It now seems painfully obvious, but there was a time when just a handful of journalists or analysts were wondering what was keeping Sony from making the most out of its PlayStation properties business-wise. Well, that time is now well and truly over: during its latest investor briefing the Japanese giant confirmed that it is working on TV adaptions of three of its bigger — currently the biggest — game franchises. Oh, yes: God of War, Horizon and even Gran Turismo are all getting the TV show treatment at some point during the next two years.
Word comes from Sony Interactive Entertainment’s president himself, Jim Ryan, who revealed that the company is working with Netflix on Horizon, Amazon on God of War and another third party on Gran Turismo. It seems that Sony has given all of this some thought and decided to not tie itself to any particular partner or service, working with different ones on different projects instead. It’s worth noting that two other videogame-based productions that are already underway — The Last of Us and Twisted Metal — are developed for other services too, HBO Max and Peacock respectively.
These are not the only famous PlayStation franchises getting the TV show or film treatment either: there’s also a Ghost of Tsushima movie in the preproduction stage as well as a Sly Racoon TV show planned for 2023. At this point, by taking a look at all those brand names, one realizes that there are now more PlayStation franchises making the leap to the film/TV world that those that… aren’t. Furthermore, judging by how well the Uncharted movie recently did — raking in about $400 million at the box office despite lackluster reviews — it’s no wonder that Sony now expects this cross-media strategy to be followed well into the future.
So what other PlayStation properties could Sony bring to the big screen or to living room TVs after those already mentioned? Uncharted is not likely to be explored again soon, although a movie sequel would certainly make sense. A Ratchet & Clank film was released back in 2016 without much success (it was as mediocre an animated movie as it can possibly get), so it’s also unlikely to be of much interest to Sony. The other PlayStation duo, though, Jak & Daxter, could fit the bill for a “family” 3D animation film, while Sackboy would easily work as the star of a TV show. Then there are other, more mature franchises offering material fit for movies and shows, such as Infamous or Siren or Resistance, while cult classics such as Shadow of the Colossus or The Last Guardian would also make for spectacular films.
In any case, with Sony getting serious about expanding so many of its beloved PlayStation franchises into cross-media territory, it will be interesting to see what kind of influence this strategy may or may not have on the entertainment market as a whole. Hollywood is already looking at video game adaptations with more interest than even a few short years ago, as are streaming services such as Netflix. If Sony manages to find consistent success in its game adaptation efforts, it’s quite possible that many more publishers and studios will decide to follow its example. Cross fingers?
26/05/2022: Deadline reports that the Gran Turismo-related production is actually a movie and that “Neill Blomkamp is being eyed to direct”, although — since the film is in the very early stages of development — it’s still not certain that the District 9 director will be involved.