Duncan Jones has described Mute as inspired by Blade Runner, but how important is the futuristic setting to the film's plot. A script reviewer finds Mute was originally set in the modern day, and told a very similar story.
Script review site ScriptShadow compared two versions of Mute, which Jones wrote with Mike Johnson. The first script, written in 2006, is actually set in modern day Berlin. It's only in the more recent version, set in 2046, that we get the futuristic film noir. But ScriptShadow reviewer Carson Reeves says the differences in the two versions are likely aesthetic, as the overall story remains largely the same despite the futuristic setting. Spoilers below.
We've known for some time that Mute focuses on a bartender who has lost the ability to speak and gets caught up in the Berlin underworld when his female partner goes missing. The entire script is available here, but Mute tells two parallel stories. One is about Leo, the titular mute, who falls for his fellow waiter, an Afghan woman named Naadirah. One day, Leo is unable to find Naadirah, and tears through Berlin's gangsters to find her, though he eventually learns that she is harboring a shocking secret. The other story focuses on Cactus Bill, an American stuck in Berlin who is waiting on fake passports for his wife and daughter so he can get out of dodge. Reeves notes that while Leo's story is all action, no talk (at least not from Leo), the Cactus Bill scenes are extremely verbose; Cactus Bill does little more than talk and wait around for passports.
At the moment, Mute is on hold while Jones takes on Source Code. But Reeves believes that, even with a few bumps in the script, Mute will at least look incredible, if it ever gets made.