It seems PlayStation will no longer be just for the players.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony is launching a new PlayStation Productions, a new label which will focus on adapting PlayStation video games for film and television. The enterprise is being headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by Shawn Layden, president of Worldwide Studios.
PlayStation Productions has been set up on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City and has already begun production on its first slew of projects. Though no specific titles were mentioned in the report, we do know that Sony has been in development on a young Nathan Drake movie based on the popular Uncharted game series and that Spider-Man: Far From Home star Tom Holland has been brought on board in the lead role.
Both Qizilbash and Layden had some interesting things to share about their new project. From Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, God of War, The Last of Us, and even Ratchet & Clank, Layden expressed the wide range of possibilities allowed to them by the years-deep PlayStation catalog:
“We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories. 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.”
Qizilbash expressed Sony’s desire to try adapting their own material as opposed to licensing them out to third parties, a lesson they learned from Marvel:
“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.”
“For the last year and half, two years, we’ve spent time trying to understand the industry, talking to writers, directors, producers. We talked to [film producer] Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Kevin Feige to really get an understanding of the industry.”
Layden went further, openly admitting that Sony hopes to accomplish something similar to what Disney and Marvel Studios has accomplished over the past decade:
“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. It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that.”
For every dozens of hours of gameplay, there is inevitably a years-long wait for the sequel. Layden says this new enterprise will help satisfy those fans who desire more adventures with their favorite characters immediately:
“When fans beat a 40-50 hour game and have to wait three-four years for a sequel, we want to give them places they can go and still have more of that experience and see the characters they love evolve in different ways.”
If you’re reading this, you might be thinking about the decades of history that seem to have proven that video game adaptations don’t work. Well, Layden laid out what he believes will make their approach different:
“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.”
As for which franchises will be adapted for film versus television, Qizilbash commented:
“Ultimately, the story will determine the format. We want to bring our IP to the medium that best honors the property. It has to stand up as a great movie or TV show. That’s really the only standard that we’d measure it against. In that medium, is it going to be best in class?”
Layden further spoke more to the importance of the quality of their adaptations:
“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. The company has been very accommodating to our ambition around this, to grow this in a measured, thoughtful way.”
It sounds like the folks behind PlayStation Productions have the right understanding of how to make a successful go at adapting their games. Will they be able to do for video games what Marvel Studios has done for comic books? Only time can tell at this point.
What do you make of this story? Are you excited to see Sony taking a shot at bringing their video game library to the big and small screens themselves? Or do you think that video game movies just cannot be good no matter what? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts!