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Horizon Zero Dawn Guide, Walkthrough by

Horizon Zero Dawn Guide, Walkthrough

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Horizon Zero Dawn: Technical issues and troubleshooting - PC version Horizon Zero Dawn Guide, walkthrough

Last update: 11 August 2020

On this page of our game guide we have prepared information about the most serious technical problems and issues of the PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn, which may impede your gameplay. We've listed major bugs which occur in Horizon Zero Dawn and prepared instructions with various tricks that can be used in order to improve the game's performance.

Do the Horizon Zero Dawn crashing issues occur only in the PC version?

Yes, stuttering gameplay, sudden game crashes and bad optimization are common problems that occur only in the PC version. The original version of the game released for the PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles does not have any performance problems. However, the PlayStation 4 version cannot offer the graphics quality available on the highest graphics settings of the PC version.

These problems apply to all PC versions of Horizon Zero Dawn - you can experience them whether you have purchased the Steam version or the Epic Games Store version.

Can you improve the game's performance - is there a crash fix available?

Unfortunately, there aren't any 100% effective fixes for the PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn that could improve the game's performance. If you are not in a rush to complete the game, then it is worth to wait for the patches and updates that may improve the game's performance. The designers of Horizon Zero Dawn promised quick fixes and updates that would eliminate the most serious bugs and offer better optimization. These updates should increase the overall performance and the number of displayed frames per second.

If Horizon Zero Dawn doesn't start or suddenly stutters during gameplay, then you should check the following things:

  1. Make sure that your Windows 10 has been updated to the latest version. It is worth noting here that Horizon Zero Dawn does not support Windows 7.
  2. Make sure your graphics card has the latest drivers installed. In case of Nvidia cards it is recommended to install drivers version 451.67 or newer. For AMD cards, it is recommended to install drivers version 20.7.2 or newer.
  3. Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements of the game - we have listed them on a separate section of our guide, that is, Horizon Zero Dawn System Requirements.
  4. Try to lower the resolution and quality of the graphics settings in the game options. This can significantly improve the performance and reduce or eliminate the stuttering.
  5. Disable the overclocking mode of your CPU and / or video card. Problems of flickering textures, glitches, strange artifacts appearing on the screen or even bad lighting may be caused by an overwhelming stress of your rig.

Stuttering issue - how to eliminate?

. Stuttering occurs, among other things, when you travel around the game world, when the user interface gets updated, when you open the menu windows, or when cut-scenes are being displayed. Unfortunately, there is no effective solution to this problem. Game developers are familiar with that issue and a dedicated fix will appear soon.

Optimization problems - how to increase the number of fps?

Poor optimization and the inability to play comfortably in 60 FPS are major problems of the PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn. Unfortunately, these affect practically all hardware configurations. You can experience problems with getting a satisfactory frame rate even if you have a strong system. The authors promised to release patches that will improve the game's performance. Until then you can try the following tricks:

  1. Update your graphics drivers - if you have an NVIDIA graphics card, then download the 451.67 drivers or later, and if you have an AMD card, then use the 20.7.2 drivers or newer ones. The game may run worse, crash or even be unable to launch on older versions of the drivers.
  2. Give up 4K resolution. It can put a serious stress on your computer. Consider playing at 1440p or 1080p - at least until some patches will be released to improve the game's performance.
  3. Don't disable the FPS limiter, which causes your computer to generate the maximum frame rate by using the maximum capabilities of hardware components. Setting the frame limit can seriously reduce the stress of your system and improve performance.
  4. Reduce the graphics quality in game settings. In particular, it is worth reducing the quality of clouds and reflection effects. You can also lower the shadows, model quality and textures.
  5. Turn off the Exclusive Fullscreen option. After disabling it, the game should work a little better.
  6. Disable all unnecessary applications running in the background. They can unnecessarily put more stress on your system or cause hardware conflicts with the game.

Anisotropic filtering - why doesn't it work?

This is a known bug in the game and it is not caused by your hardware. Anisotropic filtering settings may not work at all even if they get modified in game options. Game designers have given this issue a high priority and it should be fixed in one of the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn updates.

4K resolution - why doesn't it work?

This is another common problem of the game. You won't be able to play at a 4K resolution in a full screen mode. This is because the image in the game is scaled with a resolution of 1080p. Try switching to a frame-less display mode for a moment and then back to a full-screen mode. Unfortunately, this is a one-time fix and it may be necessary to repeat the same steps after you restart the game.

Shader compilation - how to initiate it?

This is one of the more advanced fixes that can improve the performance of the game, and eliminate or reduce the effects of flickering textures and lighting. Performing the steps described below is risky and can, in extreme case, lead to major crashes in the game and even force you to re-install Horizon Zero Dawn.

Horizon Dawn runs the shader compilation automatically when it gets installed and launched for the first time. However, you can manually force the game to run this process again.

Find the directory where the game was installed. By default this is:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Horizon Zero Dawn\LocalCacheDX12

In LocalCacheDX12 you will find the PSOCache.bin file - delete it or move it somewhere else. When the game will be restarted, it should initiate a new compilation process of shaders. Note - the compilation process can take up to a few dozens of minutes, so be patient and wait until the whole process is over so that the game can start.

Why are the cut-scenes displayed in a 16:9 format?

It is one of the well-known issues of the PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn. Even if you have set a different resolution format (for example, 21:9), then all cut-scenes will be shown in the 16:9 format. Another similar issue is associated with animations displayed in 30 fps, even if the rest of the game runs in more frames (for example, in 60 FPS).

These problems derive from the console origin of Horizon Zero Dawn and occurred during the development of the PC port. There are no fixes at the moment. Also, there is a chance that these issues may be solved or somewhat reduced in the upcoming patch.

Does the game support Ray Tracing technology?

No, Horizon Zero Dawn does not support Ray-Tracing. There is no such option at all in the graphics settings of the PC version of the game.

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