PlayStation tested with several marketing and focus groups before reveal

E3 2015: Female lead for Horizon: Zero Dawn made Yoshida ‘nervous’

Unveiling Guerrilla’s new IP Horizon Zero Dawn upon the world at E3 was a tense moment for Sony Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida.

Not because he wasn’t confident in the game, of course. Many have dubbed it the game of the show, but in an industry where attitudes towards females continue to at time linger behind the modern world, the exec was aware that some quarters might take issue with the gender of the main character.

"I was nervous to see the reaction from people," he told Polygon. "She’s a female lead character. That has always been the vision by the team, but we had a discussion. Is it risky to do a female character?

"The concern came after the game was in development. We started to show it to many more people internally and they had questions about it. So we worked with our marketing groups to do this focus testing. The focus testing reaction was positive and that made us feel good, but you know it’s a limited number of people that we were able to test."

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