Hot off announcing a collaboration between Microsoft and Sony working on cloud-based initiatives for their respective gaming platforms, is the next step in Sony’s plan for the future. Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment reveals PlayStation Productions, a new studio that will develop both film and television projects based on their existing properties.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news earlier today and provided details on the new endeavour. The new studio uses the Sony Studio lot in Culver City with Asad Qizilbash, a PlayStation Marketing veteran. SIE Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden will also be overseeing the new studio.
“We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories,” said Layden, talking to The Hollywood Reporter. “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 so many gaming franchises ranging from Shadow of the Colossus to God of War, PlayStation has some of the most lucrative series in the medium today. There’s no telling how the direction the studio wants to go right now but they have a massive library full of properties ripe with stories to tell an audience.
However, there will be hurdles for PlayStation. Namely, video game adaptions often being not so good and very few understand the IP in which they are based. Seemingly though, Warner Bros struck gold with the Ryan Reynolds led Detective Pikachu, which is on its way to a $300 million box office total.
Most video game adaptions aren’t handled by the studios that created them. Instead, these licenses to existing IPs are bought out by movie studios. With PlayStation Productions, Sony is looking for total creative control which allows them to produce in-house. “Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves,” says Qizilbash to the Hollywood Reporter, “One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.”
Others like Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard have their own studios doing similar things with their own video games. We’ve seen a movie based on the Assassin’s Creed property as well as one based on the massively successful Warcraft property, but to varying degrees of success. With Sony, who’ve spent the two years attempting to understand the movie industry by speaking to directors, writers, and producers, want to approach the industry their own way.
“You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn’t understand that world or the gaming thing,” Layden tells The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
This helps keep fans of a franchise invested between titles. So if you’re playing the first game in a series and know a movie is coming out, this helps drive the sequel to that game in ways only a film might be able to. This is something that helps PlayStation keep their hand on the property and ensuring that things work to their own standards, which is something you rarely see in Hollywood.
That’s why this partnership with Sony Pictures is a big deal for PlayStation Productions. They work on their own schedule and do what they need to meet quality standards that otherwise might be there if a studio instead buys the rights.
“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,” says 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.”
Currently, we know there is an Uncharted movie in the works with Tom Holland attached as a young Nathan Drake. Other than that, very little is known about what PlayStation Productions is working on at the moment.