Former Mass Effect lead writer would be 'happy to consult' on the Amazon series

Zaeed Massani, the coolest man in space
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

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."

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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.

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Composer Sam Hulick, who contributed to the soundtracks of all three games in the original trilogy, threw his hat into the ring as well.

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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.

Thanks, Eurogamer.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.