Sony Interactive Entertainment has established PlayStation Productions, a production studio that will mine the company’s catalog of video game titles for film and television.
The Culver City-based PlayStation Productions is led by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden.
“We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises, and stories,” Layden told 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.”
Qizilbash added, “Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves. One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.”
Sony Studios will assist PlayStation Productions in distribution, but not in the production of its content, which will be handled firsthand by PlayStation.
“For the last year and half, two years, we’ve spent time trying to understand the industry, talking to writers, directors, producers,” said Qizilbash. “We talked to [film producer] Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Kevin Feige to really get an understanding of the industry.”
Layden added, “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. It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that.”
He continued, “You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn’t understand that world or the gaming thing. 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.”
Qizilbash said that whether they focus on film or television depends on the title, as the story will ultimately determine the format.
The first slate of projects are already underway at PlayStation Productions. According to Layden, the company does not have ‘X number of titles that must be done by X time’ and is in no rush to market, so it is able to take its time to make the quality projects it desires.