PlayStation TV Shows
With the recent success of God of War, both critically and commercially, Sony seems to have once again added a ‘must have’ exclusive to their first party line up of games on the PlayStation 4. What is arguably more impressive however is how the latest instalment in the long running franchise is not only being applauded for great game play but also its moving story and impactful character development.
Santa Monica Studios, the team behind the God of War series since the PlayStation 2, has consistently delivered on fun action gameplay and epic boss battles which helped make the series iconic on the PlayStation platform. What they have been criticised for in the past though was the shallow nature of the lead protagonist’s character. Kratos, the focal point of the entire series, often felt like just an angry guy who was purely used to progress the story from one over the top action scene to the next. It wasn’t until the most recent instalment in the series that Kratos the character seemingly got the depth of emotion that players have been looking for.
Having rolled credits on the newest game myself I can now say that I was just as interested in Kratos and the supporting characters as I was in exploring the world and brutally killing all kinds of monsters. Without giving away spoilers for the plot of the newest game, its story also gave a greater context and meaning to all the supposedly ‘shallow’ characters of the previous games too. With this new perspective on Kratos Santa Monica Studios has now got me fully invested in not only the gameplay but also the world and the characters they have interwoven throughout it.
Santa Monica Studios isn’t the first of Sony’s first party studios to get applauded for deep character work and world building either. Naughty Dog has long been regarded one of the best studios around for their work on the Uncharted series as well as The Last of Us. In 2017 Gorilla Games delivered a game of the year contender in Horizon: Zero Dawn. This year Quantic Dream has the chance to match their piers too when they release they narrative driven game Detroit: Become Human.
While all of these games have the look and feel of a Sony PlayStation game, their gameplay and settings all play on different themes found throughout other media.
Uncharted is the action adventure game focused on Nathan Drake as he searches of long lost treasures across the globe.
The Last of Us is a near future zombie game focused on the strong bond between its lead characters Joel and Ellie as they navigate the dangers around them.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is post-apocalyptic sci-fi game where Aloy tries to uncover the secrets of the past while fighting off giant robot dinosaurs and beasts.
Detroit: Become Human will depict the interactions between humans and sophisticated androids when it released next month.
While God of War is a fantasy game that follows Kratos through Greek mythology, and now Norse mythology, as he fights against monsters and even the gods as he seeks revenge for past horrors.
With all of these games delivering rich characters and worlds it seems a shame that by many they will get over looked or potentially missed all together.
Sony being the giant media machine that it is has all the tools to take these rich worlds and characters and translate them from their video game routes to film or TV. Currently there is an Uncharted movie in development however with the recent results of other video game properties made into films is a worrying project to navigate.
I feel an option with far less risk would be to partner with a streaming service giants, such as Netflix or Amazon, to create 8-10 episode series based around their first party games.
In recent years Netflix has really proved their worth in the TV market with their original content and Amazon is pushing hard to match them with their recent acquisition of the Lord of the Rings rights. With well established IP’s, great characters and interesting worlds, as well as a passionate pre-existing fan bases these games seem the perfect fit for a TV show that can dive deep into the characters and lore that has made the games such hits.
Imagine an Indiana Jones style adventure based around Nathan Drake discovering the secrets of El Dorado. A sword and saddles epic featuring Kratos taking on the powers of Olympus. Or a Walking Dead inspired thriller with Joel and Ellie searching for a cure.
All of these could be based on tried and true formulas but, with the implementations of Sony’s relatable and now iconic characters, could be give the fresh lease of life that many genre fans are searching for with the current offerings on TV.
I am lucky. I have the capacity, financially and time, to delve into the games that Sony is creating for the PlayStation however many aren’t as fortunate as I am. My only hope is that Sony expands the reach of these properties to maximise their potential and allow for more people to experience the amazing stories that their studios are creating.