Even though one of Hollywood’s biggest studios is bullish about virtual reality, that doesn’t mean it’s going to pump out VR-related adaptations for all of its upcoming films.
According to Peter Levin, the president of Lionsgate Interactive Ventures and Games, potential VR projects for his studio have to have a “very obvious strategic fit” for each film property. He gave the example of John Wick: The Impossible Task, a first-person shooter based on the action-franchise starring actor Keanu Reeves. He dived into this onstage today at the GamesBeat 2016 conference in Ranchos Palos Verde, California.
In total, Lionsgate is working with 11 different partners on more than a dozen projects that’ll appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers. Levin said that they’ve seen an “unprecedented appetite” from creators to play with the new medium. Lionsgate’s major advantage when it comes to tapping those hungry developers is the 16,000 different movie and TV properties they own and distribute (including Hunger Games and the Power Rangers reboot).
The Impossible Task is its “own discrete VR project,” with a story that supplements the plot from the original John Wick. Levin said one of the most impressive things about this VR game is how involved the filmmakers are with creating it, and that it maintains the tone of the movie. The Impossible Task will first debut on HTC’s Vive headset in the fourth quarter of 2016, with a release on other VR platforms shortly after that.
In addition to the John Wick game, Lionsgate is working on a project for mobile VR platforms based on the popular Now You See Me films. Levin added that they also have “two or three” VR experiences that are “original IPs [intellectual properties]” with “tremendous talent” behind them.
“One of the decisions we made early on was to work with as many developers as possible,” said Levin. The studio didn’t want to put all of their “eggs in one basket.”
While some of them might be a more obvious fit for VR than others, the studio is open to more creative ideas as well.
“If a pitch is left of center, but it comes from a passionate developer … we’re as likely to pursue that as well as some of the more obvious stuff you can think of,” said Levin.
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