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‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ creatures were terrifyingly brought to life for E3 2016

Upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn features some pretty unusual enemies. In a post-apocalyptic world, robot-dinosaur hybrid creatures roam the landscape, preying on the humans they find, but Sony wasn’t content to limit these beasts to the game. It wanted to make them real, and the result is even more terrifying.

We learn in a behind-the-scenes video that the “Watchers” are among the smaller enemies in Horizon: Zero Dawn and act as scouts for other, more menacing machines. The original video was taken down but has since been uploaded again by a third party.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the Watchers aren’t a threat. At 5 feet in length, they can still strike fear into any human, and Sony tasked Hollywood effects studio Spectral Motion to create a real-world version of the creatures for display at this year’s E3.

“When the Horizon: Zero Dawn team first approached us to create the Watchers, some of their expectations were that they wanted to not stray too far from the true design of the character,” said Spectral Motion President Mike Elizalde.

To accommodate a human inside the structure, the real-life Watcher’s size was nearly tripled to 13 feet in length. After drawing large-scale mock-ups of the machine’s various components, the studio did a “garbage bag test.” Using cheap products like hot glue and cardboard, the team created a more complete, albeit fragile, model of what the final product would look like.

Spectral Motion then designed many of the same components from vacuumed foam and metal support structures. A camera was also installed in the Watcher’s head to capture expo-goers’ reactions, as was a light that switches between blue, yellow, and red to indicate the “mood” of the creature. The controls for all of these components are within the costume itself. After fitting the suit to the team’s individual actors, it was ready for showtime.

As you can see, the end results are pretty incredible. Though you can still see the actors’ legs when the Watcher is standing straight up, the creature can also lower its head like a wolf stalking its prey. We seriously hope it never crosses our path.

Horizon: Zero Dawn launches for PlayStation 4 on February 28, 2017.

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