No Man’s Land: Total Recall — An Interview With Sony Pictures Entertainment

by NorseGamer, HSM Editor-in-Chief

If there’s one major lesson the internet age has taught us, it’s that consumers want to be deeply immersed in the IPs that entertain them. If you read a fantastic book, you want to see a fantastic movie based on it; then you want to play video games which allow you to be an active participant in it. And then you want to share that experience with your friends.

This is particularly true with the science-fiction, fantasy, action and adventure genres. They appeal to that most coveted demographic of young adult males, and inherently lend themselves to other forms of entertainment – such as video games – which can generate even greater revenue.

A perfect example of this is the new version of Total Recall, and its introduction to Sony PlayStation Home via the third-person shooter game from VEEMEE, No Man’s Land. While Home has offered major Hollywood tie-ins before – most recently, with Men In Black III – this is the first time that Home has ever offered a deep, player-versus-player game placed inside one of the key settings from a movie. We chatted with Sony Pictures to find out more about this.

HSM: Total Recall, of course, is a major A-list movie. What strategic benefit(s) does it serve to Sony Pictures to allow VEEMEE to recreate it in PlayStation Home?

SPE: Total Recall is a sci-fi action movie, a genre that translates naturally in the interactive environment.  We saw the partnership as a great way to reach the all important gamer audience which is close to the key demographic of the film itself.

Q: Take us through the development timeline. Which party initially proposed this idea, and how involved was Sony Pictures with the evolution of the game level in PlayStation Home?

A:  We started speaking with SCEE on how we could work together to develop a downloadable game for PSN.  As it happened, they were working with VEEMEE on NML.  Once we heard about the game, we collectively felt that the NML type of game play was perfectly suited for what felt was right for a film based game.

Q: Describe the process of working with the team at VEEMEE.

A: We wanted the game to be as close to the films look and feel as possible.  In order to ensure this, assets and direction were provided to VEEMEE.  VEEMEE understood the importance of staying true to the brand, and that is apparent when playing the Total Recall game.

Q: Owing to the greater synergy between mediums, are certain films like Total Recall consciously structured in such a way to better facilitate a gaming tie-in? Although the dramaturgical rules for proper storytelling govern how a film must unfold, was the film designed with gaming cross-pollination in mind? And, if not, what was the creative process to determine which aspects of the film, such as the setting, would be adapted for Sony virtual reality gaming?

A: The main goal of IP based video games is to extend the experience of the film into the users’ home.  When deciding upon what setting the game would take place in, we wanted to be sure people would feel immersed in the battle that was ensuing, that they were fighting in the Total Recall world themselves.   New Asia provides a very exciting scenario; it is set in the future with new technologies and plenty of opportunities for interactivity.

Q: Assuming that the Total Recall experience in PlayStation Home is financially successful – which seems very likely – is it safe to assume that Sony Pictures will continue to explore further such high-profile promotions inside PlayStation Home?

A:  Yes, we see this as a viable way to market our films along with reach gamers.  It also is a benefit to Sony overall; two areas of the company can come together to create something successful.

Q: Along similar lines, does Sony Pictures see video gaming as a useful tool for preview PR – namely, releasing game content which introduces audience members to the movie’s settings in an interactive way – prior to the film’s actual release?

A:  We see this as an extremely useful tool to help get the message out about a certain film.  Games are not only a fun way to introduce a films story and brand, but they are an important marketing tool that provide exposure and keep audience members involved.  Launching game content prior to the theatrical release gives users a taste of what is to come. 

Q: Looking at how faithfully VEEMEE has replicated the Total Recall world in PlayStation Home, what are the key impressions which Sony Pictures wants Sony gamers to take away from their time exploring Total Recall in No Man’s Land?

A: Total Recall is a futuristic world of unknown.  What is Real?  What is Rekall?  It is up to the user to decide who they are; whether it is a soldier for the Federation, an undercover spy, or a resistance member fighting for what they believe is right in their day and age.  We want users to have fun partaking in the thrill and action that the Total Recall film provides for audiences around the world.

No Man’s Land – Total Recall is scheduled to release on PlayStation Home in SCEE and SCEA regions on Wednesday, August 8th. HomeStation Magazine would like to thank Sony Pictures Entertainment for this exclusive interview, as well as the team at VEEMEE for all their support in developing this story.

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