The Horizon franchise boasts an expansive and intricately crafted world, presenting an array of expansion opportunities, such as a potential multiplayer format or an adaptation for Netflix.
With the trend of game adaptations for streaming services, exemplified by the hit HBO series The Last of Us, Horizon’s creators are eager to join in on the action. Although it remains unclear whether the Netflix series will center on the events of Horizon Zero Dawn; rumors suggest an unexpected direction for the show.
The timeline of the upcoming Horizon Netflix series is still a mystery, with no confirmation as to whether it will be a prequel or set in the present day. If the show turns out to be a prequel, it could be a cost-cutting measure.
The purported title of the Netflix series, Horizon 2074 has been revealed as a code name for a separate project. However, if the show were to be a prequel set during the Old One’s era rather than featuring the current characters, it would risk disappointing fans who anticipate the franchise’s defining aspect: the massive mechanical creatures. By delving into a period preceding the collapse of civilization, the creators may inadvertently overlook one of the most fascinating and distinctive elements of the Horizon universe.
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The successful TV adaptation of The Last of Us serves as a cautionary tale that some game adaptations may deviate from the original gameplay content. The Last of Us made significant changes, such as altering the nature of the infection to a hive mind and reducing the number of infected characters. Furthermore, the show’s action sequences were comparatively less intense than the gameplay experience.
An adaptation of a game, such as Horizon or any other that sidesteps action sequences and heavy special effects, may give the impression that significant cost reductions are possible by simply removing them. Should the Horizon Netflix series shift its focus to a political drama centered around characters like Dr. Elisabet Sobeck and Ted Faro, it is a successful strategy that circumvents the necessity for costly visual effects, which are an integral aspect of the game.
One of the most significant expenses for the Horizon Netflix series would be creating the enormous mechanical creatures that dominate the game world, having replaced conventional fauna after the terraforming of the earth.
The machine animals in the Horizon game franchise are a standout feature that captivates the audience’s attention, even though exploring the different tribes, like the Oseram, Banuk, and Nora, can be fascinating.
The Netflix adaptation of Horizon must remain faithful to the game’s unique gameplay elements, which primarily include these imposing mechanical creatures. To achieve this, the series must be set in the present-day storyline. However, casting the protagonist, Aloy may pose a challenge. Aloy plays a crucial role in the franchise as a clone of Dr. Elisabet Sobeck and her battles with the game’s terrifying creatures, like the Thunderjaw, Stormbird, Fanghorn, and Snapmaw, are integral to the game’s appeal. Therefore, with these epic battles, the Netflix adaptation can capture the essence of Horizon.
Assuming that the Horizon adaptation on Netflix is a prequel, it will likely feature only a few enormous machines central to the game. The prequel would focus on Dr. Sobeck’s mission and the events leading up to the current storyline rather than the present-day setting of the game. As a result, the mechanical creatures would have a diminished role in the prequel, and the show may need a substantial budget to replicate the epic battles and special effects. If the Netflix adaptation cannot accurately depict the game’s iconic mechanical creatures and thrilling action sequences, it would not be an authentic adaptation and should not have been pursued.
To satisfy fans and maintain the integrity of the Horizon franchise, Netflix should prioritize authenticity in its adaptation. While a prequel could be an exciting departure from the game’s present-day setting, it’s essential that the adaptation still captures the essence of the Horizon world, including its iconic machines. With these elements, the show could satisfy fans and resonate with audiences.
In the end, the success of the Horizon adaptation will depend on how well it balances creative departures from the game’s narrative with faithfulness to its essential elements. If Netflix can achieve this balance, the show could be a hit with both fans of the game and newcomers to the franchise. However, if the adaptation fails to capture what makes Horizon great, it could be a missed opportunity for both Netflix and game fans.