TALLNECK (HORIZON ZERO DAWN)
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
The Tallneck is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. It is a colossal Communication Class machine that serves as a communications center. By far the largest of all machines, Tallnecks are unique among machines in that they are harmless to humans, they take no notice of their surroundings, and they are impervious to physical attacks. They may be overridden to reveal details and locations of structures, machine habitats, human settlements and other points of interest over a vast area.
Though one could associate their long-necked appearance with that of a sauropod dinosaur, the lack of a tail and their long legs make Tallnecks look more like a gigantic giraffe than a sauropod dinosaur.
Unlike any other machine, Tallnecks have no visual 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.
A Tallneck’s entire chassis is protected by heavy armor plating. This plating is impervious to all known weapons, physical or energy, and from any attack, ranged or melee.
Several long structures, presumably antennae, project from the back of the necks. These may be used to climb up to the Tallneck’s head to access the data port. Four tail-like structures, possibly another type of 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.
The Nora Brave Aloy knew of the existence of Tallnecks from her guardian Rost. In her journeys through the various regions and tribal lands, she discovered the existence of five of these machines. Each time, 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.
A Tallneck cannot be harmed by any known weapon. No attack, regardless of type or power, will stop it, slow it, stagger it, or make it alter its path.
Talllnecks never congregate in groups. With a slow but sure and steady gait, each one walks a circuit in a particular region, acting as a communications center. Tallnecks emit a signal that a Focus can detect. Presumably, the Eclipse were able to establish their Focus network, which they used extensively in their operations, by anchoring the network’s communication signals on the five Tallnecks that were known to be active, each one in a different region. The vastness of the area whose details were revealed when Aloy overrode a Tallneck suggests that these machines are able to receive and transmit signals over very large distances, allowing the network to cover all the lands using only six of them.
Tallnecks are not hostile to humans, unlike any other machine, inasmuch as they ignore humans instead of attacking them. Indeed, Tallnecks ignore their environment completely, and show no sign of awareness of any change or event happening around them, including battles. Certainly, if they are aware, they have no reaction. However, while they themselves are harmless, the area where they walk may be infested with dangerous machines that will attack humans on sight. Thus in order to approach it and get into a position where she could climb onto it, Aloy first had to clear a safe path through these machines to get to the Tallneck. Also, while they will not attack humans, they may prove inadvertently dangerous, as being in the path of a Tallneck can be fatal; Tallnecks do not stop for any reason, stepping on whatever is in their path, including careless humans.