From Mortal Kombat to Doom to Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, movies adapted from video games have a reputation for not being worthy of their source material. Still, that doesn’t stop studios from trying to buck the trend, eternally hoping that what’s enjoyable and popular in one form has got to be at least worth checking out in another. Joining these dreamers is Sega, which intends to adapt several of its classic titles (and at least one motion-controlled horror game) for the screen.
Sega aims to accomplish this through Stories International, a company it founded together with advertising agency Hakuhodo DY Group in 2011. As of now, the titles slated for adaptation include Shinobi, Streets Of Rage, Altered Beast, Crazy Taxi, and Rise Of Nightmares. Stories also has access to titles like Virtua Fighter and Golden Axe, so we could see big screen (or small screen) versions of those games if the first round of adaptations is successful.
By using an intermediary company like Stories to adapt its properties, Sega may be trying to exert a greater level of control over them than it would have if it just handed the rights over to a major studio. That’s the strategy adopted by game developers like Ubisoft, which hired an outside company to write “bibles” for its series as a means to avoid spotty film adaptations. Electronic Arts also did something similar recently, when it produced the Need For Speed movie itself. Sega has hired former Break Media executive Evan Cholfin as Stories’ head of development and production, so he’ll be in charge of making sure that production studios don’t do anything distasteful with Crazy Taxi or whatever.
Meanwhile, Sega’s most famous character, Sonic The Hedgehog, is already getting a movie adaptation courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment, but it may already be too late to save him from embarrassment.