The Horizon Zero Dawn Blanket: The Carja Trader

The HZD Blanket


New Gameplay Shown from Horizon Forbidden West

And of course I’m completely focused on the outfit. Besides being mildly obsessed with how well Aloy dresses herself for about five years now, I guess there’s also just nothing they can show me to get me more interested in this game? I already pre-ordered, what am I going to do, create another PSN account to buy another copy for the second PS5 I definitely don’t have? And anyway, the only reason I pre-ordered was for the special outfits. I have a very one-track mind.

This is almost definitely a Carja outfit. That blue is similar to the same light blue featured in every wearable Carja outfit in the first game. The skirt is built the same as the Carja Blazon, and so are the leather pieces around the legs. I think mostly video game trailers and sneak peeks show stuff from fairly early on in the game, so maybe this is one of Aloy’s starting outfits?

The other completely new outfit seen so far is called the Utaru Harvester. We only meet one Utaru in the first game, and as I understood it they’re a tribe living in the Great Plains, aka The Exact Opposite Direction of the Pacific Ocean, so either this will also be a fairly early option or I completely misunderstood what the hell was happening with those people. This entire outfit is made out of pieces of corn, so I at least got that part right.

Also, that image is from Guerrilla’s official cosplay guide of the outfit, and can I just say I love that Guerrilla does this? They have been incredibly supportive of not only cosplayers but also people sharing pictures they took in Photo Mode from the beginning, and I think it really shows appreciation of their fans and an understanding that sometimes fan content can be the best free advertising for your game out there.

Anyway, let’s talk about…

The Soundtrack

For anyone who hasn’t played a video game since Ms. Pacman, if at all, video game music has graduated from beep bop beeb boop to full-on orchestras. Here, let’s take a look at the twenty-eight-year evolution of the same iconic piece: The Chocobo Theme.

That’s right, that weird bird looking thing I use for spoiler prevention has its own theme song! And it slaps! It’s slapped for almost as long as I’ve been alive! It went from four measures of sounds eerily similar to Towelie playing Funky Town on a phone pad to having a full band with fucking violin and guitar picking. It’s like this for pretty much any video game series that has managed to survive since the 8-bit era. Shit sounds like the movies now, and it’s great.

(Side note: no, I will not be explaining chocobos or anything else about the Final Fantasy series here, because I simply don’t have the knowledge about most of it, or the dozens of hours and pounds of graphing paper I’d need to explain what I do know.)

Trying to explain any video game ever but specifically the Zelda series.

So, yeah, if you happen to have a coworker or a family member who says they listen to video game music while they’re working, it’s not like they’re sitting there listening to the vaguely Metallica-esque chunking of Space Invaders. They’re most likely listening to exploration music, which can be very engaging while at the same time fading into the background. This sort of thing is what the Horizon Zero Dawn soundtrack excels at.

Music for Exploring the End of the World

It’s not quite the end of the world, I guess. Only the end of our world.

The people in Horizon Zero Dawn are thriving. They have societies and villages and culture and wars and they do all the things humans do. But their world is built on top of the ruins of ours. And there’s not a lot of them at all. The setting of Horizon Zero Dawn is, for the most part, empty. You, as Aloy, spend a lot of time alone. Sometimes that can be sad, or lonely, or scary. Mostly, though, I think it’s beautiful.

To be fair, I spend a lot of time in open world games exploring. I have played Breath of the Wild for hundreds of hours without actually completing anything but I did max out the amount of apples you can carry. I spent so much time in Red Dead Redemption 2 wandering around and ignoring missions that I kept getting those cutscenes were Bill and Charlie come looking for you and try to get you to come back to camp (and would, of course, tell them to fuck off).

The music for exploring this particular landscape is minimalist. Soft. Haunting. It buoys you along through the frost forests, or the jungles dripping with green, or the not-quite-barren desert as the moon and stars pass over you. It’s reflective music for a character who has grown up alone, and likes the solitude as much as she likes people.

And then you trip over two or three Ravagers and suddenly the music is getting you ready to fight God.

This interview with the team who created the soundtrack is interesting the whole way through, but my two favorite points are:

  1. They were directed by Guerrilla to make sure nothing could be identifiable with any actual group of people living today. Given that this takes place in a far-flung future completely removed from any culture existing today, this seems like an excellent direction. And it worked, at least for me. None of the music in this game reminded me of anything else I’ve ever heard.
  2. Apparently the folks at Guerrilla hate flutes and wouldn’t even let them be in demos made for the Killzone games, so this inspired the creators to find the fuckiest flute they could find: the contrabass flute. An instrument I’d never even heard of before, but if you’ve played the game for any appreciable amount of time you’re going to recognize this thing:

These two are my favorite tracks:

Especially the part at 3:30 when the distorted voices come in.

The Outfit

The Carja Silks or the Carja Trader outfit is a little different than the other ones as it provides no base resistance. Instead, you get an extra modification slot for greater personalization. For the non-gamers, modifications are found through missions and chests discovered in exploration, and give you the same sort of perks some of the outfits give you without having to change. So, like, the Carja Blazon offers its own fire protection, but then you can find modifications that offer additional fire protection to the point where you can be blasted in the face with a roid-raging furnace on legs and walk away without a singed strand of hair. Or you can mix and match by wearing, say, the Oseram Arrow Breaker for protection from projectile attacks, and then fill the mod slots with melee damage protection, and then you can just go HAM on a bandit camp without having to worry about any of the thieving POS’s fucking up your makeup.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am never having any of these thoughts when I am dressing Aloy, or any of my characters (except Breath of the Wild where I am only ever wearing the Sheikah Stealth outfit for bug collecting purposes). There’s a concept from the Soulsborne video games called Fashion Souls – basically tossing any sort of consideration for clothing effects out the window and solely dressing to impress. I think for some of these people a part of it is basically saying, ‘Look at me, I’m so good at this I can wear this outfit that looks fly as hell but ultimately leaves me vulnerable at all times and still beat the game.’

That part is not me. I am not good at most video games, I am not afraid to bump shit down to the easy setting, and I have totally died several times in a row before I realized I was wearing something pretty rather than something helpful. So, if I was wearing this outfit at any time, not only was it probably not modded right, I was almost definitely wearing the basic version of it because I like it more.

The Square

This pattern in The Big Book of Granny Squares is called Arcade Square and is one of the few I found without any noticeable mistakes in the instructions, so, hooray, guys! You did it! The squares I chose for the Carja Blazon and Blazon Master were similar for obvious reasons, so I wanted this square to stand out because there isn’t a whole lot in common between them.

While both outfits have vests they are shaped very different, the skirt panels seem more decorative in the trader, and the pants look like they’re fabric rather than leather, offering less protection. Makes sense, given this is outfit is closer to what the merchants in Carja wear rather than the warriors.

As always, this square is made of very basic stitches, this time nothing more than single and double crochets with single chains to add the gaps. I used Caution in the middle to not only represent the yellow belt but also the sun (if you’re just joining us, worshiping the sun is sort of the Carja’s Whole Thing) and then surrounded that with Red for the skirt panel. It was very important to me that the most prominent color here was the Wonderland light blue, because when I think of this outfit that’s the first color that springs to mind. Even though in the outfit the dark blue neckerchief (Sapphire in the square) or ascot or whatever that is and the woven gray shirt (Dove Heather) don’t touch, I put them together so that the Wonderland blue could be at the outermost edge of the square to be the biggest color, and I think it works.

What I really liked with this square was the details at the corners.

While the straight edges of the square are all single crochet-chain or double crochet-chain, the corners are built with little blocks that almost fold in on themselves. It gives the whole block a more structured look, almost like the corners are scaffolded. I was a little worried the square would curl in because I was making gaps out of two chains to extend over blocks made of three double crochets, but the outer layer of doubles really made the whole thing lie flat to the point where I probably won’t even need to block these.

I do have squares planned for two of the Carja settlements, but I’ll be doing those after I do the Shadow Carja tribe for reasons you might already be able to guess. If not, I’ll explain next time. So, ever wondered what would happen if Texas ACTUALLY seceded? Find out next time, when we’ll be working on the Shadow Carja Stalwart!


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