The man who helped found Ubisoft’s feature film production arm five years ago is heading up a new studio to adapt video games for the big screen.
Jean-Julien Baronnet, who served as CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures for five years before departing the company in April, is opening a new company called Marla Studios and aims to focus on video game adaptations. (Baronnet was replaced at Ubisoft by Gerard Guillemot, one of the co-founders of Ubisoft.)
While Baronnet was at Ubisoft Motion Pictures, he oversaw development and production on the studio’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell films. He now explains to Variety that the act of adapting video games to film requires specialized knowledge of film production, game development, and audience expectations, and that close partnership with game developers is necessary to make that formula work.
“The key is to have a close relationship with the game designers and to work with them on the key creative angles that will best cope with the game’s DNA,” Baronnet says.
The ex-Ubisoft exec’s pitch to Variety is extremely heavy on involving video game companies in the production process, and focusing on contracts that will “give the game company a strong creative control and high pay back…and [implement] a deep collaborative process with the key creative people at the video game company at each stage of production.”
Baronnet tells Variety he’s already in talks with several unnamed video game companies, and hopes to begin development by next year.