As Netflix Cans Resident Evil, Sony Is Full Steam Ahead On Game Adaptations

Can the relationship between Sony and Netflix on their upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn series change Netflix’s habit of canning geek and gaming adaptations after a single season?

News broke over the weekend that Netflix would cancel its Resident Evil adaptation after one season. The show, which took some liberties with the established RE canon, was roundly drubbed by critics but was embraced by certain corners of the fandom. Those who enjoyed the show considered it an improvement on 2021’s abortive Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City and praised its willingness to try something different, even if it didn’t work. Fans insist the show wasn’t given time to find its feet or its voice.

It becomes the latest geek adaptation to catch the axe at the streaming giant after only a single season, with more adaptations like One Piece on the way. The Sandman seems to have done quite well for Netflix, but the vague definitions of the company’s success criteria mean even it could fail to get another run. Another comic adaptation , The Umbrella Academy, seems to be still going strong. Netflix’s hope, it seems, is that the pre-existing popularity of franchises it adapts will be enough to carry them to success. Unfortunately, that is not always the case: just ask Cowboy Bebop.

It feels like PlayStation Productions may feel similarly, but hopefully, its approach is different. A quick run-down of the many adaptations Sony is currently fielding from within its video game library:

Sony Pictures got Uncharted out the door earlier this year and is now enjoying a new home on streaming. It also plans to have a Gran Turismo movie out next year.

The HBO’s Last of Us TV series recently got a blink-and-you ‘ll-miss-it tease at the end of an HBO Max sizzle reel. Twisted Metal has just wrapped filming.

In the last few weeks, news about the God of War, Ghost of Tsushima and Days Gone adaptations have started trickling through. There are even deals for legacy properties like Gravity Rush and Jak & Daxter.

This brings us back to Horizon. Most recently, Netflix’s Horizon: Zero Dawn TV adaptation seems to have found a showrunner in The Umbrella Academy‘s Steve Blackman. That show, as stated, has done quite well for Netflix and has been consistently picked up for more seasons. Will Horizon: Zero Dawn be another one-and-done game adaptation, victim to Netflix’s relentless push for return-on-investment? Probably not, if Sony has anything to say about it.

Of course, we won’t know the staying power Sony’s shows and movies will have until they arrive on their various platforms. But if Sony applies the same Mercedes Benz ‘the best or nothing’ mindset reserved for its games to its film and TV endeavours, they’ll likely stick around for a while. So, could Sony use Horizon to shake Netflix out of its wasteful, impulse-driven content model? Probably not, but it will hopefully provide an interesting case study all the same.

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