As Sega looks to turn more of its videogames into other forms of entertainment, it has hired former Break Media executive Evan Cholfin to lead those efforts.
Cholfin now serves as head of development and production at Tokyo-based Stories International, a joint venture of Japanese gamemaker Sega and Hakuhodo DY Group (the world’s seventh-largest advertising agency) that was launched to produce films, TV shows and entertainment for digital platforms in 2011.
Of the vast library of titles that Stories has the rights to adapt, it’s moving forward with “Altered Beast,” “Streets of Rage,” “Shinobi,” “Rise of Nightmares” and “Crazy Taxi” first as English-language live action and animated spinoffs. “Virtua Fighter” and “Golden Axe” also are part of the portfolio of properties.
Cholfin, who will work closely with Stories president and CEO Tomoya Suzuki, based in Culver City, Calif., also will serve as Stories’ U.S.-based commercial and branded entertainment arm, connecting directors with Hakuhodo DY Group’s brand clients to create content for Asia and other markets.
At Break Media, Cholfin was director of entertainment development, where he produced and oversaw film, TV and digital content, including thriller “Higher Power,” produced with Lorenzo di Bonaventura. He also produced commercials and branded content for marketers while at the company.
Break Media merged with Alloy Digital in 2013 to form Defy Media and produce content targeting 12- to 34-year-olds.
Cholfin’s resume also includes having worked in development for Steven Zaillian, David Fincher and CAA.
In addition to expanding Stories with Cholfin’s hire, Sega also has completed a minority investment in All Nippon Entertainment Works through a stock deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal with ANEW, run by Sanford Climan, is expected to help Stories bolster its entertainment efforts in Hollywood by gaining access to 20 Japanese rights holders who own films, TV shows, books, toys and manga titles.
The move into filmmaking is seen as a way for Stories to build an inhouse commercial and literary management division, with a venture modeled after the likes of Anonymous Content and RSA Films, Suzuki said.
“With his impeccable taste and experience developing and producing entertainment in nearly every format imaginable, Evan is the unique executive to revitalize and canonize our partners’ brands by working with Hollywood to create stories that will last for centuries,” Suzuki said.
Sega isn’t alone in wanting to take creative control of how its games are adapted for other platforms.
After seeing mostly failed results as its games have been adapted for the bigscreen, Electronic Arts developed “Need for Speed” through its own film division, while Ubisoft has its own inhouse arm adapting tentpole titles like “Assassin’s Creed,” “Splinter Cell” and “Watch Dogs” into movies.