Shadows of Europe
Corporate Slogan: “We Know What You Think”
Corporate Court Ranking (2075): #10
Corporate Status: AAA, private corporation
World Headquarters: Los Angeles, PCC
President & CEO: Gary Cline
Major Shareholders: Undisclosed
Dominant Business Language: English
Horizon is based in the midst of media wonderland Los Angeles, and they’ve managed to score many exclusive contracts for dealing with the development of California. With charismatic ex-simstar Gary Kline at the helm, Horizon specializes in anything that can be used to manipulate opinion (media, advertising, entertainment, social net- working, etc.), along with consumer goods and services, real estate and development, and pharmaceuticals. Its corporate culture is “people-centered,” and employees are well taken care of and encouraged to develop their talents and pursue their interests on company time —as long as the corp reaps the profits. They had been renowned as being technomancer friendly, but a series of events culminating in a massacre in Las Vegas helped people understand that even the nicest of megacorps can spin out of control.
|Major Divisions & Subsidiaries:|
|Horizon Southeast Asia|
Cantor-Kurosawa (media production)
Charisma Associates (marketing/PR)
Checkpoint Software (business software)
Colbert Group (finance/legal)
Columbia Industries (simsense)
Common Denominator (fashion/consumer electronics)
Cunard Entertainment (alternative entertainment)
The Dawkins Group
The Horizon Project (social works)
Horizon Transglobal (space)
Olympus Designs (architecture/ design)
Pathfinder Multimedia (media/entertainment)
Spectrum Holofix Entertainment Systems (electronics)
Synergestic (ARE software)
Truman Distribution Network (media/ entertainment)
Horizon is by far the youngest player in the AAA big leagues. In terms of actual founding dates, NeoNET is technically considered newer, but its execs and Frankensteined parts all came from megacorps with extensive pedigrees and long histories. Horizon, by comparison, just about came from nowhere. Odds are you probably have a teenager that’s older than this AAA.
Horizon might be young, but bear in mind that even teenagers have the capacity to be dangerous. Remember that Pathfinder Multimedia trid series from a few years back, the one where the kid pulls a gun and geeks one of the secondary characters with no warning whatsoever because it turns out he was secretly a gangbanger? Yeah, Horizon’s kinda like that kid, and the recent Las Vegas incident proves that—but more on that later.
Horizon began with a noble purpose in 2061, following the wake of Halley’s Comet. Los Angeles was an utter wreck from the ravages of earthquakes and the Deep Lacuna alchera phenomenon. Hollywood was in the utter shambles, and the whole economy of the region —to say nothing of the LA-centric entertainment industry— was swirling down the toilet. To revitalize the city and get people back to focusing on fame and celebrity, a group of industry leaders and politicians banded together, ultimately leading to the creation of a think tank “social experiment” they called the Horizon Project. This group concentrated on improving LA, rebuild- ing the Hollywood economy, encouraging tourism, and being a generally friendly face amid a beleaguered city.
The Horizon Project’s success in LA led to the think tank buying up smaller companies and eventually incorporating in 2063 as the Horizon Group and appointing sim-star Gary Cline as CEO. This newly certified A-rated megacorp started expanding its market share by snagging a lucrative PR deal with the government of Tír Tairngire and securing the contract to implement LA’s wireless-Matrix initiative. The corp also invested venture capital in innovative and progressive startups, and acquired companies that would give them a competitive advantage against more entrenched megacorporate players. Horizon initially focused on intangible assets and services, such as advertising, media, entertainment, information services, software and Matrix development, and so on. The lack of overhead associated with the manufacture, storage, and distribution of physical products allowed Horizon to rake in the profits and (ostensibly) funnel a lot of those monies into public works projects, outreach programs, and other social responsibility endeavors that further elevated the corp’s reputation in both the public and private sectors. With profits from its initial ventures, Horizon further diversified its markets by investing in more tangible products, such as pharmacology, biomedical research, politics, and architecture/urban development. Any company doing innovative or revolutionary work in their field became an acquisition target.
Crash 2.0 in 2064 caught the entire corporate world with their trousers around their ankles —everyone except Horizon. The corp’s most critical Matrix nodes were offline for scheduled maintenance when the Winternight virus began wreaking havoc throughout the wired world. This freak coincidence —or masterfully executed plan, depending on whom you ask— let Horizon escape the ensuing chaos with very few scars. Corp operatives quickly jumped into the chum and nuyen-filled waters and snatched up just about anything that wasn’t tied down —small companies driven bankrupt by Crash 2.0; downsized employees left without jobs; stock portfolios; intellectual property rights, copyrights, patents, and other virtual assets— all for bargain-basement prices.
In 2065, the Horizon Project’s humble “social experiment” was catapulted into the ranks of the stardom when the Corporate Court announced that Horizon would replace the recently demoted remnants of Cross Applied Technologies in the ranks of AAA corporations. The pronouncement came as a shock to the other members of the Big Ten, leading to rampant discussion of how an upstart corporation like Horizon could climb from A to AAA in the span of only two years, especially since Horizon, on paper, only barely had enough assets and clout to qualify as AA-rated. To this day, no one but Gary Cline and the Corporate Court justices who presided over the decision know exactly how the decision came down. Speculation runs the gamut between things like undisclosed assets and Horizon hoarding a giant vault filled with potential blackmail for use against Corporate Court justices or bigwigs from other Big Ten members. Horizon’s AAA rating has been challenged a few times by jealous AA-rated competitors, but the CC merely logs the complaints and dismisses the cases.
If you expect your Horizon Johnsons to meet you in a nova-hot club wearing clothes it would take you several runs to pay off, well, you are probably right. Horizon Johnsons are amped-up motherfraggers high on all sorts of drugs (mostly novacoke), but don’t let that fool you. They cycle damn fast, so they are under a lot of stress, but they are also the best and brightest of their peers. Horizon is great to work with because their Johnsons consider the whole op to be run as a single team, not an “us-versus-you” thing. Your Horizon Mr. Johnson pretty much doubles as a fixer as well. Whatever you need, they will try to facilitate you getting. They will take your run feedback into consideration and may alter the run based on what you think and what you suggest. They are irritatingly team-oriented.
The underlying bogeyman behind all this, though, is the Dawkins Group. In my opinion, there are no worse people on the planet, because they don’t kill people. They erase them. They convince people to give up everything they believe in. It’s not that they make people sell their souls. They make people think their souls have so little value that they need to pay Horizon for doing the gracious deed of accepting to take their souls off their hands. When you have manipulative bastards like that hanging in the background, things can get dicey. Heck, Horizon Johnsons hate dealing with Dawkins, because these guys can absolutely destroy anyone with very little effort and no remorse. I tell you, in this business, nobody likes Dawkins. So if those guys get involved in your run, or God forbid, take an interest in you… well, good luck, chummer. If anyone asks, we never met.