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Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)

Publié le par Kevin

Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)

Edit 2020: I reread a few things and rewatched a few moments of the game and am even more convinced of what I claim in this article. Plus, I used to believe that Sobeck erased humanity because she thought it was time to start anew. Now I realize that she erased humanity in order to have enough FUEL for Zero Dawn. She used humans as energy because Zero Dawn required a lot of it.


Horizon Zero Dawn’s story is very complex and if you don’t know what I’m talking about in this little text, don’t be afraid to check the wikia page of the game:


In the most common interpretation of the story, Elisabet Sobeck is a genius scientist, who invented the Project Zero Dawn as an answer to the eradication of life on earth due to a glitch that made a group of superpowerful and self-replicating military robots aim at attacking anything alive.

The goal of Zero Dawn was to create a non-living entity that would restart life after producing a new environment ready to welcome it, centuries after Faro’s machines have killed everything and aren’t functional anymore.

As we play a young savage girl in a beautiful world where green machines (created by GAIA the friendly AI) and humans live relatively happily, we don’t need many arguments to be convinced that the Project Zero Dawn was a success and that, although tragic, the extinction of life on earth was overcome. Actually, we learn about the success of the project before we learn about the extinction of life.

That’s it for the most obvious interpretation. The story itself is so convoluted, complex and impressively detailed that it’s hard to understand, let alone look at it with a critical eye. But truly, Elisabet Sobeck’s behaviour is horrifyingly suspicious.

There’s one thing that need be told boldly before any argumentation: Because human beings and nature are essentially imperfect, perfection will always be synonym of hate and death. That’s where Elisabet Sobeck’s tragic flaw lies, she wants everything to be perfect, balanced, beautiful, harmless and moral and thinks it can be.

She is like a mother who would want her kid to be a little angel and would thus suffocate him with her rules and judgemental remarks until he entirely hates himself and becomes a serial killer as a rebellion. Truly, that mother hates her kid. And truly Sobeck hates humanity.

But let’s take a look at the suspicious elements:

- Elisabet designed Faro’s machines. She is the one who made them capable of “feeding” on the biomass. What drives them to destroy everything is Elisabet’s AI. The problem doesn’t come from the size of their weaponery but from the biomass feeding and self-replicating capabilities***, Sobeck’s work. Faro only gave them the guns, he most certainly didn’t even know how the machines functioned. And yes, it was stupid of him, but wasn’t it suspiciously stupid of Elisabet to simply leave the company when she learnt about his initiative ? It’s like creating the most agreeably perfumed liquid ever made which sadly also quickly gives you cancer and leaving your company when they decide to make a new shampoo out of it, unaware of the danger… because they trust you. I know, it’s a funny comparison but really Sobeck’s behaviour is that incoherent. She couldn’t have ignored how things would turn out.


***Sobeck accuses Faro in this exact scene of having given the machines the ability to self-replicate but I don't believe her. I think that she perfectly knows that they're recorded and in a "Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law" situation. As she already knows she'll want to push Zero Dawn on the government, she needs to create a piece of evidence that will make her look entire clean... but she ends the conversation by suggesting that it's always been her who did all the work and Faro only "footed the bill." So, he's not responsible for the self-replicating abilities and she probably is. 

Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)

- She decides that humanity has no chance of surviving in two seconds and tells Faro how much time they have left in twenty. Nobody else is ever asked to ponder the question. The inevitable extinction of the human race is never proved to be inevitable by anyone but Sobeck. Just think about this for a second, this is criminally suspicious.


- She blackmails Faro into signing a contract saying that he will support Project Zero Dawn while she already is on her way to meet the commander general of the U.S. army. Of course, there isn’t one minute to lose when life itself is at stake, but… really ? Two persons are responsible for this catastrophe, Sobeck and Faro, and instead of being arrested, shackled and questioned, they are given full power over the course of action humanity is going to take ! And everything is done in secret and in a few hours.


- Also, although Faro is crushed by what's happening, Sobeck shines. Sure, he feels responsible and she blames him ruthlessly, but apart from that you never see her feel sorry for humanity (Even GAIA the AI is more sensitive than Elisabet Sobeck). All the kids of the world are dying by the hand of robots she engineered and she doesn't betray any sign of guilt or sadness or depression. Everything is going perfectly for her, it's buziness as usual except that she never was more important.


- The best scientists of the world are dragged into Zero Dawn thinking they are going to do researchs in order to fight the machines and it’s the commander general of the U.S. army who tells them that there is not hope. NOT SOBECK. She managed to convince an eminent figure of authority that nobody will dare doubt, but he is still only repeating her words like a puppet. It's a perfect sectarian manipulation: “You have no hope, therefore you should follow that guru blindly.” These scientists could have made weapons ! Or armors !

"There's no hope, abandon any critical thinking and listen to the face of New Life. Yeah, I know, it's also the face of the person who built all these robots in the first place. Don't be too quick to judge her. It's not as if the fate of everything that is alive was between her hands."

"There's no hope, abandon any critical thinking and listen to the face of New Life. Yeah, I know, it's also the face of the person who built all these robots in the first place. Don't be too quick to judge her. It's not as if the fate of everything that is alive was between her hands."

At this point, you must be thinking: “Yes, but it happened. Humanity fought and lost the war and life disappeared.” Sure, but the genius who built the robots never told anyone how they worked or could be stopped. Sobeck won a war against humanity using self-replicating self-refuelling killing machines. How hard could that be ? Granted though, the idea that the war could have been won cannot be supported if there isn’t a hint at it in the game.

            - Let’s look at Elisabet’s death:

“A ten-millimeter gap in one of the port seals leading into the facility caused an energy signature to leak out, resulting in the risk of the Faro Swarm becoming aware of its existence. The only way to fix the door and prevent the machines from entering was for someone to go outside and repair it. While the other scientists argued about who should go, Elisabet donned an armored environment suit and went out to begin repairs. Now locked out of the facility, the other scientists wanted to find a way to get her back in. However, Elisabet informed them that there was no time, as the Faro Swarm was already too close. She told everyone that she now just wanted to return home, and said her goodbyes.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)

Most likely because of her armor's protective shield, Elisabet was able to survive the swarm's attack. She was eventually able to make it back to her childhood home in Carson City, Nevada. There she sat down on a bench, and eventually died, most likely due to her armor no longer being able to protect her from the toxic atmosphere.



Given that the area the game is set is in Utah and Colorado, Elisabet would have had to walk at least 270 miles to reach her home in Nevada.”

Elisabet Sobeck managed to make 400km on foot and survive the swarm of killing machines that was just finished eradicating every soul on the planet !?! Just like that ? Thanks to her little armor ? And without food or water ? Come on...

I can only see three ways this happened:

1-Sobeck simply had a transmitter which allowed her to give orders to the machines (that she created) and ordered them to leave her alone… imagine, they might even have given her the ride home. And of course, she is the one who created the gap in the port seal that she "sacrificed" herself to repair.

2-The armor erased her biological imprint, making her invisible to the predators. Why building Zero Dawn if humanity had something that powerful at their disposal ?

3-The armor is truly efficient and proves that instead of depriving humanity of their best scientists to work on Zero Dawn, making them work on weapons and armors could have led to victory. It is very symbolic that the final fight of the game should be between Aloy wearing an ancient armor (if you’ve done the side quest) and a Deathbringer.


Elisabet Sobeck eradicated humanity and built a machine which would recreate it the way she thought it should be. HADES’ function is very well explained in the game, but truly it corresponds perfectly to Sobeck’s psyche. She thinks herself as GAIA, the all-loving, self-sacrificial nurturing mother, but somewhere in her unconscious there’s also the killswitch if you’re not the way she wants you to be. Just like with your average morbidly entirely self-sacrificial mother.

- (Edit 2020). Really, with clues that HUGE I don't know what to say to the people who can't seem to accept that clearly Sobeck is very suspicious. Anybody can understand that if life on earth was to be soon and unavoidably erased (by a disease for example), what scientists would be asked to do would be to create an underground lab that would restart life after its extinction, not create a perfectly balanced world. Zero Dawn is a judgement. It's sheer hate: "I will restart life yeah, but only if I'm sure it doesn't make the same mistakes." This is exactly like saying that humanity deserved to be erased.

I suppose the incident that caused Aloy’s creation was programmed by Sobeck too, although I am less certain of this (because I’m pretty convinced of everything that’s written above). Edit: actually she's not the one responsible for this as tells the end credit scene of the game. Creating a clone of herself sounds exactly like what Sobeck would do. “I will create the perfect world, and I will roam on its surface as a superior being.”


So yeah, Project Zero Dawn is the megalomaniacal dream of a psychopath come true.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)

The conclusion of the game explains Elisabet's psychology very well. Elisabet started a fire and burnt a tree while toying with a children's electronic kit when she was six. Her mother, instead of telling her "it's an accident, that's part of life." showed her the dead baby birds that had been burnt in the fire and explained Elisabet that it was useless to be smart if she didn't make the world better.

On that day, Elisabet Sobeck died,  she abandonned her life, her right to be happy, her right to live things for herself. And that's why that's where you find her body. Her whole life was just the pathological expension of what happened. Her mother made a six years old girl feel responsible for the death of baby birds and for everything wrong that happened in the world, at the same time. How could Elisabet not have become crazy ?

The traumatized little girl tried to overcome the nightmare by saving lives as momy told her to but also unconsciously by proving that life can respawn from nothing. Elisabet Sobeck tried all her life to undo what she did on that fateful day or at least to lessen the guilt, she tried to prove her mother wrong.

Feeling responsible for everything wrong in the world made her destroy the world in order to restart from nothing. Thank you Elisabet's mother, you idiot !

Horizon Zero Dawn: Elisabet Sobeck is a Genocidal Maniac (1300 words)


--------------Edit 2020--------------

At some point in this article I claim that Sobeck gave the machines the ability to convert biomass into fuel. I was contradicted by a few readers. The main problem I have with many arguments in the comment section is that they take things at face value. I've here quoted several paragraphs from the wikia of the game in which it's not written that Sobeck created the machines ability to convert the biomass into fuel but from which we can see that it's very probable that she did. My article is about a hidden element of the story and as such it remains unsaid. It won't be served to us on a plate. Elisabet Sobeck is suspicious and smart, there isn't a datapoint 568 found in a secret underground locker in which she confesses being a maniac.


Biomass Conversion

Biomatter Conversion is a process by which organic matter is transformed into fuel. The process was developed and patented by Faro Automated Solution (FAS).

Biomatter conversion was first used by FAS in its Chariot line of military combat automatons, intended as an emergency alternative fuel source in the event of fuel supply line interdiction. Any and all organic matter, living or dead, was suitable. [...] When the Chariot swarm owned by the corporation known as Hartz-Timor went rogue due to a programming glitch, the robots defaulted to biomatter conversion as a fuel source to fuel their rapidly and exponentially increasing numbers. Thus the swarm, which became known as the Faro Plague, became an existential threat to life on Earth.

The biomass conversion is a key element in the extinction of humanity.


History of FAS

Faro Automated Solutions was founded by Ted Faro in 2033. In its early years the company was successful with its popular lines of personal servitors and bodyguard-bots, but it was overshadowed by then-industry giants such as General Synthetics and RECorp. During the climate crisis of the 2040s "Claw-back," FAS made its greatest success with the introduction of green robots and its environmental cleanup and detoxification efforts led by Dr. Elisabet Sobeck. By 2049, FAS was widely credited for solving the climate crisis and became the world's wealthiest corporation, with a record market capitalization of over $23 trillion.

The biggest accomplishment of the FAS is Sobeck's "green robots." Is it more likely for a research section to invent a biomass converter when working on Green Robots or when working on Terminators ?

When trying to solve the climate crisis ? Or when trying to create the deathliest legged tank around ?


Elisabet Sobeck’s life

Sobeck proved to be a science and technology prodigy, enrolling at Stanford University at age 13, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Experimental Physics and Computer Science at age 16, and earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Design at Carnegie-Mellon University in 2040, at 20 years old. Within one year of her graduation, she was hired by Ted Faro, founder, owner and chairman of the robotics and technology corporation Faro Automated Solutions. Within two years, she was promoted to the position of Chief Scientist in the company. Over the next 8 years, her work in the design and development of environmental recovery automatons, known as “green robots”, propelled FAS to the forefront of efforts to undo the severe environmental damage of that decade, known as “The Clawback”. However, in 2048, she resigned from FAS, strongly disapproving of Faro’s decision to take the company into the military automation market.

Not only did Sobeck work for FAS for 8 years but SHE is the genius prodigy, not Faro. It's exactly like with great musicians, their record companies carry on using their work long after they've left or died.

Also, not only did she work, but she was hired immediately after the end of her studies and was quickly promoted to the position of Chief Scientist. She was free to do whatever she wanted to do. Again, necessarily, her official output "green robots" cannot be the sole thing on which she's worked. More, she left suddenly because of one of Faro's decision, therefore, when she left, she was necessarily working on something that was never finished and remained a secret to the public eye.


The Chariot Line

The design and development of the line was personally overseen by Ted Faro, founder, owner and chairman of FAS. The Chariot line was the culmination of Faro's decision to move the company from primarily producing products for the civilian and environmental markets to the production of military technology. Indeed, it was Faro himself who sold the concept to his programmers.

Faro isn't a talented scientist inventor. He's a businessman. Nobody took Sobeck's chair when she left, there's no character in the game filling this spot. How are we supposed to believe that he invented what's used on the chariot's line ?

Self-Replication, Biomass Conversation for Fuel, Slaving Enemy CPUs, OS Security.

Well, that's Elisabet Sobeck in a nutshell and what this article is about.

Sobeck self-replicates herself into Alloy. Self-Replication,

Sobeck uses humanity as fuel for Project Zero Dawn. Biomass Conversation for Fuel

Sobeck employs in Zero Dawn the people who could have stopped her initiative. Slaving Enemy CPUs

Sobeck is an extremely secretive person. She doesn't have a proper personality, personal tastes and nobody knows her ambitions and desires. Except the naive people who believe in her messianic entirely devoted and self-sacrificial persona. Also, she hides behind GAIA. OS Security



Travis Tate’s Life

Tate was born to a devout Pentcostal mother who frequently lectured him on the Biblical End Times. Though Tate inherited his mother's tendency for Biblical analogies, he rebelled strongly against her warnings about living sinfully; Tate seemed to relish in activities that most would consider improper or immoral.

As an adult, Tate spent some time in contact with Elisabet Sobeck- though the exact circumstances of their relationship are unknown, Tate later made the dubious claim that she was romantically attracted to him at the time. Tate also had an unspecified connection to the FBI, through a project known as MOCKINGBIRD; in a private log, Tate fondly recalled his habit of antagonizing FBI agents involved with the project.

Travis Tate's life and personality match the traumatic experience that Elisabet has with her mother that I describe at the end of my article. The mockingbird project isn't a coincidence, Elisabet confide into him her childhood trauma. And the claim that she was romantically attracted to him isn't dubious.


Commenter cet article

Pf 14/09/2020 04:50

Why did I waste my time reading this crap....she didn't create the robots, ir the biomassa consumption, or the replicating robots. You're clearly stupid, probably a flat-earth nutjob

Kevin 14/09/2020 12:07

You might want to lose some misplaced pride.
Anyway, you win, your comment was disagreeable to me. Did it prove anything ? Yes, you proved me that there was yet another player who was incapable of questioning Elisabet Sobeck and that my article is still relevant. Bye.

Luka 18/09/2019 07:41

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there are several assumptions made here that are not in line with, or straight-up opposite to, the story of the game. I’ve played it 6 or 7 times, and just finished it again today on the really hard difficulty, plus I’ve spent a while looking at the lore,so I believe I know the story well enough.

.“All the solutions that you tackle works: Nukes, creating another army of robots, rods from God. These fail because of “Enduring Victory” instead of “Strategic Ass Kicking.”And yes, these robots are just glitchy pieces of crap. It’s a very good point. It means that their glitch could have been used against them if the army had known about it. If they feed on biomass, you use biomass to lure them into a trap.”
According to in-game datapoints, nukes were unsucessfull. Under Sunfall, in the ZD chamber, you can read a datapoint detailing how Enduring Victory used nukes against the swarm, however the only effect was to slow them down.
Again, according to in-game datapoints, another robot army was a terrible idea. “When it comes to hacking, this swarm is an apex predator. Anything electronic that you throw at it, it will throw right back at you.” General Herres himself says that the reason he is at the top of the American army is that he pushed the electronic-isation of everything weapon and war related, which would allow it’s hacking by the swarm.

“It’s pretty obvious that if Sobeck had wanted to stop the slaughter, it was perfectly doable. “She just decided over one salad that the world was doomed.” He he, exactly.”
The entire world’s armies and the citizens of the world​ (apparently armed with railguns, the game has some text detailing how americans went to, for example, Europe to teach combat drills to “minutemen” citizens) were unable to stop the swarm, how could Elisibet? The entire problem was that any weapon had to be technologically basic, and/or isolated from outside interference (which rules out anything not guided mechanically by a human, eg. Rods from God/ Nukes), otherwise it would become a member of the swarm.

“if the 2 people who knew everything about the bots and were known as supergeniuses had said it was unwinnable, I could see the world leadership taking their word for it.”
“Now, I want to stress out again how much your point is interesting: Sobeck pretends not to know about it. It’s impossible. How could she not know ? How could a bunch of Robots made by a famous woman could kill more than a hundred people without the army being warned of what’s happening and then her ?”
Elisibet didn’t make those robots!?! In the datapoint “Bio: Elisibet Sobeck”, we are told that Elisibet left Faro Industries because they got involved with arms production, which she was morally opposed to (likely due to the whole pine tree/birds nest story). The only robots that Elisibet made for Faro were (according to the same datapoint) a rather successful line of personal butlers! Faro didn't make them either, he just footed the bill. Niether Faro nor Sobeck knew everything about the robots that neither of them made, that knowledge was possessed by the other engineers of Faro Industries at the time it switched to arms production.

“Elisabet Sobeck managed to make 400km on foot and survive the swarm of killing machines that was just finished eradicating every soul on the planet !?! Just like that ? Thanks to her little armor ? And without food or water ? Come on...”
She said “I want to go home”, not “I want to go to my childhood home”. Surely Elisibet would be smart enough to bring food and water? If Aloy can evade detection of a Deathbringer at 30 paces, and there are 1000 Horus-class robots (according to the game) and thus maybe 15,000 or 30,000 robots in total (HZD world has 2 horus’, 60 deathbringers/corruptors seems really on the high side), how are they going to stop 1 person when there is over 5000km^2 of land for each robot? Wherever Elisibet ended up, it was travelable by Aloy without any extra gear, so it couldn’t have been far. In fact, it looked for all the world to be on top of one of the mesas in the Spurflints.

“Elisabet designed Faro’s machines. She is the one who made them capable of “feeding” on the biomass. What drives them to destroy everything is Elisabet’s AI. The problem doesn’t come from the size of their weaponery but from the biomass feeding and self-replicating capabilities, Sobeck’s work.”
What AI? The robots that *were not created by Elisibet as she left the company prior to them* had no artificial intellegence, and there is no evidence otherwise. Sure, they could learn to some degree, but so can the pattern-predicting program I wrote in 2 days after school. Niether are an AI. What kind of AI would keep manufacturing the same arguably stupid robots instead of improving them, or keep opening it’s CPU to the outside world so that Aloy can shoot it? Even Hades had no AI (“Now these arn’t AI, but make no mistake, each presents an engineering challenge more profound than anything the human race has ever attempted”), and indeed the only AI in the game was literally the size of a mountain! A simple piece of badly written code (a “glitch”) caused the swarm to go rouge, or could it have been from the same source that severed Gaia’s subordinate functions? While Faro Industries were manufacturing peacekeeper robots, *Ted Faro had 18 lawsuits against Sobeck* (“I dropped all 18 lawsuits the moment you arrived”). She hardly helped design his killer robots.
At the time Faro tells Sobeck what has gone wrong, Sobeck says “And *you* made them capable of self-replication”.
The problem is that the robots self-replicate exponentially, whereas every human retaliation is linear, and thus always doomed to fall behind.

“That’s where Elisabet Sobeck’s tragic flaw lies, she wants everything to be perfect, balanced, beautiful, harmless and moral and thinks it can be.”
Try as I might, I cannot find any evidance for this. All we know is that Elisibet didn’t want humanity wiped out, which is a pretty reasonable wish. It seems to me to be an unfounded claim, can you spread some light on this? Maybe I missed something?

Anyway, thanks for reading the wall of text!

Kevin 12/09/2020 12:45

To Raebae. Damn Raebae you clearly proved yourself to be an extremely smart person with that comment. And that use of the ad hominem fallacy. My god, I really didn't see it coming when I wrote my answer. I really didn't think "If you write this Kevin, all you're gonna get is a moron accusing you of ad hominem as if it proved you wrong."
Don't worry, I will not procreate because I have a theory on Horizon Zero Dawn that scares grown up kids who crave for an all knowing all powerful all protective mother figure and cannot cope with the existence of one dissenting voice that needs to be choked before they have to give up on denial.

Kevin 12/09/2020 12:43

To Raebae. Damn Raebae you clearly proved yourself to be an extremely smart person with that comment. And that use of the ad hominem fallacy. My god, I really didn't see it coming when I wrote my answer. I really didn't think "If you write this Kevin, all you're gonna get is a moron accusing you of ad hominem as if it proved you wrong."
Don't worry, I will not procreate because I have a theory on Horizon Zero Dawn that scares grown up kids who crave for an all knowing all powerful all protective mother figure.

Raebae 06/09/2020 05:00

Good read Luka, atleast your post holds actual thought out points and evidence. The author response in here is also just classic "I didn't respond to the post, because i can't argue and will resort to ad hominem" Kevin, you are a dumbass, please never procreate.

Metal 18/08/2020 11:22

Dear Kevin, I'll be harsh ( because why not afetr seeign your own post ... )

You really are a id*** here, multiple people have calmly and without any animosity or condescending in any of there reply while yourself are almost exclusively condescending toward them.

People have simply listed your point stating what you have forgotten not mistaken, just forgotten, and you just ignore all these and "I'm only going to stick to my opinion" like a 7 years old kids...

"A guy who starts his comment like Luka did is lucky if I actually carry on reading. Most of his arguments are childish jokes to me"

You are the joke, you you made a whole article with your vision but anyone trying to discuss some point with a different approach than yours is not read and ignore...
Seriously dude don't pretend that people are not serious and or condescending toward you when you're obviously a short temperd kid that refuse to hear other opinions than his own...

Kevin 28/04/2020 03:23

To Mackensie

"Given that the area the game is set is in Utah and Colorado, Elisabet would have had to walk at least 270 miles to reach her home in Nevada. " Taken from "Trivia" on https://horizonzerodawn.fandom.com/wiki/Elisabet_Sobeck

For the record, I didn't answer Luka's comment because it was too appallingly dumb, complacent and conceited and haughtily falsely polite. In one word: despicable.

I'm still totally convinced of the interpretation I develop in this article and people like Luka really do not bring me closer to realize I'm wrong but closer not to be able to admit I'm wrong if ever I realized I was because they make it a dirty personal fight about "who's the smartest" when I usually really don't mind if someone disagrees with me or if I realize I'm wrong. I honestly developed an idea hoping people would read and agree or find it interesting, if that's not the case, that's life. Fighting over that kind of things leads nowhere most of the time and in this case it's particularly obvious that I do not speak the same language as the people who wants to argue with me.

A guy who starts his comment like Luka did is lucky if I actually carry on reading. Most of his arguments are childish jokes to me and I feel like i have to teach him how to read before starting to talk about how he didn't understand the story. (I would have given him a similar answer to the one I gave Gary Cotton)

So, yeah, think what you will but I maintain my interpretation 100%. The only thing that this boy managed to do is make me give up on answering comments concerning this article.

Heidi 21/04/2019 20:06

You forget the FARO swarm was heavily encrypted. There was no backdoor and it was going to take years to hack into Ted's machines. They had 16 months. Ted was the one who argued for such heavy security.

Their options were to keep fighting a losing battle or create ZERO dawn. They actually did both, too. They had people trying to fight the swarm at the same time as they had the best and brightest people engaged on project Zero Dawn.

Kevin 21/04/2019 20:41

"They had people trying to fight the swarm at the same time as they had the BEST and BRIGHTEST people engaged on project Zero Dawn."

Honestly, the whole debate lies on a single thing: are you ready to perceive Elisabeth Sobeck as the psychopath she is or not ?
That's all. Because just like with any hidden truth, there will never be a proof that the idea I'm defending is right. The sole thing I can point at is how much Sobeck's behaviour is suspicious. If you don't want to see it as suspiscious then don't. I cannot force my point of view on you. All I can say is that from the start it was obvious to me that she was a fraud, from the way she talks and behave, then a lot of elements supported the idea.

Thanks for your comment. :)

Garry Cotton 28/03/2019 18:10

I'll preface this that I haven't heard/read every single data log in the game so there may be bits I'm missing, but from what I have experienced you seem to make some huge leaps in your argument. You also don't refer to the subject material itself as evidence at any point (ie. quotes) and seem to gloss over the details. It's fine to make some assumptions when filling in the gaps but you shouldn't base conclusions on them, only on evidence.


1. Your personality assassination of her on the basis of her desire for perfection is really stretching. Based on the limited evidence we have (and it is very limited since there's actually not much material in the game involving Sobeck's character) you're virtually arguing every perfectionist will become a suffocating parent that causes their children to develop psychological issues and hates humanity.

I mean, that is genuinely the jump you've made because the only piece of evidence you have as a basis is that she's a perfectionist.

2. You assert that Sobeck was responsible for the biomass conversion systems. There's no evidence in the game that I have experienced to support this assertion. Intuitively, it makes little sense to suspect her of this (unless you have a quote that proves otherwise) considering her work with Faro was to RESTORE the environment not consume it.

There's also no direct evidence to support her working on the self-replication routines either. The only connection is one of Brad Andac's logs but he doesn't specifically say she was working on the same project as him, only that she left the company when the military projects started.

3. Her opinions about whether humanity has a chance of not are a) initially fuelled by emotion (during the discussion with Ted we witness at Maker's End) which is understandable and b) are merely an opinion from a scientist.

We do not witness any point where she convinces them of anything. All we see is her tell them using robots isn't an option since the Plague can hijack them...which is true, as we witness this ourselves. Again, you're jumping.

With a lack of actual evidence here, we'd have to default to what would actually happen in real life. When it comes to military strategic decision making, the US and indeed world's militaries would not have just subscribed to her opinion. Why would they? She's not a soldier. What they would've done is ask her to provide stats and consultation. The decision on what was possible militarily, how to process etc. would've been made by the countries' militaries.

In other words, you can't place this blame at her feet and if the world's militaries came to the same conclusion about the Plague being unbeatable, it's very likely this was the case. And Herres explains precisely why they couldn't beat them - because we couldn't destroy them faster than they were fabricating due to the fact it was an exponentially based process. The problem here was the ability for the HORUS to replicate.

Finally, your argument about making weapons or armour is again irrelevant. The fabrication speed of the swarm was EXPONENTIAL. This is because HORUS can replicate, therefore your fabricator is fabricating copies of itself. Weapons and armour production would've been a LINEAR function. In other words, it would have NEVER caught up with the robots. And even if it did, it wouldn't have mattered since they would've need to win the war within 16 months! It was taking entire platoons almost a day of constant barraging to kill ONE HORUS!

4. Leaving her job is not suspicious at all, this is completely normal in a situation such as this? It's not uncommon for professionals to leave their posts if the direction of their organization is moving strongly against their principles. This happens in real-life ranging from business employees to political party members. Let me posit to you the alternative question: what else was she supposed to do?

There are a few options. She could take it up with Ted. She could see if there's any legal recourse to have the project shutdown. Or perhaps she could protest.

Well, there's no evidence that points to her not doing the first or third thing. From the limited interactions between her and Ted that we see, it's evident she has a burning dislike towards him. And with regards the second, considering the corp had contracts with a huge number of political clients it's unlikely what they were doing was illegal merely unethical.

The pivotal problem and entire reason why a lot of conventional solutions that fans have come up with wouldn't work is because of the biosphere consumption, like you say yourself. It means it's not a war, it's not about humanity being able to stand its own ground or outfight the swarm because it doesn't matter even if they could. If you're a DBZ fan, it's basically the same as Goku vs. Frieza with Frieza as the Faro swarm and he's just destroyed Namek's core.

Honestly, the only thing I could've seen them doing differently is possibly creating an environmently sustainable pocket in Elysium so people could've continued to live on. However, that would've needed to come after Zero Dawn since creating GAIA was pivotal as the Faro robots needed to be disabled. Other than that, there is nothing they could've done. Throw robots at them? Useless. Throw non-glitched Faro robots at them? Just speeds up the biosphere consumption since the "good" Faro robots would've need to replicate at least as fast as the Plague.

Seriously, they were screwed.

Kevin 29/03/2019 10:16

I’m not going to answer each of your points because it would end up being a very harsh answer as your approach is plagued with a very serious and annoying bias: you don’t know what a literary text is and try to analyse Horizon Zero Dawn as if it was the scientific report of an experiment.
Consider the following story:
A king dies. Suddenly, his kingdom is attacked by a dragon. The dragon abducts the king’s daughter but luckily a courageous knight finds the cave, slays the dragon by decapitating the monster with his sword and marries the princess.
My interpretation of this would be that the dragon awakens because the king dies. There’s nothing rational about this on a scientific level, but it is defendable because you’re looking at a work of fiction written by a human being. The dragon to me incarnates the threat that the death of the king represents for the kingdom. He was a good king therefore the dragon is all the more impressive and powerful because the man will be missed. The princess is abducted because she was really close to her father and unconsciously believes that now that he’s dead, she should die too. Luckily, a knight will rescue her with a phallic sword and marry her: his real weapon is love, he is going to give her a reason to stay alive.
Your approach would only bring you to say non-sensical stuff like: “It’s very unlikely that the knight would be able to kill a flying dragon that breathes fire with a dumb sword.” “The dragon appears because he knows that after the death of a king, the army isn’t as well as organised and it’s easier to make the soldiers panic.”
Your scientific approach sucks the meaning out of the text and it’s exhausting to watch. And you’re far from being an isolated case. Many people just look at literature as if it was lifeless and inanimate nowadays.
Plus, ironically enough, it makes your point of view childish. If I say that the Dragon is the incarnation of the threat that the king’s death represent, then there’s no literal Dragon. We’re talking about real dynamics that lie beyond the fantazy. But your practical scientific approach takes the existence of the dragon seriously and tries to look at it with a critical eye, that which is ridiculous. How funny is that ? The literary approach looks at the truth beyond the fantasy while the scientific accepts the magical and tries to make it realistic.
An example of this bias is your point about the armour that would be produced linearly against exponentially duplicating machines. First, it actually doesn’t work on a mathematical level because you neither know how long it takes for a machine to duplicate nor how long it takes to make an armour. You’re making your point as if you were talking about numbers duplicating at the same speed. You simply do not have enough information to make that statement. But the funny part is that you’re arguing about something being possible or not while chatting about a swarm of robots invading the earth and destroying everything and a superpowered armour that can absorb gigantic robotic strikes etc etc…
The real problem is that the armour appears after we’ve been told since the beginning of the story that the swarm was unstoppable, still suddenly appears an armour that allows Sobeck to walk the surface for 600km without being annoyed by the swarm and allows Alloy to kick the ass of a deathbringer with no effort. The armour bears the meaning that there’s a problem in the version of the story we’ve been given since the beginning. The armour means that it’s not so clear that the swarm was unbeatable. That’s all. The sword kills the dragon. The super futuristic armour absorbs the blow. Deal with it. Alloy destroys the Death bringer, she stopped what brings death. How much symbolism do you need to start considering the text as a text ? You’re fascinated by the practical aspects of the story when these practical aspects are the part that asks for our suspension of disbelief. You're focussing on what's not important. The swarm is sci-fi. The armour is sci-fi. Whether these elements are believable or not is beyond the point. By focussing on them as if they were realistic, you’re missing the meaning of the story.

Kevin 06/02/2019 01:55

Hello Bobbo, thanks for your comment and your respectful tone.

I never fight over "the author wanted it that way" or not because it doesn't mean much to me. People very rarely realise that when writing a movie or a video-game you’re not obsessed with the messages or of the deeper meanings you want to insert in it. You just try to write something that is coherent, honest and “good.” But by doing so, you actually bring the world’s coherence inside your work and that’s what people can interpret. We don’t analyse the mind of the author or his intentions, we analyse the representation he’s spontaneously made of an infinitely complex world.
Of course, the question of whether “it is intentional” or not will always be around, but it’s not crucial.
When I interpret a movie or a videogame, if I find the smallest indicator that my interpretation is impossible, it’s over. But if my interpretation works and the author tells me that it’s absolutely not what he had in mind, well too bad for him.
Another thing that spectators do not always realise is that the most obvious perception that we have of a movie is already an interpretation. They tend to think that their most spontaneous perception is the right one, that that’s how things were meant to be understood. But there’s absolutely no reason for this to be true. Actually, it is a very naïve idea to think that appearances should happen to convey the exact truth.
And so, about Horizon Zero Dawn, all the time I played the game, I wondered if it was a satire, a piece of criticism, or straight forward celebration. It’s often hard to discriminate between these.

The thing is, the story works perfectly as a criticism of Elisabet Sobeck, whether the author saw it that way or not. That type of person will destroy the world. Her naivety, her arrogance, her self-righteousness, her desire for perfection, all this is destructive.

On a deep psychological and ideological level, she is exactly the kind of person who will erase humanity. So, it’s hard for me to believe that what happens in the game is just a coincidence.

And yes, that’s exactly a criticism of SJWs. Be careful with these people, everything they pretend to defend, they actually destroy. Like Sobeck.