Mass Effect Movie Confusingly Not Based on Games

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 3:24 pm,

Mass Effect movie panel at Comic-Con 2011

For movie fans, it’s no secret that the annual San Diego Comic-Con is the place to be but in recent years, we’re seeing a big push from the video games industry as well. How fitting then, that what may be our most anticipated video game movie adaptation also was treated to a little presentation there earlier this summer.

In the first ever Comic-Con panel from Legendary Pictures, Mass Effect was one of four early-in-production high concept films discussed and it was there where fans got their first glimmer of hope that BioWare’s own sci-fi epic could be the property that turns the tide of the video game movie genre.

After waiting hours to get into the room for this panel, very little was actually revealed. Mass Effect game producer Casey Hudson came on stage with screenwriter Mark Protosevich, but there was no official news or media relating to the film. Instead, they spoke of how Legendary was the right home for such a property and that the filmmakers are and will continue to work intimately with BioWare to ensure the film is all it should be.

Fans were happy to hear them acknowledge that video game movies are a problematic genre with a consistent track record of sucky films, and Protosevich was able spread more happiness by saying that his script will be “following and honoring the story” of the series. According to a FAQ posted by Legendary however, that might not be the case.

In an August-dated posting on the official Legendary Pictures site, one that some outlets are claiming just showed up, some Twitter questions that were supposed to be asked during the presentation were missed due to timing so they’ve been posted online.

Q: Will it just be an adaptation of the first game, second game, or a completely new story?
A: It will be a completely new story

Q: How are you going to address the element of ‘choice’ that the players have in the game?
A: A movie narrative is different than gameplay. There won’t be a choice aspect to this film, just a normal film narrative.

Q: Will it be a trilogy?
A: We are really focused on making this a great movie, so we’ll see where it takes us. We have to get the first one right to know whether there will be more.

Q: Will Seth Green portray Joker (that character he voiced in the game?)
A: No.

Q: Will the movie be focused on Sheppard?
A: Yes.

Q: If the movie is focused on Sheppard, will it be the male Sheppard or the female Sheppard?
A: Male.

Q: Can you give any hints to potential casting?
A: No. Stay tuned.

Q: Will BioWare allow plot / character changes?
A: Yes, we are working closely with BioWare on the development of this project.

Q: Would you consider Daft Punk to do the soundtrack?
A: We love Daft Punk, but it’s too early to say who will produce the soundtrack.

Fans will not be happy to see Seth Green dismissed right off the bat since he voices the character of Joker in the games and would actually be able to pull him off in the film(s). It sounds like they will be aiming for an actor like the default Shepard character, but whether or not they go for visual likeness is another question entirely since the game lets players customize their appearance.

Mass Effect Movie News

These questions are strange for two reasons:

  1. They go against what the screenwriter told us at the actual panel in that the story will be completely new.
  2. They spelled Commander Shepard’s last name incorrectly at every instance.

With a completely new story, that means the events of the games and potentially the characters everyone loves may not be featured, or they’ll be altered. This is the problem most adaptations have trouble balancing because what made the series so special are those stories and relationships – if changed or abandoned, in some ways the movie may be destined to fail, at least for some fans  hoping for a faithful adaptation of the Mass Effect trilogy.

Should the Mass Effect movie follow the games or is it okay if they tell something original, so long as it is good and true to the core of the series?

Mass Effect 3 will be released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Legendary

TAGS: BioWare, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Movies, SDCC 2011

  • Roger W.

    It would be neat if they did a movie about Shepard in The Blitz (That is if his background is War Hero rather the Sole Survivor or Ruthless.)

  • Patrick

    I hope it isn’t another Spirits within.

    • Shoggoth

      I was about to say, “It worked for Final Fantasy… oh wait…”

  • Britt

    I’m always scared for film adaptations of video games…

  • Katrina

    Mark is one of the best screenwriters of all time, however will he be able to pull this off?

  • Dwayne Holder

    I don’t mind it having it’s own story. In fact I prefer it. No need to retell the same story we already know in a different format.

  • Bio

    If it’s a new story it has to be a prequel (1 of the three background storys you can pick when creating your Shep)… or a trilogy after the reaper invasion and when it comes to Joker. He Better not be in it at all then. Same thing goes with Garrus if there not going let Brandon keener play him.

  • triggerhappy

    Shepard may be the main character but the universe is the real star. The games are movies themselves in a way. I’m glad they are doing a new story/prequel.

  • XxStoicMonkeyxX

    i swear to god if the put joker in this and keep out seth green ill murder someone. He is perfect for him! i mean he was designed after him lol

  • nightraven

    I think that the movie should be about the 1st game, so that the non-gaming community can see how awesome Mass Effect series really is, so I hope the info on the Legendary website isn’t final.

  • Stinson316

    Why the hell bother spending the money on rights for the tie in to a franchise like Mass Effect if you don’t intend on actually using anything but the title and one character name? You make me sad daily Hollywood.

  • Ops31337

    somewhere Uwe Bol weeps at not being allowed to ruin this adaption

  • Zeta


    Don’t really care what they do now that they’ve said they’re doing an all new story with shepard.

    That’s the problem with these horrible movie adaptations,they screw around with the story so much you hardly recognize what ip is was based off.

    another problem for me is mass effect is a create your own avatar/shepard game,you customize the mc to your liking and I’m just not going to accept any other version than my own…just like the mentioned Saints row movie i hear mentioned of from time to time,not gonna accept it.

    they have a huge universe in mass effect to work with,why not explore first contact with garrus’s race or saren and….that dude…african guy who is your commander is ME1,explore their first meeting and his attempt to become the first human specter…there are many other stories they could tell without shepard…

  • datdude

    I don’t have a problem with them deciding to make the movie a stand alone story as it’s impossible to condense a 40 hour game story into a two hour movie and have it accurately represent the spirit of the game. But I am concerned that they can’t even spell shepard’s name correctly. That concerns me tremendously.

  • Planeswalker

    As a huge Mass Effect fan,I sincerely hope this project falls through and it never happens just like the Halo and Gears of Wars ideas. If this movie is made it will likely fail immensely, and the only way it could work with already made characters is to get the same voice actors, especially for people such as Commander Sheppard, Garrus, Tali, Joker, Liara and so on.

  • Volc19

    >Confusingly not based on ganes

    …wasn’t it obvious that it wouldn’t be game-centric? Who would buy a movie rehash of such a cinematic game? What purpose would a game-movie serve? My bet is, since Shep is still the focus, this might be about the Blitz, or Akuze, or maybe the Reds. One or all of the backstories, depending on how they want to do it.