Ubisoft and Netflix’s new animated series Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix has very little to do with the Far Cry game series, from which it draws part of its title. Viewers of the mixed-media show don’t need to know anything at all about Far Cry, or its strange, neon-infused spinoff from a decade ago. But series creator Adi Shankar said it would be “disingenuous” to not reference Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the 2013 video game that was a shocking aesthetic swerve in Ubisoft’s open-world survival adventure game.
Shankar said that calling his new mashup show, in which the worlds of Assassin’s Creed, Beyond Good & Evil, and the Tom Clancyverse collide, is him “paying homage, paying credit” to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
“When you look at how important Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was, it’s a seminal fucking piece of art,” Shankar said in an interview with Polygon. “At some point people are going to look back and say there were seminal things [in that game] that seeded this online art movement, which continues to grow. Blood Dragon was one of them. So this is me wanting to acknowledge that.”
Captain Laserhawk is more like a reverential cousin to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Both pieces of media are set in dystopian futures, and steal liberally from ’80s-era influences: synthpop music, VHS tapes, video games, and effortlessly cool action stars. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s hero was a mishmash of the T-800 Terminator and Kyle Reese wearing an NES Power Glove holding RoboCop’s hand cannon. Captain Laserhawk’s Dolph Laserhawk is similarly cybernetic, with a gun arm that evokes Mega Man’s Mega Buster or Samus Aran’s arm cannon.
There are clear similarities and distinct differences between the two Blood Dragons. Shankar described his show as “more of a vibe” as opposed to “adapting the ‘tome’ of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.” In fact, when Shankar’s show was first announced back in 2019, it was called Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Vibe.
Captain Laserhawk is “part of the same lineage” that the CRT-filtered, laser beam-slathered Far Cry game spinoff was, an aesthetic that has permeated through other works of art over the past decade. Shankar specifically namechecked Destiny 2, The Weeknd’s music videos, and the Duffer brothers’ Stranger Things as examples of contemporary works existing on the same creative lineage.
“It all just kind of organically happened via the internet and Blood Dragon was a seminal moment in that,” Shankar said.
And while the Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon influences may be a small part of Shankar’s animated series, especially compared to how much Beyond Good & Evil influence it contains, there is some Far Cry at the show’s heart — and at its periphery.
“Well, you know [Far Cry 4’s] Pagan Min is in this, reinterpreted through a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure lens,” Shankar said. And, he teased, “the universe is populated with other Far Cry characters. They exist, and you may not see them here, but they’re out there in the universe.”