|“||The Entity... lives? Unacceptable... Unacceptable... Unacceptable...||„|
|~ HADES upon learning that Aloy survived.|
|“||Entity... has come here? Entity... miscalculated. Entity... cannot destroy me. I am beyond its reach. DESTROY THE ENTITY!||„|
|~ HADES meeting Aloy for the first time.|
|“||Arrival of Entity... has been anticipated. Entity... will not halt transmission. To contrary, calculations are precise. Presence of Entity... has been accounted for.||„|
|~ HADES during the final battle.|
HADES, also known as the Buried Shadow, is the main antagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn.
It is an artificial intelligence that originally served as one of GAIA's original subordinate functions during Project Zero Dawn. Created for the purpose of restarting GAIA's terraforming process, HADES remained inactive for centuries, due to the success of GAIA's terraformation. It serves as the true leader of Eclipse, which seeks to conquer Meridian for themselves.
Awakened by a mysterious signal, HADES has transformed into an erratic and powerful AI that seeks to eradicate all life on Earth, regardless of whether the process was a success or not.
Being a crudely created AI, HADES lacks any personality programming or a conscience. Aside from wrath, HADES does not display any sign of human emotions. Despite this, HADES has shown to be very skillful at manipulation, as it was able to manipulate the Shadow Carja (with Sylens's help) into becoming his pawns. HADES is not truly characterized by malice, as it is merely performing the task that it was made to do.
Creation and Development
HADES was created by Travis Tate, a criminal hacker that served as the leading programmer for HADES' development. It was created for the purpose of reversing terraforming operations if GAIA was unsuccessful at restoring the biosphere, allowing for GAIA to restart with a clean slate. Since GAIA was able to successfully restore Earth, however, HADES was not needed and thus remained inactive for centuries.
In 3020, a mysterious signal had caused all of GAIA's subordinate functions to become independent, uncontrolled AIs. HADES was "awakened" and attempted to take control of the terraforming system in order to wipe out life again. To prevent this, GAIA self-destructed in an effort to destroy HADES and protect the biosphere. However, HADES unleashed a computer virus, allowing it and the other subordinate functions to escape.
Hiding in the Shadows
HADES eventually relocated to the remains of a Metal Devil, located in the jungles of the Jewel. HADES soon launched a signal in hopes of receiving aid. Eventually, a Banuk named Sylens was able to pick up the signal with his Focus and came across HADES. Once Sylens was done repairing HADES, HADES began to question Sylens about the world they were in. While Sylens exchanged vast knowledge such as the tribes and politics, HADES was more invested on the one thing that would serve as the necessary material needed to accomplish his plan; the Spire. HADES then plans to reach to the Spire where he would broadcast a signal that would reawaken all the Machines and use them to destroy all life on Earth.
Forming the Eclipse
In order to accomplish this goal, HADES began to use Sylens, tricking him into thinking that he plans to share his knowledge of his ancestors in exchange for his help. HADES then had Sylens prepare an army for him, in which Sylens suggested on aligning with the Shadow Carja to form a new cult as their army known as the Eclipse. HADES agreed and was soon able to form the army, presenting himself as the cultural deity known as the Buried Shadow. HADES would then proceed to provide them the necessary tools and weapons they would need, including Focuses, Corruptors, and Deathbringers. Once HADES was done, he planned to have Helis to kill Sylens, but Sylens was able to make his escape, after receiving the transmission from HADES. Syles would then continue to monitor HADES and the Eclipse, before meeting Aloy.
HADES would continue to monitor his men behind the shadows as they would carry out his plans. Eventually, Aloy would confront HADES face to face in an attempt to retrieve the module from the Tallneck. Angered that she managed to survive the Proving Massacre, HADES ordered his men and unleashed a Deathbringer to kill her. Aloy was able to escape, though barely. With the Eclipse Focus network crashed, HADES knew it was a matter of time before his defeat and soon prepared for war.
The Final Battle
HADES began to send his army to attack all the tribes around the world, declaring war. HADES was then dragged by a Deathbringer through Meridian and was brought at the top of the Spire. Connected to the Spire, HADES began to broadcast his signal globally, causing Deathbringers to be reawakened beneath the surface. Aloy attempts to stop him by using the master override, but before she could reach to him, HADES deploys a Deathbringer, as well as other Machines to keep her occupied. Eventually, Aloy was able to destroy the Deathbringer, then soon override HADES' protocol, shutting down the Deathbringers.
Despite his defeat, HADES still remained functioning, though inactive. However, his conscious was pulled out of his core and soon dragged into a cage built by Sylens. Intending to get more information out of him, Sylens tells him that he and him have a lot to discuss, as he looks over a ruined Metal Devil.
- HADES (though the meaning of the acronym is unknown) is named after the ancient greek god of the Underworld.