Leading board game publisher Asmodée has announced a new entertainment division that will develop movies, TV shows, and more. The French gaming giant has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, growing its already-impressive catalog of board/card games and video games based on them. Their products range from family-friendly to high-end strategic games, and they're known for creating their own products like Dungeon Twister.
However, Asmodée has acquired the rights to plenty of popular board games produced by other board game companies over the years, most notably Mayfair Games, which had previously sold the English publishing rights to The Settlers of Catan to Asmodée. The long-awaited Catan movie based on the iconic German board game remains in development. And now, it appears that the production will fall under the Asmodée Entertainment umbrella.
Asmodée announced its new entertainment division in a recent press release. The new branch will take advantage of Asmodée's vast game library and intellectual property to create "feature films, TV series, comics and graphic novels" based on its products. At the center of their ambitious new content plan, presumably, is the Catan movie, which is in development at Sony Pictures.
One of the strongest indications that Catan is at the forefront of Asmodée Entertainment's plans is the appointment of Sony Pictures exec Darren Kyman as senior vice president of business development. He'll work closely with the new head of Asmodée Entertainment, veteran game designer Andy Jones, to develop new content and licensing opportunities, plus "location-based entertainment." Asmodée has made other recent acquisitions that have a chance to be leveraged as part of Asmodée Entertainment. They include Days of Wonder, known for the award-winning railroad-based board game Ticket to Ride, and the English-language distribution rights to popular board games like Repos Production's 7 Wonders, among many other titles.
Asmodée's ever-growing portfolio is about to explode with its plans for the new Asmodée Entertainment division. The company is capitalizing on the global popularity of a wide array of advanced board games in a virtually unprecedented way, with the publishing rights to Catan likely on the front line of their ambitions.
Movies and TV shows based on board games is a largely uncharted territory, but it's something that Hollywood is looking to break into, particularly with projects such as Catan and Dungeons & Dragons. One of the big challenges ahead for Jones and Kyman will be to determine which properties are worth developing for the big screen, and the games that would have rich enough of a story to flesh out for episodic TV or books. Perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome for the coming wave of board game adaptations is to avoid the same pitfalls that have plagued video game adaptations forever. But either way, this news almost certainly means that Catan is about to ramp up production, with the potential for many more board game-inspired entertainment on the way.