Hyper Light Drifter, a game that might just be an all-time great action-adventure, released in 2016 and has persisted in the gaming consciousness for years thanks to its stylish and imaginative use of pixel art as well as its tight, rewarding combat. Those stunning visuals and action-packed conflicts will be adapted into a Hyper Light Drifter television series thanks to a partnership between developer Heart Machine and Adi Shankar, the producer responsible for getting the Netflix Castlevania series off the ground (and who is currently doing the same for Devil May Cry and Assassin's Creed).
Hyper Light Drifter tells the story of a lonely wanderer afflicted by a progressive illness who traverses a world full of others who have been displaced from their homes. His adventure eventually leads him through the ancient ruins and bones of long-dead creatures to recover memories and shards of power that are linked to a doorway at the center of a slowly growing settlement. The mystery that lingers in the heart of this world holds the key to understanding both the Drifter and his world.
Polygon released details from a conversation they had with Alx Preston, the founder of Heart Machine, about the upcoming adaptation. "We're going to make it cool," said Preston, "Hyper Light as a game was pretty atmospheric and kind of overbearing at times. For a series, the question is: how do you sustain and keep your attention on a non-interactive run? Does it get really, really dark and serious? Does it have some levity?” Given Shankar's success with Castlevania, the solution likely involves a mixture of both gritty material unafraid to take a show to some uncomfortable places while injecting some quippy dialogue that conveys a lot in a short amount of time.
Given how well Castlevania was received, it's likely Powerhouse Animation could be tapped once again to adapt Hyper Light Drifter. The animation studio has been on a roll recently between Castlevania (which is expected to get a third season this year), the upcoming action-adventure Gods & Heroes animated Netflix series, and their original production Seis Manos coming later this year. While the style of Hyper Light Drifter relied on a gorgeous pixel aesthetic, the series will be more directly taking inspiration from the anime work of Hayao Miyazaki in Studio Ghibli's heyday.
The project of adapting Hyper Light Drifter is still in its infancy, so many details about the series are still up in the air. For one, the game featured no dialogue whatsoever, something that would be incredibly difficult for a series if it's looking to find anything resembling mainstream appeal. “Considering Hyper Light was wordless, there’s an idea there of how much that would carry over to to a show,” Preston mused, "Could it be a more silent series or would we have voice acting? There's also the question of whether this would be a straight adaptation of Hyper Light Drifter's story or whether Preston and Shankar will expand on the story - or take it entirely new places.
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