Sony has announced PlayStation Productions to adapt games for movies and TV, according to an exclusive reveal from The Hollywood Reporter. This new unit will be based in Culver City at the Sony Studios lot. The team will be led by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by Shawn Layden, Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios.
Shawn Layden told The Hollywood Reporter that “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.”
Rather than having different PlayStation IP licensed out to different companies, the decision was made to develop these projects 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. “One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.” Shawn Layden added that they have “looked at what Marvel has done” and are trying to follow in those footsteps.
It’s not as simple as just adapting the games directly to the screen however. “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 says. “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.”
Even with the first batch of projects in development, there isn’t a set number that PlayStation Productions is required to produce. “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 certainly an interesting move for Sony and for its PlayStation division. With Sony partnering with Microsoft to move its gaming content to Microsoft Azure and exploring how other content could be hosted, it seems Sony has big plans for the future of PlayStation – in gaming, movies and TV.