‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ Netflix PlayStation Series: Everything We Know So Far

Our ongoing preview for the upcoming series adaptation of Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Tigran Asatryan What's on Netflix Avatar

horizon zero dawn netflix series adaptation

Horizon: Zero Dawn – Picture: Sony PlayStation

Netflix is venturing big into video games. One major upcoming TV project is from Sony in the form of Horizon Zero Dawn, which will be a live-action adaptation of the Horizon game series that follows Aloy in her quest across the post-apocalyptic USA that is mostly populated by mechanical creatures. Here’s what we know about the series as of August 2022.

No directors or cast are known to be attached at this stage, but we do know that Carter Swan and Asad Qizilbash. Both are very prominent figures in live-action adaptations of PlayStation titles as they have produced Uncharted and the upcoming adaptations for The Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima, and Twisted Metal.

In August 2022, Steve Blackman, the showrunner of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, would be the showrunner for the live-action Horizon Zero Dawn series. The showrunner notably signed up with Netflix under an overall deal via his Borderline Entertainment banner in February 2020.

Steve Blackman

Picture: Getty Images

Horizon is the video game series from Dutch developer Guerrilla Games, also best known for the Killzone franchise.

Here’s everything else we know about Netflix’s Horizon live-action adaptation:

What’s the plot of Horizon?

horizon zero dawn 2

Horizon Zero Dawn – Picture: Playstation

The story of the original game, Horizon Zero Dawn, is set in the post-apocalyptic United States in the 31st century.

Humans live in scattered, primitive tribes with varying levels of technological development. Their technologically advanced predecessors are remembered as the “Old Ones”. Large robotic creatures, known as “machines”, dominate the Earth. For the most part, they peacefully coexist with humans, who occasionally hunt them for parts.

In the main game, we follow Aloy, who grew up without parents and lived isolated from the four tribes. She grows up and eventually has to investigate a phenomenon known as “Derangement,” which has caused machines to become more aggressive toward humans. Larger and deadlier machines have begun to appear.

Here’s a rundown of the four tribes, the Nora, the Banuk, the Carja, and the Oseram:

“The Nora are fierce hunter-gatherers who live in the mountains and worship nature as the “All-Mother”.

The Carja are desert-dwelling city builders who worship the Sun.

The Banuk consists of wandering clans made up of hunters and shamans who live in snowy mountains and worship the machines and their “songs”.

The Oseram are tinkerers and salvagers known for their metalworking, brewing, and talent as warriors.”

Here’s the trailer for the first game, which was released in 2017:

A second game called Horizon Forbidden West was released earlier in 2022.

In an interview on Netflix’s Tudum, showrunner Steve Blackman answered a few questions about the upcoming show:

“You have two exciting new series in development. Do they share any DNA with The Umbrella Academy? What did you want to do differently this time around?

Horizon Zero Dawn and Orbital are on the surface very different shows from each other and from The Umbrella Academy. One takes place a thousand years in the future, in a world completely remade by massive machines. The other is set near present-day on a space station.

From a character- and world-building perspective, there’s a clear throughline: I gravitate to characters who are grounded and relatable but exist on the fringe. Outliers who struggle to find their place in a world of conformity and structure. All my stories strive to subvert expectation and find a new way of looking into the worlds we think we know.

If these series gain the success of The Umbrella Academy, I’ll be very happy. But we hope to push the envelope even more, especially when it comes to production where we’ll be using the newest technologies available to bring these projects to screen. It’s an enormous challenge but one that I’m truly excited about.

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.”

Will the Netflix adaptation be faithful to the original first game?

It’s hard to say for certain, but taking the entire history of video game adaptations, we probably shouldn’t expect Horizon to be a faithful retelling of the game’s story. Especially considering the newest Resident Evil live-action series from Netflix that doesn’t have much to do with the plot of any of the games.

Who is cast in Horizon?

No cast has been announced for Netflix’s Horizon series as of June 2022.

Ashly Burch voices Aloy in the games in the game for those who don’t know.

ashly burch horizon

Ashly Burch – Picture: Guerrilla Games

Lance Reddick (as seen in Netflix’s Resident Evil), John MacMillan, and John Hopkins also voiced characters in the game.

One of the most popular fan choices around the internet for the role of Aloy has lately been Sadie Sink, as the Horizon announcement almost the same day as Stranger Things Season 4 was released, which was also amplified by the fact that Sink’s Max has a very exciting and memorable scene, which the internet also loved. Lyndon Smith is also often mentioned in online circles for the role.

Another suggestion has been Aloy’s face model, the Dutch model and actress Hannah Hoekstra. Still, it’s very unlikely Netflix would choose to cast the literal face model for the game Aloy as it would be too close to the games and adaptations generally don’t do that.

What’s the Netflix release date for Horizon?

Netflix hasn’t set a release date for its Horizon live-action adaptation. Still, considering the 2022 production start, we should probably expect the first season to drop on the streamer, perhaps in early 2024.

For more on Netflix’s video game adaptations coming up, check out our preview here.

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Tigran is our resident previews writer. He works on collecting everything known about upcoming Netflix Original projects and also is editor-in-chief of Redanian Intelligence. Resides in France.