Back in May, Netflix announced that a live-action Horizon Zero Dawn series was in production. More details have been surfacing as production progresses. The series has been given the working title Horizon 2074. It will be helmed by the showrunner of the Umbrella Academy series, Steve Blackman. It is being produced by Netflix, which recently saw success with its adaptation of The Witcher video game series.
Sony Pictures, who have had a good reception to their recent adaptations of The Last of Us and Uncharted video games, are also involved. The show has not yet been given a release date, but with production beginning in 2022, it is estimated that the first season will hit streaming services by early 2024. Here’s what we know so far.
What is Horizon Zero Dawn about?
Released in 2017 for PlayStation 4 and PC, Horizon Zero Dawn is an epic sci-fi adventure series that is set thousands of years in the future. It was produced by Guerilla Games, known for its work on the Killzone series. As of 28th Nov 2021, it has sold over 20 million copies globally. A sequel to the game, Horizon Forbidden West, was released in 2022.
The story of the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States in the 31st century. Humans live in primitive tribal villages alongside robot machine animals, whom they occasionally hunt for parts. They worship ‘The Old Ones’, a name given to the ancient humans that existed before the disaster that destroyed human civilization. The story revolves around a young outcast girl named Aloy who has a mysterious past.
The peaceful machine animals become dangerous and start killing humans without reason. This makes Aloy venture forth to uncover the truth behind it. That leads her to discover the reason for the fall of human civilization, and how it ties into their current predicament. The world-building and lore of this series are one of the reasons that Netflix has deemed it an IP that could translate well into the form of a series.
Crew and casting announcements
Rose Leslie, who played Ygritte in Game of Thrones, is a fan favourite for the casting of Aloy. Recently, Sadie Sink, who gained popularity for her role as Max in the Netflix series Stranger Things, has also become a popular choice. Many fans of the game have also suggested Aloy’s face model Hannah Hoekstra as an option. However, the likelihood of her being cast is low. That’s because video game adaptations usually attempt to diverge slightly from the original game.
A director has not yet been announced, but it is confirmed that Asad Qizillbash and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions will be involved. The two have been working on the production of the Last of Us and the Uncharted series. They will also be working on the adaptation of the Ghost of Tsushima series. Other notable crew members include Jack Boem, who has worked on The Boys TV series, as well as Michelle Brady of The Expanse.
The showrunner Steve Blackman will be producing the show under his production house Irish Cowboy, which aims to create ‘epic, character-driven television series’ under Netflix’s banner. Michelle Loretta has joined as the co-showrunner, known for her work on the 2015 TV series Killjoys. Abbey Morris, who has worked on the TV show American Odyssey, has recently been hired as SVP of Development for Irish Cowboy Productions and will be involved with this series as well.
The series will be shot in Toronto, Canada due to tax incentives, according to game journalist Jeff Grub. As the story of the game takes place in the United States, it would not be a significantly different environment. In a recent interview with Tudum, Blackman was asked about the show.
Why did you want to adapt a game like Horizon Zero Dawn and what are you most excited to tell from the game’s story? And will Aloy be the main character in this series?
Horizon Zero Dawn is an exceptionally well-crafted game with wonderful characters not often seen in the rank-and-file of the gaming world. Guerrilla Games has created an incredibly lush and vivid world of man and machine who find themselves on a collision course to oblivion. Their salvation comes in the form of a young female warrior named Aloy, who has no idea she’s the key to saving the world. Suffice it to say, yes, Aloy will be a main character in our story. My writing partner on this, Michelle Lovretta, and I are thrilled to be able to expand this remarkable IP into a series for all types of viewers
What is the story going to be?
Game journalist Jeff Grubb stated that the show will not be “a reboot or remake or reimagining of the game’s storyline” but will instead “take place parallel and explain other elements that happen”. This would mean that though Aloy will play a large part in the story. The side characters from the game will get more screen time as their stories are explored further.
The story of the series will contain a split timeline, with the first part focusing on events occurring before the post-apocalyptic event. The second part will focus on events that took place after. Those will be set in the timeline of the Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West video games.