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Horizon Is Coming to Netflix: 5 Things We Want to See

We are in the renaissance of video games being adapted into other media. With the Sonic franchise doing incredibly well at the box office and The Witcher drawing in millions of viewers, we’ve made significant gains in the medium since the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie.

Perhaps it’s the success of The Witcher that’s led to Netflix being home to the future adaptation of PlayStation and Guerilla’s Horizon series.

The concept of a post-apocalyptic world with machine animals seems like a great fit for TV where the world can be fleshed out over multiple seasons.

Here are 5 things that the show definitely needs to even come close to recreating the magic of the games.

Better Than Average CGI

Horizon TV show on Netflix
Aloy and the intricately designed Sunwing. (Screenshot captured on PS5)

The recent Halo TV series showed that CGI can help make or break a video game adaptation, faithful or not.

The machines in the Horizon games are arguably the most prevalent antagonists and I would expect them to appear in the show pretty often.

In order for this show to work, these machines need to pop every time they’re on screen. The machine designs in the games are so memorable because they look like they could function in real life with their intricate wires, gears, oil and shiny metal. 

There’s a fear factor that needs to be conveyed as well. Aloy being chased by a Thunderjaw won’t be as scary to watch unless that machine looks the part. That machine needs to have the movement of a predator and interact with its environment as it hunts its prey. 

An Ashly Burch Cameo

Ashly Burch (and a team of narrative designers) has made Aloy who she is. This TV show could pay homage to that by giving her even the tiniest part in the show much like the Uncharted film adaptation featured a cameo from Nathan Drake’s voice actor Nolan North. It was a brief interaction that casual moviegoers wouldn’t think much of, but it’s that type of small interaction that the Horizon TV show could include that would be a nice nod to the fans. 

Maybe she could be one of the participants in The Proving whose screen time gets cut short. Or she could provide the distorted voice for one Project Zero Dawn’s subfunctions. 

Storytelling on Par With the Games

Horizon TV show coming to Netflix
Aloy has a conversation with *SPOILER* (Captured on PS5)

One of the standout characteristics of the Horizon games is the amount of environmental storytelling there is. There are hundreds of text and audio logs in the game that fill in the blanks between bigger story beats or just add historic context to the world.

If the Horizon TV show wants to succeed, it will have to go beyond the more pivotal story beats to build characters. They’ll have to take from the games’ lore to further develop the show’s main cast of characters. 

It would be interesting for the show to turn some of the game’s key story elements on its head, but not in the way the Halo TV show did. I’d like to see their take on how different key characters might interact with each other but I don’t want to see any butts.

Stellar Costume and Makeup Departments

Clothing is something that helps differentiate the factions of the Horizon world. Horizon as a show can’t skimp out on a costume budget or else everyone will look like cosplayers.

They especially can’t ignore the many costumes that Aloy dons throughout the series. It would be incredible if a season 1 of this series built up to a final episode where Aloy crafts the Shield-Weaver armor from Horizon Zero Dawn. 

Forbidden West added to tribe characterization by incorporating a variety of face paints that the different tribes wear. It’s an avenue where the showrunners could get creative. Each character in Horizon seems to have a different style and pattern of face paint that sets them apart from others.

Horizon Forbidden West even allowed Aloy to wear the face paints from the various tribes and it would be a nice touch to see Aloy do the same in the TV show. 

Lance Reddick

Netflix to deliver Horizon Forbidden West TV Show
(CC BY-SA 2.0 Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Sylens may be the most interesting character in the Horizon series. There’s a mystery to him that actor Lance Reddick presents masterfully. It’s difficult to picture any other actor doing what he does with that role in the games. There’s a sense of trust and distrust he’s able to create at the same time. 

It’s certainly not unheard of to cast the same actor from one medium that’s being adapted to another. The Star Wars series has done this numerous times. The Horizon games are so cinematic already that an actor like Reddick wouldn’t have any issue translating his character to live-action.

While these may seem like obvious needs for any great TV show, the truth is, that many shows miss the mark in at least one or two of these categories. With a very dedicated fanbase, the team at Netflix can’t afford to stray far from the story and general ambiance of the Horizon series.

What do you think Netflix’s Horizon series must have to be successful? Let us know in the comments section.

2 Comments

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  1. It should dig into the backstory of the Gaia AI and what led to Zero Dawn. The story should capture where things went really wrong and led to disaster. Ex: militarization vs environmentalism

    • Hey Sean,

      That’s a really good point. It all comes back to be a heavily story-driven adaptation that can play on the already great storytelling while opening us up further to the Horizon universe.

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