Sega’s gracing our news pages a fair bit today. Firstly for being the subject of unfair labour practice allegations by its unionised workers, and now for, ah, talking up the possibility of films based on the Persona and Yakuza series. A bit of an awkward transition, but you play the hand you’re dealt.
Chief operating officer Shuji Utsumi mentioned the company’s transmedia ambitions in a recent chat with CNBC, saying that the phenomenal success of the Sonic the Hedgehog films had got Sega thinking about its other hot properties and what could be done with them.
“We have other IPs [besides Sonic],” Utsumi said, drawing particular attention to Persona and Yakuza as series that could be adapted. “We are trying to be in a lot of different categories… all these IPs can be somewhere else other than games soon.”
For Utsumi, “Somewhere else other than games” means movies, yes, a possibility which Sega has suggested for the Persona series before, but it doesn’t stop there. In a turn of phrase that makes me feel positively neolithic, Utusmi suggested the god-killing teen hijinks of Persona and the chirpy ultraviolence of Yakuza could also be brought somewhere “like Roblox,” the free-to-play game platform played by millions every day.
Utsumi could probably have picked a better time to bring Roblox up—it was most recently in the news for a class-action lawsuit brought against it by parents concerned about sexual content and grooming—but it’s an indication of both how far-ranging Sega’s media ambitions are for its most popular franchises. It’s also an indication of just how gargantuan Roblox has become: so large that it’s not really a competitor for Sega but another kind of media alongside film and television.
So brace yourself to see Joker and Kiryu on the big screen and on the mobile phones of any children in your life. Perhaps other Sega stuff will make its way there too. Although Utsumi only mentioned Persona and Yakuza by name, he did let slip that Sega is “thinking of reviving other classical IPs too.” Finally, Alex Kidd will get the silver screen treatment he deserves.