Sony this week announced Playstation Productions, a new arm seeking to turn Playstation franchises into other media forms. There’s a lot to unpack in this announcement, but this upshot is this: expect to see more video game movies. Video game movies seem to some in waves. There was a pretty divisive surge of movies based on video games in the early 90s. It gave us everything from Double Dragon to Street Fighter and even the infamous Super Mario Bros. It seemed like it put people off the idea. But they keep trying.
Not all video game movies have been bad. Its more the case that they’ve underwhelmed at the box office. With Detective Pikachu currently being praised for breaking the video game movie ‘curse’ things might be looking up. The timing of this announcement is likely not coincidental. With the vague hopes that anything Playstation produce is more Resident Evil than Alone in the Dark here are 5 ideas for franchises that might stand the leap to the big screen.
Its been rumoured, and in production, and out of production, and suspiciously quiet for years now. It wouldn’t be at all surprising this announcement was directly aimed at the troubled Uncharted movie. Its proved to be incredibly popular since the series started on the PS3, with a dedicated fanbase that would all buy a ticket. Nathan Drake’s Indiana Jones-esque persona would make for some great trailers. The games are already pretty cinematic though, so the real flaw here is does it need to be a game at all? Fans love the games’ writing and characterisation, so what would seeing it all on a bigger screen really bring to the table?
God of War
There are few franchises as likely to appeal as God of War. Its got long-time name recognition, being around since the Playstation 2 days. Maybe there’s even some lapsed gamers with nostalgia for it. More recently, though, the series had an astoundingly successful come back. With complex themes and a rich mythos there seems to be a plot to play with here if God of War were under consideration. An in-continuity side-story seems a better bet than an unrelated film version. In either case, angry gods battling it out has to be an easier sell than a plumber who jumps on turtles.
Speaking of easy sells, people still seem pretty into superheroes. Could Infamous be a smart way of watering down the video game music ‘curse’ with some of that superhero heat? Its a concept with a proven track-record, with a big talent pool to draw on to ensure it gets done right. In the post-Endgame world maybe people will start fatiguing of superheroes, though, and without a ‘cinematic universe’ supporting it maybe Infamous would be the film they’d skip.
Not all video game movies need to be about fighting. There’s a whole host of mascot like characters that could be turned into a family-friendly CGI film. Turning Crash or Spyro into something you’d want to watch for 90 minutes seems like hard work, though. The characters are fun but the plots are far from ideal. Not to mention such beloved characters might lead to some fan backlash. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie says hi. Sly Cooper is pretty easy to imagine as a kid’s movie. Its cel-shaded graphics already look fantastic. Its characters are bold and distinct. A movie about a master thief would give the plot a lot more room to breathe than a game reliant on defeating foes.
At the complete other end of the spectrum there’s Twisted Metal. A lower-budget action-focused genre film would definitely be a different approach, but why compete with the huge blockbusters if you don’t have to? Its not the most active IP so there’s not huge fans to annoy.The games all take place in cars so there’s plenty of room to flesh it out. The name says it all; you don’t need to be a fan to understand the concept. When we do start seeing what Playstation Productions have in mind it would be nice if there were a few surprises. Update: Since this list was put together there has been news that Twisted Metal is being turned into a TV show by Playstation Productions.