Plenty of questions arose when we first got word that BioWare was intent on expanding the Mass Effect universe through anime. Even more when trying to grasp why the animated film, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost would be centering around James Vega, a character introduced in Mass Effect 3.
Now that the first trailer and details on the project have been released at SDCC 2012, the direction and possible quality of the film are much clearer.
As a joint venture between BioWare and Production I.G., the creators of the series have gone to the right people, with the Japanese anime firm most well-known for Ghost in the Shell. Whether that kind of quality can be reproduced around a character as hot-or-cold among fans as James Vega remains to be seen, but the plot will hopefully add to the struggle against the Collectors showcased in Mass Effect 2.
With the trailer comes a brief plot synopsis, hinting at events within the Mass Effect universe that fans were previously oblivious to. Apparently, Vega was keeping plenty of secrets in ME3:
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is the prequel to the highly-anticipated Mass Effect 3 and follows the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega. Vega leads an elite Special Forces squad into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his soldiers must protect the civilians from a ruthless invasion determined to capture the population for unknown purposes. Learn more about the Mass Effect universe with an unprecedented glimpse into the haunted past of Mass Effect’s newest hero!
We’ll forgive the somewhat corny ‘Paragon Lost’ title, since the character at its core never really broke out of the strong, silent soldier mold during the course of the campaign. Vega had alluded to some particularly trying life-or-death scenarios with his previous unit, which the new prequel looks to provide more insight on. Obviously fans would be happier to hear that an anime film was being created around a more beloved character, like Garrus or Tali, but the control players have had over the fates of those characters makes that proposition somewhat tricky.
Since Vega was one of the more straightforward, less-nuanced members of Shepard’s team in ME3Â - despite being played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. – more time delving into his backstory could be a good thing, provided the story is strong enough to stand on its own.It might be tempting to take a few shots at BioWare for having more story to tell than what was included in ME3‘s campaign, but it’s never too late to add to the fiction.
With the new Leviathan DLC telling a new chapter in the Reaper story line, fans of the extended Mass Effect fiction have plenty to look forward to over the next few months. What’s the initial reaction to the film’s trailer? Does the past work of the studio behind it instill optimism, or would a live-action film have been a better idea?
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost will be released on November 13, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.