Way back in September of 2008, Avi Arad, ex-CEO of Marvel studios, optioned the movie rights to the 2007 hit game Mass Effect. Being one of my all-time favorite games, I was both happy and concerned.
Mass Effect told a wonderful story, in a brand new and original sci-fi universe with lovable and well thought-out characters. The way the game was presented, notably during conversations and cutscenes, was very cinematic with a clear emphasis on showcasing the beautifully rendered graphics and character animations as if it were a film.
This would definitely make for one amazing film franchise, except for the fact that all video game movies suck. Legendary Pictures looks to change that by optioning the rights to EA and BioWare’s Mass Effect, with Warner Bros. set to distribute the film. They’re already looking at a writer to pen the script.
As I always say, video games based on movies suck and movies based on video games suck. Why? Money doesn’t seem to be an issue so in the case of movies based on video games it must come down to those in creative control. In nearly every instance of someone adapting a video game into a feature film, they (for whatever unknown reason) continue to miss the absolute key ingredients in what made the game successful. Sometimes they abandon or completely change key parts of the story or characters, sometimes they change action sequences for the worse and sometimes they don’t seem to understand what people liked about the games.
In Max Payne they told a dumbed-down story and removed the trademark bullet time action sequences; in Doom they abandoned the setting and took out the villains which made the Doom video games what they were and in the upcoming Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, they’ve seemingly paid little attention to the parkour and cool swordfights which made up the fun gameplay.
There’s a lot of hope that Prince of Persia may turn the tide against this depressing and unnecessary trend in the industry but from what I’ve seen so far, this likely isn’t the case.
I have high hopes for what could be the Mass Effect movie but only if they respect the source material. There’s been plenty of interest in putting the Mass Effect movie into production, especially since the success and critical acclaim surrounding the release of Mass Effect 2 earlier this year, and the folks at Legendary understand the potential of the property.
Here’s what Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures has to say:
“Mass Effect is a tremendous property ripe for translation to the big screen. Mass Effect is a prime example of the kind of source material we at Legendary like to develop; it has depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story. This coupled with Avi and Ari producing and the skills of a great team adapting the screenplay, are the start of turning this smash videogame based property into a successful feature film.”
Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor) is currently in talks to pen the screenplay for the Mass Effect film. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing alongside Ari Arad with BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk acting as executive producers. Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson will also exec produce.
Are you excited for a Mass Effect film franchise? Can they do it justice?
While we’re on the topic, join our discussion on who should play Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect movie. I’ve always been a proponent of Matthew Fox having the part, and with Lost coming to an end yesterday, what better timing.