Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced a new production studio called PlayStation Productions that will focus exclusively on adapting the company’s hit videogame franchises into TV shows and movies.
The new production studio will be headed by PlayStation’s former VP of Marketing, Asad Qizilbash, and overseen by PlayStation boss Shawn Layden.
According to Layden, a number of titles are already in production, though he says that the new studio won’t follow a set cadence for releasing those films like you’ve come to expect from, say, Marvel Studios.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Qizilbash said the team has spoken to a number of Hollywood producers including Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Kevin Feige to get an understanding about the production process and what to expect.
That said, according to Layden, what the PlayStation Productions doesn’t want to do is simply make a shot-for-shot retelling of a game. Instead, it has to be a vision of the game written by someone who understands the franchise and can adapt it for movie-going audiences.
“We want to create an opportunity for fans of our games to have more touch points with our franchises,” says 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.”
Is Hollywood ready for videogames?
While you’d be forgiven for having some reservations about a studio dedicated to videogame movie adaptations – you know, those films that often tank at the box office – but Sony’s heart seems to be in the right place here.
Moreover, Sony seems more concerned with creating quality content with PlayStation Productions than it is with just pumping out cash-grab films: the film studio has been in the works for two years now, and Layden’s statement confirms that it’s in no rush to get a lackluster movie in theaters by the end of the year.
It helps, too, that this is a good time to announce more videogame adaptations in the wake of the relatively well-received Detective Pikachu film. As traditionally niche movies are finding success at the box office, more entertainment properties are realizing the untapped potential of their IPs, something Sony has in spades – like Uncharted, The Last of Us, or Spyro.
So while it’s OK to be skeptical about what kind of films a movie house run by a former PlayStation marketing exec might churn out, you can rest assured that it won’t, can’t be any worse than some of the godawful videogame movie adaptations we had growing up (*cough* Super Mario Bros., Bloodrayne, Doom…).