The Melancholy of Ted Faro

I wanna talk a little bit about this game “Horizon: Zero Dawn” I just beat two nights ago. 2017 has seen a swath of really good AAA titles and this one is no exception. This, is easily my game of the year. However when they first started advertising this thing a year and a half ago, I had zero faith that it could even be good. the concept was so grandiose, I thought to myself that it was probably either going to be fucked to hell by the publishers into a mindless shooter (that wants to be farcry 3), or a half-baked idea with robot dinosaurs with an immature plot. I am glad I was really wrong on this..


If you intend to play this then just skip this post. You’ve been warned.

1. Lets talk about the plot and of Ted Faro. On its surface, the plot of Horizon is relatively non complex: You are an outlasted woman of a pseudo primitive native American tribe trying to come to the terms with the fact that large foreboding replicas of robot animals (a remnant of the ancient metal devil your Goddess fought in times past) are growing ever violent. You gain the respect of your tribe just in time for outsiders to appear and murder your father prompting you to leave your sacred lands on a quest for revenge. Salt in a retelling of the origin of Skynet from the terminator series, and you get where I am going with this. As you progress the story, you start finding audio logs and other tidbits of backstory about the world you live in. This is the real genius of this game. You find out about 2 key individuals: a man named Ted Faro and a woman named Elizabet Sobek. Ted Faro in particular, was a bajillionare ceo of a robot company living high on the hog in far far future Denver Colorado. He one day decided that some of the money wasn’t enough, he wanted ALL of the money, and converted his company over to building military robots to quell the various terrorist threats around the globe. Ted instructed his software team to build a comprehensive combat suite between a trio of machines that A. couldn’t be hacked, B. could replicate themselves on the fly, and C. could convert biomass into emergency fuel if none was available. Mr. Faro in his confidence then sealed the fate of the world by instructing his team to NOT build a backdoor to the system. Various companies with deep pockets ordered these robots for various duties until a group of them encountered a software glitch causing them to ignore commands and proceed without limitation. These war machines replicated themselves into the thousands, far outpacing the losses they sustained fighting the humans who saw them as a threat. Mr. Faro knew he had fucked up big time, and reluctantly asked his former employee Mrs. Sobek for ideas on how to contain this problem. Elizabet Sobek was also a robotics genius, but choose to focus on green solutions for her robots. Their personalities and business practices collided making Sobek and Faro very much rivals. Sobek analyzed Faro’s mess and to her horror, realized that nothing could be done. It would take decades to brute force hack the system faro had created. Not enough time to stop the perfect storm of a robot plague from turning every living thing on the planet into food. Humanity had just 15 months left before all life on earth would be annihilated. You read various logs, holo playbacks, audio recordings of the events leading up to project Zero Dawn. Ted was forced to use all of his capitol in an attempt to save humanity. To build a sentient super computer with various subsystems that could work in tandem to brute force hack the robot plague (witch took decades), and terraform the destroyed planet into a world humans could live in again. Because of Faros short-sighted assholery, all the civilians were conscripted into the army, and sent to die against the robot army, all under the impression that they were buying time for a super weapon to be created to save the world. They weren’t told that world couldn’t be saved.

Faro never stops fucking up till the bitter end though. One of the subsystems of GAIA of project zero dawn, known as Apollo, was meant to house the whole of humanities knowledge, art, history, culture as a means to re-educate the new humans once terraforming was complete. Stricken with grief, Ted Faro came to the conclusion that the decisions that lead him down the path to destruction where symptoms of a larger problem of society. “Knowledge was a poison that would harm humanity in the new world” he thought. And so, he erased the Apollo system and murdered the zero dawn team before they could rebuild it, thus returning everything back to a primitive state. What Faro couldn’t see in his short-sighted mental state, was that taking away human knowledge of the past, only doomed the humans 1000 years later to repeat the same mistakes they could not re-learn form Apollo. Humans were still killing each other day after day.

2. The robots of the new and old world. Below are a few samples of concept art of the dozens of mecha you find in the world of HZD. Everyone thought they were robot dinosaurs because they put the most dinosaurish one on the box. The Machines of the new world all served very specific purposes regarding the new terraformation. These were not designed by people, but rather by the sentient super computer GAIA . The machines were a machine’s interpretation of animals from it’s database all given background jobs like tilling the soil, clearing away dead robots, purifying the air of toxins. They only turned violent upon the advent of the HADES subsystem. Hades by desighn, was the system that took over to wipe out everything GAIA had created if it didn’t turn out right the first, 2nd, or 3rd time. However, emancipated from the command chain, Hades was free to corrupt and influence witch machines were coming out of the cauldrons(Giant underground mega factories). Where as only geo-centric machines existed, now animalesque death machines like the thunderjaw were emerging to kill people. Their is also a very important visual distinction between the machines of the old world, Ted Faros military war robots that don’t look like animals at all, versus the ones that do-Influenced by GAIA. you will notice it straight away like salt n’ pepper, How this game has a great dichotomy between the natural world and the artificial one in the cauldrons. It makes the experience of the machines so much more powerful when the world is not already so full of tech that everything blends into the overall background. You truly have time to appreciate the mecha desighns as you hunt across the landscape. One last thing,  because the machines are the most powerful things on the planet, the ancient cultures worship their strength and every aspect of their clothing style reflects the various components pulled off of dead machines. I thought this was very cool. the various head-dresses and armor with pieces of solar paneling and wire braiding thought.

3. My no. 1 pet peeve about ancient open world games, be it fallout or Skyrim or HZD: Why is it you can go and explore places humans haven’t been to for hundreds of years, and they have an item box full of shit like fresh apples, sticks, flowers, and just about anything that people of that long dead civilization would NOT have in their post-apocalyptic office cubicle? Doesn’t anyone care how immersion breaking this is?  Like skyrim the bowels of the earth inside of cairns where ancient Norse viking priests were laid to rest, right next to them is a cracked urn with a hot turkey dinner inside just waiting for you. Bullshit. If your going to do this, just put in a bunch of random shit the player cant take with them because time has decayed most of what is inside of it into unusable dust. Or- your character doesn’t even recognize half of it anyway so you cant take it. Its a minor gripe, but one i’d like to see fixed.

These images are courtesy of the website of Miguel Angel Martinez :

I don’t typically buy into DLC anymore, but HZD’s got a massive one coming up in November I don’t think I’ll be able to miss. If you want a really nice experience with good sound design and cool as fuck mecha, DO please give this one a go.

In the meantime I have created a telegram sticker of vegas the f-111 for gryff (finally fixed the nose paint) let me know what you think.

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14 Responses to “The Melancholy of Ted Faro”
  1. sora says:

    Hi there ratbat i been a real fan your artwork for a while and i been kinda nervous to ask you some question about atoll universe hope you got the time for it.

  2. Ratbat says:

    @sora sure ask away

  3. sora says:

    Sorry for the long wait on my question. Okay so i been reading on the story you made while back with the women anzio and the truck kamaz and read it like lots of time when i been doing nothing and the detail on how kamaz felt like her emotion and her sexual desire for a human guy. The story make me think on how much dires can sense detail on human feelings very well. and i wonder that if someone like me were wanting to accept my feeling for machine would they also sense that part of as well. The reason for this quetion i ask you because. Last year on febuary came across this website and saw your work i was kinda in a blush momment and awkward moment for me. I was sorta denying myself that i didn’t like what i saw or find it sexy but i kept coming back i couldn’t explain why. Till i realised that yeah i really like the man x machine and atoll universe. And the story with with anzio on how she felt with kamaz sorta made me felt the same as she did . so what im trying to say if i fell in love a female dire machine or morph but hide my feelings from her would sense that emotion from me and tell me somthing to embrace it or i shouldn’t hold it back and accept her. So that my big quetion for you ratbat im really greatfull for your work and the comic your working on right now and thank you for giving an experience with your dire machine gave me hope to see the conculsion on comic soon. Funny that all this started when i secretly fell in loved Rochelle from pixar planes but telling myself it was wrong while reading a story about her. Got one question left if you want to answer it. I promise it won’t be a big paragraph your reading right now.

  4. sora says:

    Sorry if some the sentence made no sense. i didn’t got the chance to go over what i wrote and some parts i mess up.
    hope you understand what i im trying to say.

  5. jean56f says:

    If it can help you sora, I feel a bit same about this, I’m always try fo find new SF and stuff on internet, And i don’t even remember how I come here c:
    But I like everything, the art like the stories.

    so I spam f5 prayin for a new art every damn day.

    thanks again rb 😀

  6. sora says:

    @jean hi there. I sorta came aruound this website when i saw an picture of Rochelle from planes kissing a human and i just click on it and it took me here.i wonder if ratbat made that image though

  7. jean56f says:

    @sora, idk, Rabat have a cool art style, easily recognizable imo, check here maybe it’s him o/

  8. sora says:

    For me what i love the most is how she made her world more alive with the detail on alot of things she posted up and answer to comment about the atoll universe. Not many people do things like this and really appreciate what she does at her artwork too.hope she read my question i left out for her.

  9. Ratbat says:

    @ Sora: Dire machines have subsystems they grow in-order to specially interact with humanity. They must have these systems to intuit human emotion or it becomes very hard for a large mass of metal to ever form a relationship with humans. The machines can sense your needs, desires, and current biology using a gestalt of different data points such as heart rate, brainwave patterns, pulse, chemical sensors, rapid eye movement, heat differential, ect. Like computers built to read the signs of distress simply by measuring moments of the face. This is all in the meta of the story, and the Dires themselves don’t quite fully understand how it is they got these functions.
    I think you can try to hide your emotions as long as you can, but at some point, interested machines will pick up on your distress and they may or may not come to you depending on how well they know you. Its best not to hide your emotions from Dire machines because it only makes them more curious to find out what is wrong with you.
    As for falling in love with rochelle, I don’t see this as a problem because of my somewhat “transhumanist” views. I believe that humanity can exist within machines so much so that in the future, humans will naturally come to blur the lines of man and machine. Like a deus Ex or a Ghost in the Shell future.

    also establishing that a non-human is intelligent, personable, capable of making their own decisions, then you would just be falling in love with their personality. And that’s how most ideal relationships should be, you get to know the “person”, you fall in love with them, then you come to love the body they exist in later.

  10. Ratbat says:

    @ Jean: new porn up!

  11. Ratbat says:

    @sora: I did not make that picture. I kinda wish i knew who did.

  12. sora says:

    @ratbat: thank you for the response on that questions. It just makes me wish that all of this is real cause this is sorta what i want to live my life. to be with a machine to love and have a family with
    . Regardless if it military or not i still love them all.

  13. Ratbat says:

    @sora: I hope you don’t think any less of us for all the erotica that’s posted here XD . Some of us are burnt out old folks with dreams for machine love. It can get graphic, but it’s not too in your face on the blog tab.

  14. sora says:

    @ratbat: no please dont say that i dont think any less of you guys . I enjoy everything that you post up here plus im very happy that you dont hold back on anything here i enjoy That alot. Im just glad i find this site this is how i feel about machine as well. Ps. There one thing i been curious about dire trains how do they comepare to boat and cars and plane or any military dires when it comes to looking for a mate is harder for them to find any human that want to be with them .I like to be with one.

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