While I enjoy Aloy as the heroine of Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn as much as the next person, the secondary characters have had me coming back. There are so many rich and dynamic side characters in this game and I want to explore as much of their stories as possible! I want to get to know them better and see the world from their perspectives. Here are just a few that I’d love to spend more time with!

Disclaimer: This list contains spoilers for Horizon: Zero Dawn!

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This Carja spy orchestrated the flight of the poor little figurehead king and his mother out from under the noses of the Shadow Carja – which is a pretty impressive feat. Vanasha later revealed to Aloy that she had suffered under the rule of the last Sun King – to the point that she carried the actual physical scars of lashes on her back. I’d love to know her backstory and more about what she hides behind the very confident facade she projects.

Up close shot of Vanasha in Horizon: Zero Dawn


In Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nasadi is depicted as a staunch protector of her little boy (even when sheltering him incurred the disdain of figures like Helis); a figure of charity (donating food from her own table to the starving tent-dwellers outside the city gates); and someone with the spine to flee the Shadow Carja and seek refuge in Meridian. It’s difficult to reconcile those things with marriage to a man who instigated the horrific things Jiran did. Who is Nasadi, really? And how did she end up wife to the Mad Sun King?

Nasadi behind a viel greeting people in Horizon: Zero Dawn.


Nakoa was brave and bold enough to go after Zaid at great personal cost. For even if everything had gone the way she wanted – if she hadn’t been prevented from killing him at Daytower or been taken later by his men – she still knew that, in leaving Nora lands without the mark of Seeker, she was forfeiting her place within the tribe. But Nakoa was ultimately just as disdainful of the Nora taboos as Aloy, despite having grown up a full member of the tribe. That kind of independence of thought in Nora makes her unique in Horizon: Zero Dawn. I’m curious what life Nakoa formed for herself in Meridian after leaving Aloy.

Nakoa standing in the forest in Horizon: Zero Dawn.


Varga is such a happy character! I love how much she loves her work – how much joy she gets from her creations. I want to know more about her, her relationship with her father, what she wants from her life, her life in the Banuk lands and whether she wants to stay there long-term. She’s just so bright. I want to explore more of the world of Horizon: Zero Dawn as it appears through Varga’s eyes.

Varga standing outside in Horizon: Zero Dawn.


As a Matriarch, Teersa is steeped in the (often limiting) traditions of the Nora. And yet, she has an independent, elastic mind and the spine to stand up for what she believes is right. I would argue that Aloy would never have accomplished what she did without Teersa’s multiple interventions. I’d love to get inside Teersa’s head and learn more about how she thinks and why she thinks that way.

Teersa in her ceremonial headress in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

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I don’t know that I like Sylens well enough as a person, honestly, to enjoy spending concentrated time in his head! But he’s such a fascinating character; I want to figure him out. He’s a tech genius in a non-technical world. He doesn’t seem to care about anybody or anything as much as knowledge – and yet he speaks with bitterness about the atrocities of the Sun Ring. Who is Sylens, really? And how did he become Sylens?

An upclose shot of Sylens from Horizon: Zero Dawn.


Inatut was a character who never thought seriously about his life or choices until he got into the fix that resulted in his meeting with Aloy. Her aid, and the window she opened for him as to the possibilities of his life, through her conversation, honestly changed him. And he went from being somebody who didn’t look as if he had much potential to being somebody who seemed like he might make a good leader someday. With the Banuk? Elsewhere? The world of Horizon: Zero Dawn is large and varied. I’m intrigued to see what Inatut does with his life and where in the world it takes him.

Inatut standing outside in the snow in Horizon: Zero Dawn.


This trader of Banuk goods is, by her own admission, much more than a merchant. Cantarah earned her place as a kind of Carjan ambassador to the Banuk from Avad himself. How did that happen? What did she do to draw his attention? What is Cantarah’s position in the social hierarchy of the status-conscious Carja? And what took her to the Banuk lands in the first place? There are a lot of exciting stories to tell here.

Upclose shot of Cantarah from Horizon: Zero Dawn.


The Liberation graphic novel dove deeper into Ersa’s story – but there’s much more to tell. I’d like to know more about her and Erend’s younger years and about Ersa’s early alliance with Dervahl. Ersa was pivotal to Avad’s success in overthrowing Jiran and in solidifying the Oseram/Carja alliance afterward. I’d love a more detailed relation of how they together made that happen. And I wouldn’t mind more details of their romance, too! Ersa is in every way an interesting character. From her perspective, a Horizon: Zero Dawn prequel novel would be a fascinating read.

Ersa taunting Jiran in the Liberation graphic novel.


Avad rallied an army to unseat his father, not in a bid for power but to protect others, making him innately heroic. But it’s clear he’s a more thoughtful philosopher than a warrior – which I find interesting. I want to know more about his relationship with his father and with his brother, Kadaman. I want to know more about his doomed relationship with Ersa. I’m undecided whether or not I think Avad and Aloy should be together as a couple – but either way, I feel invested in what happens to him.

Upclose shot of Avad in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

It’s a sign of excellent world-building when secondary and tertiary story characters come to life as vibrantly as the central heroes. The Sunhawk and Liberation graphic novels were an excellent start toward expanding the stories of Horizon: Zero Dawn’s side characters – but I want more! Of course, more graphic novels. But short stories, too. A Horizon-based anthology, along the lines of what Star Wars did with From A Certain Point of View, would be very cool. And if there were full novels set in the world of Horizon: Zero Dawn? I would be over the moon!

Here’s hoping something like that is in the long-term plans! Which Horizon: Zero Dawn characters would you like to see expanded? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

Article written by Maggie Plummer

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