The Tallneck is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. A Communications Class machine, the Tallneck is the only known machine of this class at present. Tallnecks were designed to help enable long range communications for the machines of the terraforming project in a world where precious little of the Old World's technological infrastructure remained. It is not hostile to humans, is by far the largest known contemporary machine, and is one of only two known machines that are equipped with a protective energy shield. A human with the necessary technology can override a Tallneck upon climbing to the top of its head to reveal details and locations of structures, machine site, human settlements and other points of interest over a vast area.
See also: Tallneck (Activity)
While Tallnecks are usually known to only exist singly, on the day of the infant Aloy’s Naming Ritual, Rost saw a herd of Tallnecks as he traveled with Aloy. The herd was purposefully headed in the same direction. It may be speculated that they are the same Tallnecks that Aloy found existing singly as an adult, having all been produced at an unknown Cauldron outside of the Nora Sacred Land, and were all passing through on their way to their individual deployments.
Growing up to be a hunter, Aloy thus knew of the existence of Tallnecks from Rost. In her journeys through the various tribal lands, she discovered the existence of six Tallnecks. In the case of five of them, her Focus alerted her to the presence of one in the vicinity by a signal it emitted. Using this signal, she was able to find it, climb up to and atop its head and override it to gain useful information regarding the locations of points of interest in the region. In the case of the sixth, which had lain disabled and offline for decades in the Banuk region known as The Cut, Aloy was able to find and reinstall its scavenged parts and then bring it back online.
Though its appearance bears a similarity to that of a sauropod, its lack of a tail and its long legs make a Tallneck also resemble an enormous giraffe. Tallnecks have no optical sensors. Their heads are broad, flat and circular, resembling aircraft-mounted radar, with a data node on the top center that can be used as an access point for overriding.
Several long antennae project from the back of the neck. These may be used to climb up to the Tallneck's head to access the data node. Four tail-like structures, possibly other antennae, are mounted in pairs on the posterior. Each of the machine's four huge feet are composed of several toe-like structures. These mold themselves to the shape of the ground, giving the Tallneck its characteristic surefooted gait.
Tallnecks are completely solitary, almost never congregating or encountering each other. Utilizing their slow, steady, surefooted gait, each one continuously walks an unvarying circuitous path in its particular region, functioning as a communications center. Each Tallneck emits a signal that a Focus can detect. Aloy surmised that machines use Tallnecks for long distance communication. However, humans with the necessary technological prowess can presumably also use them to create a vast Focus communications network. The Shadow Carja cult known as the Eclipse seemed to have established their Focus network by anchoring the network's communication signals to the five Tallnecks that were known to be active in the regions in which they operated. The sheer vastness of the area revealed upon overriding a Tallneck suggests that they are able to receive and transmit signals over extremely long distances, facilitating the long-distance communication that was integral to many Eclipse operations.
Tallnecks are not hostile to humans; they appear to be completely oblivious to their surroundings, save for the path they constantly follow. If they are aware, they certainly have no visible reaction, appearing to disregard everything from battles to animals, humans or machines that wander into their path. However, while a Tallneck itself is harmless to humans, the area around its path may be infested with dangerous machines that are hostile to humans. Indeed, Aloy frequently had to clear a path through hostile machines in order to reach a position from which she could climb onto and atop a Tallneck to override it.
A Tallneck's chassis is covered by heavy armor plating and further protected by an energy shield. Unlike the energy shield of a Shell-Walker, which can be activated and deactivated, this shield is invisible and perpetual. Its presence is manifested when a Tallneck is shot at or a melee attack is attempted against it; the shield deflects any ranged or melee attack. No known weapon can penetrate it. This makes the Tallneck impervious to all known attacks.
Tallnecks appear to be beyond the ability of humans to disable or damage. Indeed, the only force known to have disabled a Tallneck is a powerful force of nature; a series of lightning strikes hit the one in the Frostfigures area of The Cut, decades prior to Aloy’s visit to the region. Even so, its chassis and all of its systems remained fully serviceable although the chassis lay exposed to many seasons of ice and snow. When Aloy reinstalled its missing components and brought it back online, it rose and walked as if it had never been disabled.
However, two buried and completely inactive Tallnecks can be found in one of the more open chambers of Cauldron XI.
- Tallnecks were one of the first machines revealed to the public, seen as early as the conceptual stages of the game's design, and unlike the Thunderjaw, they saw very little change. Despite this, Tallnecks initially resembled sauropods.
- During the game's development, Tallnecks were referred to as "Comm giraffes."
- The Tallneck's walking pattern of lifting both its fore and hind legs on the same side at the same time is based the giraffe's gait.
- Tallnecks were originally designed to be killable. However, Guerrilla Games decided against this, feeling that it would be against Aloy's character to kill a peaceful machine.
- Tallnecks may possibly have a secondary role as mobile environmental monitoring stations, in addition to their primary role as mobile communication relays.
- ↑ Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Collector's Edition Guide, page 18
- ↑ GDC 2017 presentation by Guerrilla Games, "Creating a Tools Pipeline for Horizon Zero Dawn"
|Acquisition Class||Broadhead - Charger - FireclawFW - FrostclawFW - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler|
|Combat Class||Ravager - Sawtooth - ScorcherFW - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw|
|Recon Class||Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)|
|Transport Class||Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker|
|Chariot Class||Corrupted Machines - Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil|
|Unknown Class||Control TowerFW|