Coffee and Horizon: Neil Druckmann Talks with Hermen Hulst

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Coffee and Horizon: Neil Druckmann Talks with Hermen Hulst

From the origins of Aloy to the emergence of a post-post-apocalypse, two iconic game developers sit down for coffee and conversation.

Across the diverse set of studios, offices, and teams that make up PlayStation, there’s one trait we all share: we love games. And since Horizon Zero Dawn launched on PS4 in late February, many of us have fallen hopelessly head over heels.

We’ve become enamored with Aloy, staggered by the scope of the world, and awed by the stunning visuals Guerrilla Games has crafted. Perhaps none so more than Naughty Dog Creative Director Neil Druckmann.

After spending some time with the game, Neil was able take time away from his busy schedule to sit down with Guerrilla Games Managing Director Hermen Hulst to chat about the long process of bringing Horizon Zero Dawn to life, and what it feels like to finally conclude a six-year development cycle.

Neil and Hermen represent some of the most celebrated game developers in the world, and it’s a treat to see them speak as mutual fans and Worldwide Studios colleagues.

A few things that stuck out to me:

  • Horizon Zero Dawn’s core combat originally featured contemporary weapons such as machine guns.
  • The six-year development cycle was filled with trials, tribulations, and doubt. It took a full year and a half to develop the first machine: the Thunderjaw.
  • Many things changed during development, but Guerrilla had a clear vision of the game’s protagonist from the very start: an agile hunter named Aloy.
  • The full depth of Aloy came together relatively late in the production cycle. Hermen credits Narrative Director John Gonzalez’s collaboration with voice actor Ashly Burch, the facial likeness of Dutch actress Hannah Hoekstra, and motion capture from parkour performers with bringing Aloy to life.

There’s a lot more in the full conversation, so we hope you watch and enjoy this peek behind the curtain of the PlayStation Worldwide Studio teams.

Comments are closed.


  • PLEASE! Do more of these styles of interviews between your game development studios. These are very interesting stories.

    • I currently gain in the span of 6000-8000 bucks on monthly basis with my internet task. Everyone eager to work easy online tasks for some h every day from your house and gain solid income for doing it… Then this work is for you…

  • great video. please do more of them in the future. always good to hear what industry leaders have to say.

  • Easily the coolest thing, in recent memory anyway, I’ve seen on the PlayStation.Blog

  • Fantastic piece, very well done. Would love to see more of this type of content! Thanks Zac and thanks Playstation for getting these two together.

  • freaking love these types of interviews.. WE NEED MOAR! , helps us gamers get an idea and perspective of what goes on in the heads of the us so much more respect for them and what they do.

  • This video was awesome. Please do more of these developers conversations.

  • this was such a great video, thank you for sharing it.

  • I loved this… makes me more excited to become a game developer even thought it hard cause I’m from Jamaica but I’ll never give up that dream because of this!!!

  • Amazing! I know these chats happen all the time but we don’t get to see them. Easily one of the best Playstation Blog posts to date! I would love to see more. Thanks guys!

  • To me this is almost like a passing of the baton, because Horizon has become my favourite Playstation IP taking over from TLOU.

    Fantastic interview. Great insights.

  • Imagine if NG and GG teamed up to co-develop a game? All that creativity and technical prowess crammed into one game would make my head explode.

  • I’ve never once before felt the need to comment on the blog, but I had to chime in to say I love this style of interview between two rockstars of the industry! Thank you for this content!

  • How about a ND and GG Colab project? Sounds like a match made in heaven! Great interview by the way.

  • more like this :)

  • Excellent work. Please do more of this kind of stuff. Favorite thing in recent memory for sure!

  • Horizon Zero Dawn is an instant classic to me and I hope the critical, fan, and commercial response reinforces that those were 6 years well spent.

  • Add in Cory Barlog and Hideo Kojima and this would be the ultimate PlayStation director!

  • This is a great idea, but is was a little boring.

    Would be awesome to see one with Yoko Taro and Hideo Kojima.

    Make it happen PS.Blog.

  • Thank you guys for this! Really amazing content and really enjoyable to listen to a couple of the figureheads of the best PS studios.

  • I love Horizon Zero Dawn. I haven’t been this thrilled with a game in a long time. And I’ve been playing for a long time.

    That said, I think that it was lousy that HZD shipped with so many bugs, especially considering its 6-year development cycle. Publishers and developers aren’t thinking about posterity at all. At some point, probably not that far off, PS4 will be retired and digital content won’t be available. Without the updates being applied to the game, the physical disc will be rather useless.

  • This was amazing!!!!! More videos of this nature!!!

  • Do more of them please

  • What an EXCELLENT interview! PLEASE do more of these! Maybe Hermen could interview Eric Jensen next and they can keep the chain going? :-D

  • Really appreciate this interview. Need to do more. Hulst interviews Kojima, next.

  • Really would like to see this,its been some days now since I’m itching to watch it but I’m afraid there are some Horizon footage on it and I don’t want spoilers since I haven’t beaten it yet.Anyway I know this is a fantastic video…always was fan of both ND and Guerrilla and always liked both Neil and Hermen.

  • This video was awesome. Please do more of these developers conversations interview :) Another great article about Horizon i find worth reading: . Good day ;)

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