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Horizon series appears stalled at Netflix as showrunner is accused of abuse

The man who would have made a Horizon show for Netflix has been accused of abusive behavior in the workplace.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

July 5, 2024

2 Min Read
Aloy rides a flying Sunwing in Horizon Forbidden West.
Image via PlayStation.

At a Glance

  • According to Rolling Stone magazine, writer and producer Steve Blackman has been accused of abuse in the workplace.
  • Blackman was developing a Netflix series based on Sony's Horizon franchise, which is no longer moving forward.
  • It's unknown if the show's cessation is directly tied to the allegations against Blackman.

It appears Netflix's adaptation of the Sony's Horizon series isn't moving forward. According to Rolling Stone, the show—which was being developed by Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman—is "no longer moving forward." Blackman had been offered a $50 million development deal to adapt PlayStation's apocalyptic robot dinosaur series and to bring another science fiction show called Orbital to life.

The news of the cancellation is justifiably overshadowed by a larger revelation by Rolling Stone: that Blackman faces numerous accusations by former employees of fostering a toxic workplace environment where he allegedly discriminated against employees, claimed credit for scripts he did not write, and retaliated against those who spoke up against his behavior.

Blackman's representative have denied the allegations.

Sony's Horizon series won't see a streaming show sales spike any time soon

Sony first shared news of the series' existence in 2022, which was shortly followed by the news that its Gran Turismo franchise would be adapted into a feature film. That movie, and an HBO series based on Naughty Dog's The Last of Us series, debuted in 2023.

A delay on adapting the Horizon series could hamper the company's ambitious adaptation strategy. After the success of HBO's The Last of Us, the company has touted the success of pursuing adaptations with multiple distributors like Amazon and NBC Universal.

The still-in-development God of War series and Ghost of Tsushima, Until Dawn, Gravity Rush, and Days Gone adaptations have plenty of time to get off the ground, but the absence of Horizon on the docket means one of Sony's most popular series won't benefit from a Last of Us-like sales bump.

It's important to not lose sight of why the Horizon show may have collapsed. The allegations against Blackman speak to the structural problems that drive workplace abuse in the entertainment business—problems that also manifest in the video game industry.

Both sectors have a long way to go in stamping out toxic behavior.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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