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PlayStation hit Ghost of Tsushima a major Hollywood movie
Sony Pictures really doubles down on the whole "game- to-film" thing, so what's next?
That historically rocky, but also promising, but - you know - rocky relationship between Hollywood films and video games has always been interesting. By the looks of it, though, Sony intends to follow through with its "multi-form" mainstream entertainment strategy: after decades of wasted potential for extremely popular PlayStation titles that never made it to the big screen, the Japanese realized that - if done right - films based on games have more of a chance to succeed than totally original ones. That’s why PlayStation Productions was founded as part of Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2019, yes - but Sony Pictures themselves are now freely drawing from the PlayStation well of intellectual properties. Their latest seems to be promising, too.
It's none other than Ghost of Tsushima, the Sony megahit that was released last summer to great critical acclaim and commercial success on the PlayStation4. It follows the story of a lone warrior fighting a Mongol invasion on the Japanese island of the same name - a production that Sucker Punch, the development team behind the game, openly admit that honors the style and techniques of Japanese black and white cinema, Akira Kurosawa's work in particular. It's an epic tale told in an extremely effective fashion, already cinematic enough to be an obvious choice for a film adaptation.
Ghost of Tsushima is one of the most well-received games of the previous PlayStation generation: its completion rate (the number of people actually seeing it to the end) clocks at 50%, the second-highest in PS4 history. Sucker Punch notes that the title has now sold more than 6.5 million copies, so... doing the math reveals more than 3 million people who would probably like to watch a Ghost of Tsushima film from the get-go. Not a bad start from a game-based movie, yes? Not a lot is yet known about the film itself, other than it will be directed by Chad Stahelski, the creator and director of all four John Wick movies. Fans can expect amazing action scenes as a result, even if (one hopes) there will be no bullets involved.
So with a Ghost of Tsushima film officially announced, the Uncharted film being in post-production and the eagerly-awaited The Last of Us TV series being produced at HBO as we speak, where next? There were already rumors flying around about a Demon's Souls adaptation - the game did and does quite well as a PS5 launch title - and Sony themselves have mentioned a Sly Raccoon animated series in the past. Other than those there is no concrete information on the Web, just a lot of fan enthusiasm and wishful thinking. A second Ratchet & Clank film, for instance, seems highly unlikely since the 2016 one failed to impress, while a God of War movie would be amazing, but also a huge undertaking that would probably require trilogy planning, budget and execution to succeed.
Everyone familiar with PlayStation's output through the years though - from the original's release in 1994 to the most recent one's this past November - knows that the original material Sony has access to for movie adaptations is incredibly varied. From Horizon Zero Dawn and Killzone to Resistance and Infamous for AAA blockbusters to Jak & Daxter or LittleBigPlanet for TV series for a younger audience - apart from all the others already mentioned - the characters and stories the Japanese giant could use are numerous. And then there are the obvious opportunities for game/film tie-ins such as Spider-man or Spider-Verse.
There's no denying that Sony would need to commit sizable resources in order to really take advantage of the PlayStation material at its disposal, but the return on investment could be even greater in the long run. At a time when every major studio and streaming service is desperately looking for original, quality material to add to their libraries, Sony's secret weapon for the next decade may well prove to be its gaming heritage. Fitting, no?
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