There’s still a chase out there for the ‘big’ video game film adaptation. There’s been many throughout the years, but often with reputations ranging from either poor quality to poor box office performances to a little of both. This seems to have changed somewhat with Detective Pikachu, though overall its box office performance came in under expectations, and reviews have been decidedly mixed. And video game TV adaptations are basically nonexistent. Someone who is potentially looking to break that in a big way is Sony.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the multimedia giant is creating a film and TV production studio that will be headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by chairman of Worldwide Studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment, Shawn Layden. Apparently, the production company already has its first productions on slate. It’s not clear if this will only focus on Sony owned properties, such as Uncharted or God of War, or will attempt to reach out to other video game companies. Only Sony franchises are mentioned, however, saying they want to take the 25 years of game making they’ve been a part of and adapt that to the screen.
“Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves,” says Qizilbash. “One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.”
“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,” Shawn Layden added. “It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that.”
“You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn’t understand that world or the gaming thing,” Layen continued. “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.”
Sony’s first party titles have generally become more cinematic in nature over the years, so on paper the move makes a lot of sense. Of course, it’s been attempted many times to mixed results, as mentioned above, largely due to the challenge of storytelling in video games being significantly different than films and, to a lesser degree, television. It’ll be interesting to see if PlayStation Productions can finally crack the code.