Amazon Prime reportedly 'nearing a deal' on a Mass Effect adaptation

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The Wheel of Time series, which debuted on November 19, has apparently been a success for Amazon Prime. That's why, Deadline reports, Amazon Studios is doubling down on adaptations—among them, a potential Mass Effect TV show. "Amazon Studios is nearing a deal to develop a series based on the best-selling sci-fi video game franchise from Electronic Arts", as Deadline puts it.

Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said the Lord of the Rings prequel series debuting on Amazon Prime next September (which is confusingly not allowed to reference The Silmarillion, the Lord of the Rings prequel that already exists) is part of the same commitment to adaptations. "We know our global audience is hungry for elevated fantasy and shows based on beloved IP", she said.

"You will see us continuing to invest in fantasy genre of all kinds, we have a genre-focused team on the ground in Studios who work tirelessly with our creative partners on those slates, and you can look forward to more," according to Salke.

Mass Effect would probably be more suited to an ongoing series than a movie adaptation, like the one that was planned and then abandoned after Legendary Pictures picked up the rights back in 2010. Explaining why the movie never did get made, BioWare's Mac Walters said, "If you're going to tell a story that's as fleshed out as 'Mass Effect,' TV is the way to do it. There's a natural way it fits well with episodic content." 

The games have a fair bit of Star Trek and Babylon 5 in their DNA, and Walters said that writing Mass Effect was a lot like writing TV. "When we build out a 'Mass Effect' game, we have a backbone, or an overall story that we want to tell, but each level or mission is like its own TV episode," he said. "It doesn't get written ahead of time. It gets written at the time that we get to it. So it gets added to the main story and sometimes the main story gets adjusted because we did something really cool in that 'episode.'"

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.