THUNDERJAW (HORIZON ZERO DAWN)
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
The Thunderjaw is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. It is considered an Apex Combat machine, meaning that it is one of the largest and most dangerous of all machines. Its size, power, and array of highly damaging attacks — ranged and melee –make it the most feared machine among the tribes, so much so that the machine has attained an almost legendary status.
The Thunderjaw is a huge bipedal machine with features akin to those of a theropod dinosaur, particularly the Tyrannosaurus Rex: powerful and bulky legs, a long body, and a heavy tail to maintain equilibrium. As its name suggests, the head of the Thunderjaw features two sets of appendages resembling mandibles that spread to the sides when it roars.
Its visual sensor array is composed of six sensors on each side of the head, arranged in a staggered vertical configuration of three side by side. Twin cannons are affixed to the sides of its mandibles, one on each side. There is an additional energy beam weapon in its mouth. An array of Blaze canisters is on its back, heavily protected by armor plating. Under its belly is an array of similarly protected Chillwater canisters. Attached to each hip is a weapon known as a Disc Launcher. On its lower back are three long, antenna-like structures. The tip of its tail is armed with a pair of scythe-like fins, used in combat when the Thunderjaw swings its tail.
The Thunderjaw seems to be a much larger and more combat-oriented cousin of the Watcher, as both resemble theropod dinosaurs, have no forelimbs, a long tail, and scanning equipment in their heads.
Like the Sawtooth, the Thunderjaw only began appearing during the Derangement, a phenomenon in recent years that began when GAIA’s machine-building subordinate function called HEPHAESTUS became an independent entity, no longer under GAIA’s direction. The HEPHAESTUS AI soon began to see humans as a great threat to its machines and in response developed more aggressive, combat-oriented predators. Possibly developed from unused terraforming designs, the Thunderjaw represents the pinnacle of the combat class, potentially surpassing the fighting capabilities of even the FAS-FSP5 Khopesh. It shakes the earth with every step and few enemies, mechanical or organic, would dare attack it.
According to Hunters Lodge manuscripts, Ahsis was the first human to ever face and bring down a Thunderjaw, and its wrecked carcass now hangs from the ceiling of the Hunters Lodge House in Meridian. Although this event was the first time the Carja ever encountered Thunderjaws, the machines existed for some time before; a pair of Thunderjaws were seen in the Nora territory of the Embrace on the day of Aloy’s Naming Ritual, over 9 years earlier.
At one point, a Thunderjaw known as Redmaw terrorized the Sundom. Many hunting parties were sent out to kill it but to no avail, giving it a reputation among the Carja as a legendary, immortal beast. Eventually tracked down, Ahsis and Talanah of the Hunters Lodge both went to take the monster down, and it was destroyed by Talanah and Aloy after it fatally wounded Ahsis.
The Eclipse managed to capture and corrupt a Thunderjaw for use during their assault on the Nora, and another during Queen’s Gambit. How they managed to do so is unknown, but it was used to great effect during their attack on All-Mother Mountain, where its Disc Launchers pounded the door of the facility until Aloy arrived and defeated it.