Former BioWare lead writer, David Gaider, has posted a rather lengthy Twitter thread in which he says that the idea of a potential Amazon-backed Mass Effect television show makes him "cringe".
The ex-Bioware scribe took to social media to talk about how some games just aren't really suited to the TV treatment, giving specific examples of how both Mass Effect and Dragon Age are problematic in this regard.
"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. Boom, right off the bat you've just alienated a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up."
Gaider went on to explain how protagonists in these games are designed around the idea of giving players authority to mould them in order to feel more involved in the adventure:
"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."
He spoke about how Mass Effect's plot was really only serviceable in the end, and it had to be as it was designed to incorporate player agency, acting as a basic shell upon which gamers could invest themselves emotionally through interactions with side characters and the choices that they made as they went along. All this stuff, all of this minutiae, is lost in the TV setting, says Gaider, and that could potentially be problematic.
"Take all that out, lose most of the companions, and you potentially end up with... a pretty run-of-the-mill fantasy or science-fiction show, one where a lot of the built-in audience has possibly been turned into outraged, howling malcontents before it's even released."
It's easy to see where Gaider is coming from, and it's not like many video game adaptations have worked out very well because, let's face it, most of the enjoyment you get from a game doesn't carry over to a medium where you lose your ability to control and manipulate events, but we're still kinda looking forward to checking out a potential Mass Effect TV show, even if it's just out of morbid curiosity as to how bad they can actually mess it up.
Are you down for a Mass Effect TV show? Think Shepard and his pals can cut it on the small screen? Let us know in the comments.
Hot take: Mass Effect should have been a TV show all along. It has a brilliant story sullied by boring corridor shooter gameplay. It's not that the gameplay aged poorly, it was already below average back in the naughties, when Gears of War did it much better.
Yeah most works deserve to just be in their intended medium. When they eventually move to another medium, what made them special is a few to a lot of years off and the rest of culture has caught up. Sci Fi and Comic Books come to mind. But if someone came up to me with a few million for the rights to my work (I'm open for sale) I'd cash that check as fast as possible.
I think if they do it as a TV show, they have to work it in the same way as the books and work on the surrounding characters and not follow the Shepard story. Then and only the. Would it have any chance of working.
Well Arcane has been pretty successful and people are anticipating the Last of Us to be successful. Its always a possibility it turns out to be good.
It could be alright. Provided Shepard is female, gets off with Liara but dumps her for Specialist Traynor, then picks the ‘destroy’ ending and survives it. Yeah, I see his point.
It is about who does it and with what Vision and budget (this being more important when it is a fantasy or sci-fi thing). Many game adaptations need astronomical budget and truly A-list talent (in directing and writing especially) to work. In movies, So far I think only Assassins Creed and PoP movies have had decent talent involved and made something watchable (though I believe AC gets more hate than it deserves). And in series realm Witcher is good enough. Not perfect but still cool and enjoyable. There is some good talent behind LoU and here is hoping Halo series is a success. Though with it launching on the least-known streaming service in the world doesn't really help its chances.
@Magabro You need to play these games on the harder difficulties because they are NOTHING like Gears of War! You'll need to carefully position your squadmates around the environment, use your powers and abilities at the right time on the right enemy, and carefully prioritize your targets. Also, like David Gaider in the article said, the choices really make the game special, and it really is just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi universe without them. I'm definitely gonna have to respectfully disagree with you there.
@stinkyx I did. I've beaten both ME 1 & ME 2 in insanity difficulty. I haven't beaten ME 3 at all, because as you certainly can tell by now, I did not really fall in love with this franchise.
I know most people like it, more power for them, but it's not for me sadly. I think it has a good story and setting, though, it could be a great show if adapted properly.
@Magabro Nice, that's quite a feat if you did it without really making use of the tactical pause and micromanaging your squadmates. Made it feel closer to Dragon Age than Gears. But anyway, yeah...at this point in my life, I like the story of Gears better than Mass Effect, so I'd say you're not missing anything. For one thing, Gears doesn't abandon ship when one of its games does bad (i.e. Mass Effect Andromeda isnt getting a sequel, lol, so the TONS of time I spent absorbing the lore and story just got trashed, lol). I'm actually really loving the Gears story and would rather see a movie in that universe.
This guy makes me cringe — how about that? What’s the difference between Male and Female Shepard besides a better VO and different romance options?
The literally say and do the exact same things. They are skins.
And let’s be honest, it’s not like choices mattered much in the end that fans would care about “canonical” choices. Or, if you wanted to be really interesting — have two shows, a Paragon and Renegade version.
I loved Mass Effect but it’s not so good it can’t be a TV show easily. They can mine for resources while the credits run...
... maybe they can mine Gaider’s ass and look for his his head.
It'd be cool of Commander Shepherd swapped the same two actors every episode but kept the rest of the team as staple actors
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