FIRECLAW (HORIZON ZERO DAWN)
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
The Fireclaw is a machine exclusive to Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds. The newest machine developed by the AI HEPHAESTUS, Fireclaws are classified as Acquisition Class machines; however, HEPHAESTUS also designed them as highly effective and lethal combat units, and in this function they excel, perhaps more than any other known machine.
Like its twin machine, the Frostclaw, the Fireclaw is ursine in appearance, movement and locomotion. Its size is comparable to that of a Thunderjaw, making it one of the largest machines. Its chassis strongly resembles that of a grizzly bear. Presumably, HEPHAESTUS modeled the Fireclaw and Frostclaw after the long-extinct animal, which was native to the region during the time of the Old Ones. There is an armor-protected fire generation unit on its chest, and an equally well-protected power cell is located on its lower back. Armored storage tanks containing a highly flammable liquid similar to Blaze are built into its chassis, similar to Fire Bellowbacks. However, while the Fire Bellowback’s tanks are distinctly placed on its back and throat, the Fireclaw’s tanks are seamlessly built into its shoulders and are much more damage resistant. Furthermore, while the Fire Bellowback and Freeze Bellowback are identical in all respects except for their elements (fire vs. freeze), Fireclaws are larger and sturdier than Frostclaws, and their armor is much more effective.
The Fireclaw was developed by HEPHAESTUS as its latest response to the hunting of Zero Dawn terraforming machines by humans. HEPHAESTUS built them at Cauldron EPSILON, located in the Banuk region known as The Cut. The Nora Brave Aloy encountered the prototype unit when she infiltrated the Cauldron and went to its core, accompanied by two Banuk leaders: a then-erstwhile Werak chieftain named Aratak and the shaman Ourea. HEPHAESTUS deployed the prototype Fireclaw against them when they attempted to access the core. The unit proved extremely effective against the three expert machine-hunters. In addition to its highly formidable combat abilities, HEPHAESTUS made this unit Daemonic, augmenting its armor and elemental resistance, and spontaneously generated Control Towers to repair any damage the unit sustained mid-battle. However, the party ultimately prevailed against it.
But their incursion was too late to prevent HEPHAESTUS from releasing five Fireclaws from the Cauldron into The Cut. These posed an extreme danger to the inhabitants. Aloy therefore hunted and destroyed them, engaging the last two in tandem with Aratak. Each Fireclaw proved to be as formidable as the prototype.
Like the grizzly bear, the Fireclaw is able to adopt both a quadrupedal and bipedal stance. It employs fast, relentless and extremely damaging fire-based range attacks and fire-augmented melee attacks. Its capacity to sustain damage is rivaled only by the four other largest and most powerful machines known: Behemoths, Rockbreakers, Stormbirds and Thunderjaws. Its damage resistance is even greater than that of these machines, particularly against explosives. Even if one of its flammable liquid tanks is punctured and explodes, the blast damage is minimal. Furthermore, while it is susceptible to Freeze attacks, its damage resistance renders subsequent attacks in this state much less effective than on other machines.