every game does, unless you are pretty dumb to not realise.

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#13 Posted by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

@nepu7supastar7: So they changed Races to Tribes and Protheans to the Old ones. I don't think you get my point. (not that I expect you to admit being wrong even if you have solid proof). The details and sequence of events in H:zd is the EXACT same. You didn't even read my comparison did you?

@xantufrog: show me another piece of media where the same plotlines happened in the exact same order of events. Something like Sovereign taking control of Saren, Sovereign using the relay to reactivate the reapers, the protheans sacrificing everything to stop the same event etc. It has to be the exact same. Then I'll believe you. Because H:ZD it IS the exact same. Ripping off a premise is a whole different matter than ripping of a story with the exact same plot details.

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#14 Posted by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

@Random_Matt: Mass effect ripped off a premise. H:ZD ripped off the whole story right down to the plot details to the point I felt like I was playing mass effect with a tribal theme. Not the same thing. Also quick question, are you a ps4 only owner?

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#15 Posted by Random_Matt (3477 posts) -

@hyperbertha: No.

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#16 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (4713 posts) -

@hyperbertha:

I did read your comparison and it still sounds far fetched. Like as if Saren and the Prothean and Reapers weren't ripped off from other sources of media already. As many have mentioned already, the Protheans and Reapers are based on popular sci fi tropes. Mass Effect wasn't the first and doesn't have to be the last.

So what if Horizon Zero Dawn was inspired by Mass Effect? Lion King was heavily inspired by Hamlet but you don't see anyone complaining. Even Metroid Fusion was heavily inspired by Alien and yes, I'm also talking about sequence of events. But no one is complaining about that either.

Because the world and character makeup is different and the execution is different.

If anything, Mass Effect has alot more in common with Halo's storyline than it does with Horizon Zero Dawn.

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#17 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (21328 posts) -

Is it theft to steal something that's already stolen? Food for thought.

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#18 Edited by xantufrog (10103 posts) -

@hyperbertha: 1) HZD is not LITERALLY a point for point a rip off of the ME plot. You're creating weak equivalences to make that point.

2) apparently you didnt Google like I suggested. Dozens of threads with people sounding exactly like you - except pointing to stories that they argue Mass Effect ripped off.

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#19 Edited by GNS (231 posts) -

Almost at the end (one quest left) on Horizon Zero Dawn. I can't see any essential similarities between them: the gameplay feels different, the world feels different, the characters feel different and the story feels different. Horizon may have borrowed something from Mass Effect (like ancient civilizations that left their technologies behind for others to find and some old evil looming in the darkness with its own agenda (Reapers - trying to purge the galaxy and start anew; Hades - trying to terraform the Earth and start anew), but even Mass Effect borrowed this stuff from other materials (science fiction books in general). Mass Effect was not a pioneer of this kind of story-telling. And, if gameplay, world, characters and story overall is different, you can't say it's a copy of one game or the other.

P.S. Now, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a copy (not carbon, but copy) of Mass Effect 1. Assassin's Creed: Rogue is a copy (not carbon, well, actually, in many instances carbon copy) of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag etc. HZD is not a copy of ME franchise.

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#20 Edited by Planeforger (17827 posts) -

I've always thought Mass Effect borrowed its plot from an earlier Bioware game, Neverwinter Nights.

Both games are about a hero-turned-traitor (Aribeth/Saren) hunting down a series of ancient tablet/beacons, with the ultimate goal of unleashing an ancient race that used to control/eat everything, but now just waits in a pocket dimension/dark space.

The portal to the ancient race is located in the traitor's former home (Neverwinter/the Citadel), and the story climaxes with an invasion of their home city in order to get to the portal. During the siege, you can either kill the traitor, or convince them of the error of their ways.

The main difference is that at the end of Neverwinter Nights, you enter the portal and kill the queen of the ancient race, whereas in Mass Effect you make a speech while the developers start furiously typing away at scripts for sequels.

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#21 Posted by BigCat2K20 (342 posts) -

Meh. I didn't think HZD's story is an rip-off of Mass Effect while playing it. The game's story was good in the beginning. But, it left me more questions than answers. There are others in the forum do an far better job explaining than I can. HZD & Mass Effect are two different games. To say it ripped off of Mass Effect 1's story is beyond reaching & nitpicking. I'm not ripping you in half for having your opinion on this topic. I'm just beyond tired of gaming community nit-pick over everything in today's video games.

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#22 Posted by bussinrounds (3046 posts) -
@Planeforger said:

I've always thought Mass Effect borrowed its plot from an earlier Bioware game, Neverwinter Nights.

Yea, If you've played any Bioware game before, Mass Effect will just feel like a rehash of characters, themes and plot devices. The story also felt like a bad Babylon 5 ripoff at times.

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#23 Posted by henrythefifth (1961 posts) -

There is very few similarities between the two. And HZD has the better story by far. Human constructed machines going haywire and eating the whole planet's living matter is pretty cool idea, as was the concept of using Zero Dawn to beat the machines and make sure life could rise again.

I was strongly moved by the human struggle to cope with the fact that they were all going to die. And yet they kept going, to finish the Zero Dawn project. They might die, but if they succeeded, in the future, life would become anew...

To keep going in the face of certain extinction of all living beings... I dont think we could do that in real life. When the global warming starts really to destroy this planet, we will just give up and regress into warring barbarians, methinks..

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#24 Posted by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

@henrythefifth: Its not very few. Both stories play out identically. And the whole thing humans went through in H:ZD is the exact same thing Protheans went through in mass effect. The reveal just made me groan. That pretty much proves this point for me. Replace Hades with Sovereign and Zero Dawn with Protheans and you have the exact same story. Its pretty sad if this is something that is considered impressive storytelling worthy of credit. Whats stopping anyone from changing a few names and calling it their own?

@nepu7supastar7: You need to understand the difference between ripping off something like ''space travel'' and ''precursor race'' vs ripping off plot points that drive the story forward. You can't say Mafia ripped of Gta because it has driving. Give me examples of Sovereign from another media before mass effect, doing the exact same things as in Mass effect.

@xantufrog: I didn't see any examples from you yet of how mass effect is a word for word ripoff of anything. All I see online is a bunch of people saying oo it ripped off space travel. To me this is so obvious its not even worth debating. The equivalences I make are pretty much identical. I don't see how you can call them weak. Also you seem to think I'm in bed with mass effect, well I assure you I'm open to accusing Mass effect of the same things I accuse of H:ZD. If mass effect turns out to be a word for word ripoff of anything I'll lose my respect for it too..

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#25 Posted by hyperbertha (17 posts) -

@BigCat2K20: The game's summary, and its details BOTH, play out in the exact same way down to the sequence or order. How in God's name is that nitpicking?

@Black_Knight_00:Well if it was already stolen then it just makes me sad. Is it right to change a few key names and call a story your own? Is that all it takes?

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#26 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (21328 posts) -

@hyperbertha said:

@Black_Knight_00:Well if it was already stolen then it just makes me sad. Is it right to change a few key names and call a story your own? Is that all it takes?

Yeah, art is imitation, that's how it is. It's not a bad thing.

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#27 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (4713 posts) -

@hyperbertha:

So where in Mass Effect did they say that they were going to create an ark and start the human race a new while desguising a war on machines as the actual mission? Where was the threat of climate shift? Where was the part were Commander Shepherd's past self created such a solution and his/her reincarnation traced their footsteps? Where was the part where Commander Shepherd spent their childhood living outside of civilization because they were shunned as an outcast?

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#28 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (4713 posts) -

@hyperbertha:

"Give me examples of Sovereign from another media before mass effect, doing the exact same things as in Mass effect."

The Grave Mind from Halo

Mother Brain and Ridley from Metroid

Malebolgia from spawn

Skynet's AI from Terminator

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#29 Posted by Sam3231 (2517 posts) -

Probably just a coincidence, I tend to notice these things all the time though

Deus Ex: HR ending was similar to Mass Effect 3

Battlefield 3 plot was similar to Black Ops 1

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#30 Posted by xantufrog (10103 posts) -

@nepu7supastar7 said:

@hyperbertha:

So where in Mass Effect did they say that they were going to create an ark and start the human race a new while desguising a war on machines as the actual mission? Where was the threat of climate shift? Where was the part were Commander Shepherd's past self created such a solution and his/her reincarnation traced their footsteps? Where was the part where Commander Shepherd spent their childhood living outside of civilization because they were shunned as an outcast?

right?

@hyperbertha said:

@xantufrog: I didn't see any examples from you yet of how mass effect is a word for word ripoff of anything. All I see online is a bunch of people saying oo it ripped off space travel.

I'm not posting 10 years of internet forum rants for you. And that's not what a quick google search shows at all. "[all I see is that people say it] ripped off space travel" give me a friggin break.

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#31 Posted by heljar75 (75 posts) -
@hyperbertha said:

I just finished the game and while I thought the combat was amazing the story kinda left a bad taste. In the beginning it was intriguing, the mystery and scale of it all. But as the plot slowly unraveled it started to feel more and more like a certain other game I played a long time ago. After analyzing the game's story in depth now, I can say the the game's overall plot is an almost one for one retread of the first mass effect game. Fair warning, its a fairly in depth analysis and not for the TLDR kids. Here is my analysis (FULL SPOILERS):

The World/Galaxy is one where life is still only in its budding stages thanks to an extinction level event having wiped out the previous dominant and highly advanced race, the Old ones/Protheans. It is now filled with conflict due to various tribes/races vying for dominance like the Carja,Nora,Banuk / Human,Salarian,Turians.

Aloy/Shepard is a fighter of uncommon mettle and lowly origins that survived a disastrous event (the Proving/Akuze incident) and is chosen by the Matriarchs/Citadel Council to become the Seeker/Spectre, a title that grants special rights, extra freedom and immunity from the more mundane laws of the society, due to Aloy's/Shepards special link to the Old ones/Protheans thanks to contact with the Ruins of the Old ones/Prothean Beacons. Aloy's/Shepard's mission is to uncover the secrets of the past and stop Helis/Saren, who are outlaws wanted for murder and defection.

Aloy/Shepard causes many troubles for Helis/Saren thanks to betrayals by Olin/Benezia (who prove to be unwilling slaves working for the enemy) and help from other tribes/races (Carja/Salarians). After some investigation, they discover Helis/Saren are mere pawns of a far more ancient foe called Hades/Sovereign that has simply appealed to Helis/Saren's ideals by saying what they want to hear and are using them to amass the power and armies (Eclipse/Geth) required to carry out its plans. Helping Aloy,Helis/Shepard,Saren to understand the Old ones/Protheans are the Focus/Cipher that allow them to communicate indirectly with the Old ones/Protheans.

Helis/Saren knows Aloy/Shepard is after the same thing they are after i.e. more Ruins of the old ones/Prothean Beacons and tries to destroy the focus/Cipher before Aloy/Shepard can fully use it. Helis's/Saren's end goal is to obtain the Deathbringers/Conduit, which will make their mission much easier than otherwise. Further investigation and tips from allies lead Aloy/Shepard to the Zero Dawn facility/Virmire Base where they find another Old one Hologram/Prothean Beacon and learn where they need to go next and understand what caused the extinction i.e the Faro Plague/Reapers. They also encounter Helis/Saren here and is almost killed but bailed out by an ally (Sylence/Joker) using Overridden mounts/Normandy.

Aloy/Shepard thus head to All-Mother Mountain/Ilos Prothean Facility which is already overrun by the Eclipse/Geth and meets an ancient AI called Gaia/Vigil which was created by the Old ones/Protheans with the task of guiding the new races and preventing them from making the same mistakes that caused extinction. The Zero Dawn Scientists\Prothean Ilos Scientists survived the extinction and sacrificed themselves in order to aid the future races against the Faro Plague/Reapers. Gaia/Vigil explains that in order to prevent another extinction, Hades/Sovereign must be stopped from getting to the Spire/Citadel Relay, which is its true goal. The Spire/Citadel Relay is an ancient artifact that reactivates and recalls the dormant Faro Plague/Reapers and thus triggers the extinction event all over again.

Using help from multiple Tribes/Races and allies gathered throughout their mission, Aloy/Shepard is able to kill or convince Helis/Saren and stop Hades/Sovereign once and for all.

END ANALYSIS

Needless to say, this rather impacted my experience with the game negatively, and when the Zero Dawn 'twist' was revealed, I could only manage a groan as I just felt it was mass effect all over again.

But what confounded me is how apparently nobody else has discussed about this anywhere on the net, even though I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this sequence of .... suspicious coincidences. Usually something like this spawns a lot of discussion on reddit and stuff. So what are your thoughts? What did you think about the story? Are you accepting of something like this?

Hmm....! Much of these sounds like Star Wars. Luke Skywalker could be Aloy/Shepard. Old Ones/Protheons can easily be Jedis. The disatrous event is the Clone Wars. Helis/Saren is of course The Emperor.

Point is if you look closely many stories contain similar elements without necessarily being rip-offs. I have played neither games. I played a few hours of Mass Effect and I've seen people playing Horizon. They are different game with different gameplay mechanics. And I don't think horizon even has space-travel.