Gaming company Sega and ad agency Hakuhodo DY Group have turned the focus of their joint venture Stories International towards developing films and TV series based on Sega’s intellectual properties. Among the 40 franchises licensed to Stories is 1989 side-scroller Altered Beast, which featured a playable werewolf character and the worst villain name I’ve ever heard.
Altered Beast was the first Sega Genesis game I ever played, and while it certainly wasn’t as fun as its creator’s subsequent work, it had one major thing going for it: you could play as a werewolf (or a were-dragon or a were-bear, among others) and kick the ass of a “Demon God” called “Neff”, a name that after 25 years still has the power to make me want to punch stuff.
According to their press release, Stories is “looking to partner with the major studios, A-list producers and filmmakers” to adapt properties such as Shinobi, Golden Axe, Streets Of Rage, Virtua Fighter and Crazy Taxi into “English-language feature films, television and digital series”. To this end they’ve hired Evan J. Cholfin as Head of Development and Production. Cholfin’s production background is based heavily on commercials and digital content, and his previous position was at Break Media, which is (somewhat worryingly) “the single largest creator and distributor of male-targeted content online”.
I was a Sega fan in the 90’s, but in my opinion their recent game output has oscillated between “uninteresting” and “actual trash”. This latest move shows they’re willing to do something with their IP, but time will tell whether any of it rises above a cash-grab couched in 90’s nostalgia.