Sony has a massive hold over entertainment. If you want to make it or consume it, chances are Sony will have something to do with it.
Their latest venture is into game adaptation. Whether for TV or film, Sony wants to make it. But why are they adapting so many games? Is there something inherently pleasing about seeing a game adaptation? Or is there a lot of money in it? We’re exploring why Sony might want to keep this game-to-TV-and-film pipeline going.
Because They Have the IP
When you think about it, a gaming console development company, which also has a film studio as their sister company, it makes sense that the game-to-film pipeline is so popular with the higher ups. Sony owns a long list of gaming companies. Let’s go through them:
Bend Studio, known for Syphon Filter and Days Gone. Bluepoint Games, known for God of War, Uncharted, Shadow of the Colossus. Bungie, known for Myth, Destiny, and Halo.
Firesprite, known for the upcoming Horizon Call of the Mountain, Guerrilla Games known for Killzone and Horizon. Housemarque, known for Stardust. Insomniac Games, known for the Resistance franchise, the Marvel games and Ratchet & Clank. Media Molecule which created LittleBigPlanet. Naughty Dog, legendary creators of The Last of Us, Uncharted and Jak and Daxter. Pixelopus, known for Entwined.
Polyphony Digital gave us Gran Turismo. Santa Monica Studio is known for God of War and Twisted Metal. And there’s Sucker Punch Productions, which is known for Ghost of Tsushima, Infamous, and Sly Cooper.
There are a lot of recognizable names in there that could make for a decent narrative. Not every game lends itself to a narrative, like Tetris, for example. At least not an in-depth one. I’m imagining an 80s set Emoji Movie. But there are definitely titles in there like Halo, God of War, and even Gran Turismo that lends itself to a narrative.
And just to prove the point, Sonic, Uncharted and the Marvel franchises famously have movies and TV shows already made.
Although Disney obviously has control over the Marvel movies, there are a range of names in there that have a blueprint for an adaptation in the works, including Horizon Zero Dawn, Gran Turismo, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Last of Us, just to name a few.
Even if the games aren’t so popular, they’re recognizable. And when you’re a giant megacorporation with a movie studio on one end and gaming studio on the other, are you going to pass up the opportunity to put out a movie around a very recognizable IP?
Because There is Narrative Potential
So, that’s what Sony is getting out of it, which ultimately answers the question of why they’re doing it, but what does the audience get out of it?
It might seem nonsensical to an outsider. You’re seeing a movie about a world you’ve already seen. Not just seen, but been in, lived in. Why would you want to pay to see it again?
The same reason adaptations develop from books, comics, previous movies and TV shows, and any other intellectual property you can think of: to do it all over again. Sometimes we want to be in a world that is comfortable and exactly the same, and sometimes we want to see a radical new spin on it.
As mentioned, there are a lot of recognizable names in that list that would happily fill a film or even a TV series. Ghost of Tsushima, the Horizon franchise, and the God of War franchise in particular are noteworthy for their extremely rich storytelling and immersive worlds.
They are all prime for adaptation. Whether they would be better suited to sticking to the script or doing something new is up to you – and Sony. But the perk of adapting games is that they already have everything acted out in a format that have storylines that range from 10-30 hours, which means there is plenty of material to fill a movie or even a TV series.
The three franchises mentioned are also some of the biggest RPGs on the market, which are often narrative driven, meaning there will be lots to work with. However, a lot of role-playing games also focus more on the role playing aspect and allow the player to carve out their own narrative, making for somewhat of a challenge for anyone looking to adapt these games. If you’re looking for a free RPG, take a look at this collection.
But is it Worth it?
Sony might want to readdress its approach to gaming movies before they go looking for more IPs to adapt. They have recently shifted from film to TV, and maybe that is for the best. The Witcher might be a Netflix project, but it’s also one of the few gaming adaptations that gamers can point at and say, “I don’t hate that.”