Sigh, here we go again. Horizon Forbidden West hero Aloy has been trending on Twitter today after a handful of posts highlighted changes to the protagonist’s face. One of these messages proposed a makeover for the machine slayer, claiming that the character looks “masculine as hell”. Unsurprisingly, this comment has attracted widespread criticism, as many have pointed out that the star probably doesn’t have time to touch up her makeup between battles with robo-dinos in an apocalyptic hellscape.
While there are evident sexist undertones here, it’s worth remembering that the gaming community rarely takes kindly to alterations to a character’s face. While it was a much more jarring overhaul, Peter Parker’s facelift in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales attracted an enormous backlash last year, while Sucker Punch was forced to scrap a total makeover to Cole McGrath when it proposed a younger, tribal tattooed alternative in inFAMOUS 2.
All that said, Aloy looks very similar to her Horizon Zero Dawn alter-ego to us – after all, the sequel is set just six months after the original. There are obvious improvements to the character model – you can even see a light layer of hair around her cheeks during cut-scenes, which is just obscene attention to detail – but it looks like a natural evolution of her appearance from the first game, really. The game looks outstanding.