'Mission Impossible' company moves into 'interactive series' for 'emerging streaming platforms'

A promotional image for 'Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception,' whose Creative Director was Amy Hennig

Skydance Media has hired Amy Hennig of video game franchise "Uncharted" and her colleague, Julian Beak, to set up a new division focused on "new story-focused experiences crafted as an interactive series" after Bandersnatch's success and as "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" launches.

Having received a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards in March, video game writer and director Amy Hennig is joining Skydance Media to establish a new division oriented around interactive series for streaming services.

The project is "designed to reach gamers and non-gamers alike on emerging streaming platforms," explains a Skydance announcement, with "new story-focused experiences crafted as an interactive series," phrasing that recalls the impact of Netflix's December 2018 "Black Mirror" special, Bandersnatch.

One possible difference is that the new project will "employ state-of-the-art computer graphics to provide the visual fidelity of television and film."

That could suggest the sort of motion capture performances common to visually impressive video game franchises such as those in the "Uncharted" and "Last of Us" series, as well as the "Red Dead Redemption," "Assassin's Creed" and "Dark Souls" games.

Similarly, Skydance's project will result in "an active, lean-in experience that puts the audience in the driver's seat," further blurring traditional distinctions between video game entertainment and TV and film.

Skydance Media's CEO, David Ellison, heralded the appointment as a drive to "create within this new sphere the same type of event-level entertainment experiences that Skydance is known for in features and television."

The production company has been a key partner on recent entries to action-oriented movie franchises "Mission: Impossible," "Terminator" and "Star Trek."

It also oversees the "Jack Ryan" series for Amazon, "Altered Carbon" for Netflix, Apple's upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" saga, and an in-production, live-action version of "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir."

Hennig has become best known for her work as director and writer on the first three "Uncharted" games for Sony PlayStation, story-led treasure-hunting adventures which blended high-fidelity graphics with cinematic set piece spectacle.

She later joined Electronic Arts studio Visceral Games and worked with fellow Skydance recruit Julian Beak on a "Star Wars" title codenamed Ragtag.

Ragtag was cancelled as part of a wider studio closure in 2017, but just this week EA has published another single-player, story-driven experience influenced by elements from the "Uncharted" games, "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order."

The new release is expected to benefit from the double boost of heightened commercial activity over the holiday season and proximity to a new "Star Wars" film, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," which arrives in December.