Wild Zoids are creatures that roam freely across Planet Zi without a pilot.
OverviewWild Zoids were first seen in the Battle Story of the Original Japanese line, but the different Zoids media have made several variations over the years.
True Wild Zoids
This is essentially a Zoid in its original state, having evolved from a core and fed upon metallic foliage found on Zi or the cores of other Zoids. These are the Zoids that inspired designs such as the Liger Zero and Gojulas Giga. They also are the rarest variety of pilot-free Zoids. True wild Zoids have no actual ranged weaponry, but still have close combat weapons and the strength and agility of any military Zoid. There has been no appearance of a true wild Zoid in media outside selected Zoid fanbooks.
Wild Zoids are born from mini-cores budding off an adult Zoid. When the parent dies, the mini-cores break off, forming their own bodies in safe locations.
A few wild Zoids appear in the Zoids comics, being called "primitives" or plainly "wild Zoids" and live on the outer territories of Zoidstar. These wild Zoids do not have androids like the other Zoids in the comics and more closely resemble the wild Zoids in the OJR story. However the wild Zoids of the comics may have ranged weaponry such as missiles and appear to be huge.
Unmanned Zoids are those that formerly had a pilot, but were either abandoned or managed to escape, reverting to wild behaviors and instinctive fighting tactics. In the Chaotic Century anime, the first unmanned Zoid appeared in episode 3; this installment featured an old, semi-crippled Gordos that had been left at a deserted Republican base by its pilot. In this case, the Gordos continued to follow the orders of its owner - to protect the stronghold - even after their initial separation.
Unmanned Zoids played a prominent part in the Zoids Saga video games, where they became the main opponents set throughout the various maps. In these games, they are referred to as Field Zoids.
Sleepers are Zoids that were equipped with a basic AI system that would order them to attack intruders that enter their territory; while not technically wild these Zoids can still fight without a pilot. They are placed in strategic locations by the different militaries of Zi to prevent access to certain areas. It is shown in the Chaotic Century episodes that the AI is a White Box installed into the cockpit that simulates being controlled by a human. These Zoids aren't necessarily wild as they have been intentionally placed at a location and still are controlled by a pilot (albeit an artificial one), however these Zoids are not always removed when they are no longer necessary, and are therefore sometimes encountered in the wild by travellers. Sleepers first appeared in Episode 5 of Chaotic Century and appeared repeatedly throughout the anime.
The wild Liger Zero is available as an art statue, but no official wild Zoid model was ever released. Dengeki Hobby Magazine featured customs of Wild Zoids too, including the wild Liger, Wolf and Tyrannosaur.
Unmanned Zoids and Sleepers are occasionally seen in several of the Zoids anime series. However no true wild Zoid has ever made an appearance. Chaotic Century and Guardian Force had many sleeper Zoids making appearances, such as Guysacks working in packs or a group of Rev Raptors guarding a ruin. There were also a few appearances of unmanned Zoids.
In New Century, Leon Toros' Blade Liger was active, yet unpiloted when Leon found it. Fuzors had packs of wild Rev Raptors considered to be territorial as well as wild Guysacks and Iron Kongs. Fire Pheonix, Jet Falcon, Dispelow and Evo Flyer were also seen as wild Zoids, freely choosing to fight alongside RD and Blake. In Genesis, a herd of abandoned Elephanders were strong, unpiloted Zoids (shown to have dead pilots in their cockpits) that relied on impure Reggel to survive.
In both New Century and Genesis, Zabats are shown to be unmanned, but are very specifically controlled/coordinated by the forces using them (the Backdraft and the Sky people, respectively).
The Saga series pits the player against packs of Field Zoids that can be of the same type, or work in groups of several different Zoids. Interestingly, the picture that would normally contain a pilot's image shows a black box with a light on it, similar in appearance to the AI system shown to pilot Sleepers. Similarly, unmanned Zoids combatted against players during the Story Mode of Zoids Full Metal Crash if the player chose to wander outside rather than talking to teammates.
In Geno Breaker's Story, several mutated wild Zoids were seen including a cranky mutant Heldigunner. Zoids Mokushiroku featured a Wild Zoid Icon, that when touched by one of the player's (or computer controlled) zoids could be converted to a combat Zoid.