Sony has revealed PlayStation Productions, a new production studio designed specifically to bring video game stories to TV and film.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the venture will be led by SIE chairman of Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden, and headed up by Sony veteran Asad Qizilbash. According to THR, the studio already has “its first slate of projects” in production on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, USA.
“We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories,” Layden said. “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.”
Unlike Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard – which has already produced movies based on the Assassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft franchises respectively – Sony will produce the projects themselves rather than licensing the venture to other production companies.
“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.”
Due to its partnership with Sony Pictures, PlayStation Productions “don’t have to rush to market” and will “be afforded the time to make film and television projects that live up to the quality of their video game source material”.
“We want to create an opportunity for fans of our games to have more touch points with our franchises,” said Layden. “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.”
The studio has been at work for “the last year and half, two years” talking to writers, directors, and producers in the industry, including Lorenzo di Bonaventura – who produced the 2005 movie adaptation of id Software’s shooter franchise – and Kevin Feige, a movie producer experiencing in taking comic books and Marvel characters to the big screen.
“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 said. “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 is a passion project for me,” he added. “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.”