Netflix Is Making a Big Change to This Highly-Anticipated Video Game Adaptation (2024)

The Big Picture

  • Netflix's Horizon Zero Dawn adaptation has reportedly been halted.
  • The news broke alongside a report that Steve Blackman was accused of fostering a toxic workplace environment, including retaliation, discrimination, and harassment.
  • The future of the Horizon Zero Dawn adaptation remains uncertain.

UPDATE: 2024/07/04 10:37 EST

The following article has been updated to better reflect the nature of Rolling Stone's report and to add a statement from a spokesperson for Steve Blackman.

One of the most eagerly awaited video game adaptations in development, Horizon Zero Dawn, is no longer moving forward in its original form, as per a report by Rolling Stone. The report from the magazine, which features multiple accusations of inappropriate and toxic workplace behavior from Steve Blackman, the man tasked with developing the series and best known as the showrunner behind The Umbrella Academy, notes that both Horizon Zero Dawn and another project, which was titled Orbital, have been shelved at the streamer.

Horizon Zero Dawn is a 2017 game, set in a post-apocalyptic world where robotic creatures dominate the landscape. Taking place in the 31st century, long after a cataclysmic event has led to the collapse of human civilization, the remnants of humanity have regressed into primitive tribal societies, living in harmony with nature and worshiping ancient technology. The story follows Aloy, a young woman who is an outcast from the Nora tribe. Raised by a fellow outcast named Rost, Aloy is determined to discover the truth about her origins and the world she lives in. She is skilled in archery, stealth, and crafting, which she uses to hunt and survive in the wild. The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is a vast and visually stunning open environment filled with diverse ecosystems, from lush forests and towering mountains to arid deserts and frozen tundras. These landscapes are inhabited by various robotic creatures, often resembling animals and dinosaurs. Horizon was critically acclaimed upon release, winning Game of the Year.

What Are the Allegations Against Steve Blackman?

Netflix Is Making a Big Change to This Highly-Anticipated Video Game Adaptation (1)

Blackman was given the keys to the Horizon kingdom back in 2022, when he signed a multi-year deal with Netflix, the headliner for which was the adaptation of the bestselling PlayStation game. Now, it seems that the project is no longer moving forward. Rolling Stone broke the news in their report that Blackman had been accused of fostering a hostile workplace environment. Twelve staffers and a human resources complaint detail allegations against Blackman that include retaliation and discrimination, toxic and manipulative behavior, inappropriate remarks and inadequate handling of concerns.

Blackman allegedly retaliated against staff members, particularly targeting a female writing team when one member took maternity leave. He reportedly expressed feeling "ripped off" for hiring the pregnant writer and made comments blaming their exit on budget issues while allegedly wanting a more experienced writer. Multiple sources in the report claim Blackman created a work environment filled with fear and distrust, where staff felt they had to show unwavering loyalty to avoid being fired. He is also accused of taking credit for others' work and making decisions based on perceived disloyalty. The HR complaint and sources accuse Blackman of making sexist, hom*ophobic, and transphobic remarks. This includes making inappropriate comments about staff members' appearances and sexualities.

Blackman denies these allegations, calling them "entirely untrue" and "completely absurd," and maintains that all employment matters were handled in compliance with policies and regulations. Rolling Stone's report states that reps for Blackman note that he “has a long, ongoing, and close working relationship with Netflix” and “continues to work on new projects," including a new multi-year deal signed earlier this year. The full statement from Blackman's spokesperson was shared with Collider following the initial publication of this article. Read it below:

"Steve Blackman has a long, ongoing, and close working relationship with Netflix, and signed a new multi-year deal earlier this year. He continues to work on new projects as well as the launch of the fourth season of the Umbrella Academy. It is preposterous and irresponsible to even suggest that there could be any impact of false and absurd allegations against Steve on the status of these projects, in a year with historic writers' and actors' strikes and dozens and dozens of project cancellations. "

Stay tuned to Collider for more on the future of Horizon Zero Dawn.

Netflix Is Making a Big Change to This Highly-Anticipated Video Game Adaptation (2)
The Umbrella Academy

TV-14

Superhero

Sci-Fi

Action

Adventure

Comedy

Release Date
February 15, 2019

Creator
Steve Blackman, Jeremy Slater
Cast
Tom Hopper , Robert Sheehan , elliot page , Marin Ireland , Yusuf Gatewood
Main Genre
Superhero

Seasons
4

Stream on Netflix

Netflix Is Making a Big Change to This Highly-Anticipated Video Game Adaptation (2024)
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