It was revealed earlier this week that Amazon Studios is "nearing a deal" to make a new series based on EA's Mass Effect games. No details beyond that "maybe it's happening" report have been shared as of yet, but the mere possibility of its existence was enough to grab the attention of a few former developers.
Interestingly, one of the first to react was longtime BioWare writer David Gaider, the lead writer on the Dragon Age series, who said the prospect of the show makes him "cringe just a little."
"For starters, ME and DA have a custom protagonist. Meaning said TV show will need to pick whether said protagonist will be male or female," Gaider explained. "Boom, right off the bat you've just alienated a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up."
"Secondly, those protagonists are designed to be a bit of a blank slate, one that the player fills out with their decisions. That's not going to work for a passive medium. So, suddenly, the protagonist will have their own personality... and their own *story*. That will be weird."
Gaider made the rather interesting point that Shepard is actually "pretty boring" on their own, and that the bulk of Mass Effect's "emotional engagement" is actually drawn through companions. But there's no way to include them all equally, even in the more open and accessible medium of a television show, which means that fans of some characters—such as, say, Zaeed Massani, the coolest man in space—are bound to be disappointed. And even with more supporting characters getting screen time, the show will have to focus on just a few of them—as the games do—in order to "maintain coherence."
At some level, this TV series needs to answer the question "what IS Mass Effect?" ...and that means making something that is *recognizeably* Mass Effect. It means retreading ground in a way that fans don't need, and will likely react poorly to.Maybe. I guess we'll see.November 25, 2021
Rather than trying to adapt the games directly, Gaider said the better option is to do a separate, new story in the Mass Effect setting. He also later clarified that he didn't mean to suggest that he hates the idea of a Mass Effect series, "just that it faces some big challenges."
A couple of other former developers were more upbeat about the show's prospects, however. Drew Karpyshyn, the lead writer on the first two Mass Effect games and author of three Mass Effect novels, said on Twitter that he's not involved in the project, but would very much like to be: "Happy to consult if they want my input," he wrote.
I’m not involved, but I’m looking forward to it! Happy to consult if they want my input.😉 https://t.co/1NpqetYm5WNovember 24, 2021
Composer Sam Hulick, who contributed to the soundtracks of all three games in the original trilogy, threw his hat into the ring as well.
Hmmmm. I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring on this one. https://t.co/6qP2FwzIIyNovember 24, 2021
I think Gaider's points are valid, although producers may be gun-shy about straying too far from the original trilogy after the wipeout of Mass Effect: Andromeda. But interest in the series is clearly still strong, and it's possible that the new Mass Effect game in development at BioWare could open doors to more and better tie-in storytelling options than Shepard's concluded saga.
And if Henry Cavill is actually involved? You can consider us very interested in that.