It looks like Netflix’s adaptation of Sony’s Horizon series has hit a major snag. The show, which was in the hands of Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman, is “no longer moving forward.” Blackman had secured a hefty $50 million development deal to bring PlayStation’s post-apocalyptic robot dinosaur saga to life, alongside another sci-fi series called Orbital.

But the cancellation isn’t the only bombshell. Blackman faces serious accusations from former employees. These allegations paint a grim picture of a toxic workplace culture, with claims of discrimination, stealing credit for scripts, and retaliation against whistleblowers. Blackman’s camp has denied all allegations.

This halt means we won’t see a streaming surge for Horizon anytime soon. Sony announced the series back in 2022, hot on the heels of news about a Gran Turismo movie and HBO’s The Last of Us series, both of which launched in 2023.

Delaying the Horizon adaptation could throw a wrench in Sony’s grand adaptation strategy. Following HBO’s success with The Last of Us, Sony has been banking on cross-platform storytelling with partners like Amazon and NBC Universal. While projects like God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Until Dawn, Gravity Rush, and Days Gone are still in development, the absence of Horizon leaves a noticeable gap in Sony’s lineup. Missing out on a potential Last of Us-style boost for one of their top franchises is a significant setback.

It’s crucial to understand why the Horizon show might have fallen apart. The accusations against Blackman underscore deeper, systemic issues of workplace abuse in the entertainment industry. These same problems are all too familiar in the video game world as well.

In the gaming sector, we’ve seen a similar toxic culture rear its ugly head. Take the case of Activision Blizzard: despite forming the Workplace Responsibility Committee, Activision Blizzard has repeatedly come under fire for mishandling allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and fostering a hostile work environment. The committee, meant to address these issues, has been criticized for being ineffective, with many employees feeling that the company’s response has been more about damage control than genuine change.

This toxic culture isn’t confined to a single company or industry. For instance, the development hell surrounding Ubisoft’s XDefiant is another glaring example. The game has faced years of delays, crunch time, and a toxic work environment that has severely impacted its progress. Employees have reported a culture of mismanagement and burnout, echoing the same issues seen at other major studios.

Both industries have a lot of work ahead to eliminate toxic behavior and create healthier work environments. The downfall of the Horizon series adaptation serves as a stark reminder that systemic issues in the workplace can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not just the employees but the projects they work on and the audiences eagerly awaiting their release.

Gene Turnbow
Gene Turnbow

President of Krypton Media Group, Inc., radio personality and station manager of Part writer, part animator, part musician, part illustrator, part programmer, part entrepreneur – all geek.