Preserving art through Tilda’s Vault in Horizon Forbidden West

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Preserving art through Tilda’s Vault in Horizon Forbidden West

A look at the creative collaboration between Guerrilla and the renowned Dutch Rijksmuseum.

While the stunning landscapes of the Forbidden West may depict a post-post-apocalyptic North America, the world of Horizon is crafted at a studio in the heart of Amsterdam. At Guerrilla, we’re always happy to showcase our Dutch roots to our international community. So when the opportunity presented itself to collaborate with the Rijksmuseum, we had to take it. 

The Rijksmuseum is the national art and history museum of The Netherlands. Its collection features the renowned works of Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Working together with the museum’s experts, a handful of these artworks were chosen to be featured during a pivotal moment in the story of Horizon Forbidden West. 

The result is an intimate experience that not only speaks to the importance of preserving cultural artifacts, but also demonstrates how art helps us process emotion and connect with one another.


Spoiler alert: This section includes some top-level Horizon Forbidden West story spoilers


“Don’t be so quick to dismiss the comfort we can find in art. Or the insight we might gain.” These are the words of Tilda van der Meer, a major new character in Horizon Forbidden West. She was always set to be a space-faring immortal who returns to Earth after a thousand-year absence. However, after meeting with the Rijksmuseum back in 2019, Guerrilla’s narrative team reimagined the character as a Dutch technologist, authentication expert, and art collector who fights to preserve elements of the museum’s collection from the ravages of time.

When the Rijksmuseum saw Tilda’s new biography, Curatorial Assistant Denise Campbell and her team were inspired to select ten perfect pieces for the collection featured in the game, each of which resonates with Tilda’s personality.   

Guerrilla then worked to create a space in the game to show off these works, preserved for a millennium: the vault inside of Tilda’s mansion. When Aloy first enters, she is captivated by the great works featured prominently on the tall concrete walls and pedestals. In this atmospheric area, Aloy—and the player—can linger for however long they wish and discuss the pieces with Tilda through Aloy’s Focus. Ultimately, this provides a connection between both characters, beautifully acted by Ashly Burch and Carrie-Anne Moss, manifested through their mutual admiration and interpretation of Tilda’s collection.

The Rijksmuseum has been a phenomenal collaborator over the past few years, from curating the selection to now. They are cordially inviting Horizon Forbidden West fans and art admirers alike to take the Aloy Tour at any time, and see the magnificent collection up close as displayed in the historic museum halls. The ten selected works are:

  • The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642
  • Woman Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, ca. 1663
  • Titus in a Monk’s Habit, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660
  • Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1630
  • Woman Reading Music, Han van Meegeren, 1935 – 1940
  • Selene and Endymion, Gerard de Lairesse, ca. 1680
  • A Ship on the High Seas Caught by a Squall, Known as ‘The Gust’, Willem van de Velde (II), ca. 1680
  • Lidded ewer for the Amsterdam Goldsmiths Guild, Adam van Vianen (I), 1614
  • Frenzy, Artus Quellinus (I) (attributed to), na 1648 – in of voor 1662
  • Bacchant, Adriaen de Vries, 1626

If you want to know more about how we created Tilda’s Vault and selected which significant artworks were featured in-game, please check out the video below: 

Preserving art through Tilda’s Vault in Horizon Forbidden West

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9 Comments

  • Tilda stopped just short of saying “Here are some paintings of you and your exact situation” and it was kind of hilarious.

    • Tilda is a well conceived character.

      The effort that went into creating this masterpiece is astounding and on display virtually everywhere within the digital forefronts.

      It’s baffling to me how this game scored lower than the original. Guerrilla has crafted the sequel with more skill than I ever expected. This is quite literally the prototype for how to do a sequel. I could go on and on about the improvements and specific aspects. It’s overwhelming. This was the Killzone 2 of The Horizon franchise and it needed to be received as such. I’m not even sure where they go from here. Maybe they pull it back and make a more grounded sequel but they went bigger and better in every way here and they did not get the credit they deserved.

  • I loved that this was done. At first, I ignored the art and went immediately to the door. It was when Tilda mentioned to take my time I realized that this is what the publishers of the game wanted me to experience. I re-loaded the game and admired each piece of artwork and ran through the conversations with Tilda. It was a nice touch and a great diversion. Bravo.

  • If only Playstation and other developers would save it’s classics properly too.

  • Putting aside that Tilda is literally the least interesting part of that game. That I disliked her as a character, not because of who she was to the story, but because of just how she was written. The fact that I wanted to shoot her the moment Aloy met madam McCreepy with any assortment of arrow I had on hand was not a good sign.

    Anyway, the Muesium was great, even if it gave away the motives of tilda pretty much immediately (so much for the surprise) and was incredibly heavy handed. I was a little irritated that what we saw wasn’t handled by some virutal host like with the 10 and other areas of the game. I get Tilda might not have been one to take such an impersonal route, but she didn’t need to be the host of it either. Especially given Las Vegas. So I’m hoping Horizon 3 takes that into account and let the world speak for the past some more, like it has been for most of HFW and all of HZD.

    I’d like to see some of HFW tuned back a bit to HZD. HFW was overwhelming. I’ll admit I asked for a good number of the changes made likely by coincidence that appeared in HFW, but they weren’t very well tuned and kind of left me and others overwhelmed and even marching to the end game with starter gear. Something to consider I think to help guide the player better into those systems and find ways to make it less intimidating.

    Do not be afraid to throw out the ubisoft playbook. It’s the better parts of Horizon when this is done. The Tallnecks changed in marvelous ways in HFW, but if they are a problem. Get rid of them. Re-imagine finding things and find ways to communicate some (not all) of the minutia without requiring a map.

    • Side note for letting the world speak for it’s self. Archilogical perspectives of our world are great and having someone discover the truth even better. Los Vegas while a place I hate in the real world, one of my favorite parts of the game. Part of that is the Osaram.

      Please scrapy these smaller more trivial quests, they are boring. I’d rather have fewer more meaningful quests then a ton of pointless quests that either say little about the world or are just there to virtue signal in the 21st century. Looking for Aloy’s problems, not the 21st centuries problems.

    • append to an append. Preserved Vaults are still ok. Just the manner in which it is presented in the story is important.

  • This game looks amazing

  • I love guerilla game.I love all people in gg.

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