Mass Effect Writer Says TV is Better Suited for Game Adaptations
Writing is pivotal to creating a world people want to explore, from games like Dungeons and Dragons to worlds like the original Fallout and even Mass Effect. These expansive narratives have begun spilling over into the world of film and television as of late, as both Hollywood and Netflix are creating adaptations of them. However, if anyone has something to say about the state of adaptions, it’s the director of one of the largest universes in gaming, Mass Effect.
It’s Not a Matter of if, but When
Mass Effect is a fantastic series, spanning three games and a spinoff of sorts that continues the world’s expanse. The game is known for not only its interesting gameplay and characters, but its lore, and how those characters fall into the places written by the main story campaign. And with the ever-increasing world of gaming adaptions, Mass Effect is going to get in the crosshairs of some media companies sooner or later. However, if the director of Mass Effect’s Legendary Edition has any say in the matter, the prospect of putting Mass Effect on tv as a show would be a better option.
“Not a matter of if, but when” Hollywood takes a crack at “Mass Effect,” Mac Walters, director of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, said when interviewed by Business Insider. “It’s such an expansive world, and so many people I know in the TV and film industry have reached out to ask me when we’re going to do it and saying we’ve got to do it”
This boost in companies getting their hands on the game series appears less about making the franchise’s adaptations quality, and more about collecting the IPs to boost sales. This can be seen with the acquisitions of IPs from major media companies, with HBO taking on a Last of Us series, Amazon taking the rights to Fallout, Paramount acquiring the rights to Halo, and Netflix scooping up The Witcher, Resident Evil, Castlevania, Cuphead, and Assassin’s Creed.
Each of these companies holds its own streaming service, and what better way to get players interested in what the company has to offer than providing a series that they know players are going to tune in, making it the choice of the player what to watch when the time comes. However, one can only hope that each of the companies who’ve taken the rights to their favorite titles will treat them with enough respect to make a quality show that sits next to the game regarding the writing and the story. “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.”
Game Series Better Suited for TV
Mac Walters proposes that taking on adaptions of gaming series would be better suited for TV, while something like Tomb Raider might fit the bill better in theaters, and also mentions how both the game and the world fit the writing of television better for Mass Effect.
“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,” Walters 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.’ So long-form storytelling is a great place for game franchises.”
Considering that the world of Mass Effect has similarities to the world developed by shows like Star Trek, it would be perfect for a tv show. Whether that’s retelling the story of Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy, or telling an entirely new story like the events of Andromeda, there are plenty of narratives to explore from the franchise. In addition, the fact that the game is an open-world title, allowing the player to take on missions in whatever order they want, even avoiding the main quest all together to forge their own path, so countless new stories could be created and still fit into the narrative.
Whether or not a philosophy like that will be applied to upcoming shows like Amazon’s Fallout, is up for debate. For now, players will have to wait and see if it can be done, however, for those who are itching to play through the adventures of Commander Shepard, players can enjoy all three Mass Effect titles in the Legendary Edition.