If you ever thought that one of Sony and PlayStation’s titles would make for quality film or television, it appears you are not alone. Sony Interactive Entertainment has just announced the launching of PlayStation Productions, a studio that will bring to life Sony’s extensive catalog of interactive media for film and television.
First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this new venture is headed up by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by the chairman of Worldwide Studios at SIE, Shawn Layden.
PlayStation Productions is “already in production on its first slate of projects and has set up shop on the Sony Studios lot in Culver City.”
“We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories,” Layden told THR. “We feel that now is a good time to look at other media opportunities across streaming or film or television to give our worlds life in another spectrum.”
With franchises like God of War, Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us, and many more of gaming masterpieces that have graced the consoles, Sony is of the belief that “‘with a library of more than 100 original properties ranging from adventure to sci-fi to action to mystery to horror, PlayStation Productions has a wide breadth of content ripe for adaptation.”
There is also no need for licensing, as PlayStation Productions will ensure in-house production and sister company, Sony Studios, will help with the distribution.
According to Qizilbash,
Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves. One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.
The creation of PlayStation Productions has been in the works for the past few years, with Qizilbash, Layden, and their team speaking to many figures in the film industry, such as Transformers series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.
“We looked at what Marvel has done in taking the world of comic books and making it into the biggest thing in the film world,” said Layden. “It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that.”
The idea of a video game adaptation is much easier to swallow now as many filmmakers are fans of gaming as well, noted Layden.
In order to avoid “big budget efforts like 2016’s Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft [that] bombed at the box office and earned weak reviews,” Layden stressed the need to focus on the “ethos” from the game and avoid retelling a story that is too reliant on gameplay.
You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn’t understand that world or the gaming thing. The real challenge is, how do you take 80 hours of gameplay and make it into a movie? The answer is, you don’t. What you do is you take that ethos you write from there specifically for the film audience. You don’t try to retell the game in a movie.
Another aim of PlayStation Productions is to make the wait between sequels that much easier to take, as fans will be able to revisit their favourite worlds and “have more of that experience and see the characters they love evolve in different ways.”
The creation of PlayStation Productions will help ensure PlayStation retain any creative control of its titles, and that the right fit is found for the projects. Sustainable growth is the guiding principle, and not rushed projects.
“We don’t have to rush to market. We don’t have a list of ‘X number of titles must be done in this year.’ None of that,” said Layden. “The company has been very accommodating to our ambition around this, to grow this in a measured, thoughtful way. This is a passion project for me, to be the first gaming entity to do something lasting and meaningful in a completely different medium is something I’d like to see us achieve here at PlayStation Productions.”
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