Mass Effect Movie Confusingly Not Based on Games

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

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