Don’t Worry, The ‘Mass Effect’ Movie Is Still Based on The Game

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Mass Effect Movie News Dont Worry, The Mass Effect Movie Is Still Based on The Game

It’s an exciting time for movie buffs who also happen to be gamers. Yes, the vast majority of video game adaptations have not been great, but the tide is about to turn and what we know as a film genre full of disappointments will soon become the home to a plethora of blockbuster franchises based on high profile, story-driven video games that developers are aiming to protect.

Standing alongside highly anticipated in-development movies based on the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted and others is of course, Mass Effect. The story, characters and cinimatic style of the Mass Effect games themselves had us sold, but then came the Legendary Pictures panel at this summer’s Comic-Con which promised great things.

I stood in a line for hours to make sure I could be a part of the first ever Legendary Pictures panel presentation at a Comic-Con and while it focused on four high concept films that were only in very early production (so, no footage) it was still exciting. It was here where screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Jurassic Park IV) and Mass Effect game producer Casey Hudson took to the stage.

Protosevich and Hudson didn’t have nitty gritty details on the Mass Effect movie to share so instead, they talked about the collaborative process and how Legendary Pictures is the right home for such a project. They emphasized how closely they were working with game developer BioWare to ensure that Mass Effect gets the big screen treatment it deserves.

The Mass Effect video game series sees its third installment release in March, promising the biggest and most extensive adventure yet to conclude the series and the story arc of protagonist Commander Shepard. Considering each game’s main story runs for dozens of hours, it’s no easy task to adapt, so this raises the question of what story the film will tell.

Protosevich explained that the movie he’s writing would absolutely be “following and honoring story” and that Mass Effect would follow the story of the first game. This was the perfect answer – That’s what fans would love to see.

You can imagine then, the concern and confusion we experienced in September when discovering that the official Legendary Pictures website had posted an August-dated Q&A that contradicted everything we were told in person. The site explained that these were the questions that they didn’t have time to address on stage at Comic-Con in late July. This is what it read (then):

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.

Legendary’s site was now stating – only weeks later – that the movie would not be based on the games and that Seth Green seemingly wouldn’t even be considered to take on the role of Joker, the fan-favorite character he voices in the games. I wrote about this for our sister site, Game Rant, and was confused that they had directly told us the opposite information at their panel. It was also odd that here, on their site, they spelled the protagonist’s name incorrectly at every instance.

That was the last we heard on the project until a few weeks ago when I was given the heads up that the Q&A Legendary posted – still dated as August – had been drastically altered. Let’s take a look:

Q: Will it just be an adaptation of the first game, second game, or a completely new story?
A: It will focus on Commander Shepard’s journey, centering around the story of the original Mass Effect game.

Q: How are you going to address the element of ‘choice’ that the players have in the game?
A: The writer is weaving a path through Shepard’s decisions that best supports the narrative of the movie and the motivations of its characters.

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, the character he voiced in the game?
A: No casting decisions have been made yet.

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

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

Not only is the character’s name right, but the story has changed! Again, the Mass Effect film will tell the story of the first game and won’t be something entirely different under the brand (see: Uncharted movie fail). Also note that Seth Green isn’t written off yet – the “no” was replaced with a more diplomatic answer.

I spoke with Legendary to confirm whether or not there were changes happening with the direction of the film and what was happening with the site. They confirmed that it was simple human error that put up the incorrect answers in the first place and that the film was on track, holding true to what was said at the panel and what the site now says.

This is good news, because the films do not need to (and shouldn’t) make up a new story. The games tell a superior and more emotional story with better characters than most films we’ve seen in recent years and we couldn’t be more excited about potential for a film franchise based on them. It won’t be too long before the casting rumors begin rolling in…

For fans of the games, Mass Effect 3 releases March 6, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Find out more at Game Rant!

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Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

TAGS: mass effect

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  1. Since we’re on the subject of a Mass Effect movie I thought I’d share this. It’s a live-action fantrailer for a movie based on the first Mass Effect game, using footage from existing films.

  2. Forgot to post the link above.

    Here it is:

  3. I can’t wait to see this! I think finding the Prothean Ruins on Mars and the first contact war would be best to start with.

  4. If they had a fem shep as the main character that would ruin it for me. Can not even imagine a female being able to do the things a male shepard could do. Sorry but it’s true the females are weaker and placing a female to save the galaxy is dumb. Maybe she can be on the Normandy, in the kitchen, making sandwiches for male shepard, Garrus, Rex and everyone else to eat once they come back from kicking ass.

    • hahaha

  5. Hey no need for sexism on here look at it this way Rippley from aliens managed to take out the queen and yet she was female though in allot of aspects females are weaker naturally then men but this is not reason for anybody to use that type of obnoxious sexist commentary so be constructive not offensive

    BTW I am male myself and straight with a child and a beautiful girlfriend so before you make assumptions.

  6. I’ll make the assumption your whooped? Just sayin what I think. Guessing other people feel the same. Probably makers of the movie do too. Also ripley was a horrible character in a good movie.

  7. not to mention a brutally strong female like that isn’t that charming. and no one/or reeally few people would like a muscular lady saving the galaxy and acting totally not like a girl..I’d hate to see that no matter how I respect girls, I admit they can do so many stuff..but they aren’t meant to, sometimes.

  8. I have to agree that a movie about the First Contact War sounds a lot better and more promising. There is a lot of room for imagination and growth in the Mass Effect universe besides the story of Shepard. Through the game, the story of Shepard is a highly personalized one and that is something the movie simply cannot do, thereby ruining the experience for many people who don’t see their image of Shepard.

    A movie on the First Contact War is exciting and also leaves the experience of “Mass Effect” intact. And as a bonus a lot more people will not have to hear/read about the rants and ideas of some people and there disgustingly narrow vision of women or why Shepard just “should not” be female.

  9. suggestion for the main character aka Shepard: christian bale (he fits perfectly) or female: milla jovovich (also the perfect cast). Do not cast WWE actor you will ruin the film. I’m not saying that they are not suitable actors but this is something else, special and for something special you need the best actors. other casts: illusive man – gary oldman, chief williams – kate beckinsale, alenko – gerard butler. other cast for male shepard: hugh jackman and surprise i think another cast for female shepard could be – bridget regan. other suggestions? of course the last word comes from the top :)

  10. Maybe the best place to start would be with the Protheans. I would love to see more of how the Prothean civilization dominated the galaxy and their defeat. I know that the ME3 From Ashes DLC covers most of it but there is still so much to see.

  11. I just hope they stick to the games story for mass effect then it will be good and nothing els uthere wise it will be bad film.it should follow mass effect were sheperd becomes a specter and hunts dawn serrien nothing ells then second mass effect should be about collecters and the 3rd about the reepers.that will make a good trilegy.

  12. The problem with adapting mass effect is that even if they remain faithful to the plot it’s still going to piss off the fans as the core story is so rich they will inevitably have to cut major events. If they are going to adapt mass effect 1 then I say split it into 2 with the first part climaxing with Virmire.

  13. Will Garrus be in it?

  14. They could make a TV series. A season per game so three seasons and they would have plenty of side stories to tell along the way. Obviously fans will be annoyed that Shepard didn’t make the same choices as them but I think a TV show would make a better adaptation to the game as there are so many missions and content and characters to be explored. My opinion is that a movie wouldn’t be able to bring all that together in a 2 Hour Timeframe.

  15. I’d be down with a TV show but theirs no need to restrict it to 3 seasons to cover the games. A TV show could have a broader scope perhaps encompassing some of the expanded Universe and bringing new material to the table.

    • Exactly what I thought. A season per game. This way they could cover a lot of details they will skip and also shepard can take different squad members to different locations. They would also be able to do a few mini-series for the first contact war and other side stories but I could definitely see this working.

  16. I don’t think a tv show would be in the best interest. I personally do not know what channel would pick it up except syfy, and I’m not a big fan of syfy. A lot could be put into a movie even if you have to cut some side missions. I believe if you are a true fan then even if he doesn’t make all the decision that we make we will still respect him. That is if Legendary can actually make a story line movie instead of straight up bloodshed for an hour. Also, I agree that a femshep would not be the same as maleshep. I also agree with what was said that a woman who “could” do everything that a male could, that she would be unattractive or very unlady like. I mean woman can do everything men do that is for sure, but when you have a very attractive lady on screen the last thing I want is to see her shooting a gun or out wrestling a guy.

  17. Hey I think Guy Pierce’s role as “Snow” in the film Lockout is an easy favorite to play Shepard. He has the look and the attitude of the spirit of Shepards character. Take a look at some the images from the film of Guy Pierce acting in ‘space’.

  18. It is great that they are actually making a movie of Mass Effect. I hope it really is better than the usual game based movie when it actually comes out.

    On the subject of what sex Shepard should be in the movie, the choice the movie company made of male is probably for the best since the part was obviously written with a male lead in mind and then modified as little as possible for the female Shepard option. It would take a clever and complete overhaul of the script and a very careful choice of actress to actually pull off a female Shepard in live action without the “guy in drag” feel that crept into some of the game scenes if they were to go that way (which has even more potential in some ways than the male version even if it would be harder to pull off well). Condensing the storyline down to fit a movie without ruining it is going to hard enough I suspect without adding additional difficultly.

  19. Sooooo pumped can’t wait to hear more

    • I’ve read all ME’s books and I’m sure any of the stories, books or games, are good enough to be considered to the cinemas. First, as a fan, I was expecting to see the ME1 story, but then I realized that a First Contact War movie, for example, would also be great. My only concern is about the quality of the script. These stories, specially the games’, are great video-game stories, and that’s it. Trying to make them something else, and do it badly, could ruin the entire franchise.

      About the length of the movie, I would worry about that. The 40 hours spent on the game are base on side-quests, general conversation and long elevator rides (lol). Besides, we had to wait Shepard move his lazy ass around for hours, not counting the mako’s trips around countless deserts. The plot itself could well be sold during a 2 to 3 hours film, with plenty details and way more intense.

      As for Shep’s role, I would definitely go for Logan Marshall-Green, after I saw his role on Prometheus for Charlie, he got my vote. Come on, he is THE original Shepard indeed.

  20. If they’ll make the movie with the true story from the beginng of the m.e. movie would be the new star wars legend. If they don’t the movie will fall a part like all kind of game adaption movies. Mass Effect can’t be a single part movie. So many stories and actions in it. It must be 2 or 3 parts and must has a really good screen as Star Wars’s Anakin story… and definetly and really definetly chacters must be the voice actors except Shephard. If Shephard’s role won’t given to Mark Vanderloo there will be no meaning of the story. All voice actors have enough experince to play their characters in the game. That’s what I’m thinking about the adaption of the movie…

  21. Wow, I’m pretty excited to hear of any form of progress with this movie, despite having such mixed feelings…
    Ugh, some of the sexist comments here just make me want to bash my head against the desk. I’m frankly quite tired of seeing the same old male heroes, practically abiding by the same hero recipe in every action movie I see. As a guy, I just want to see something refreshing and modern, such as femshep taking the lead role. She doesn’t have to be manly and freakishly muscular (nor grossly sexulised), she can be just the way she is in the game; the perfect heroine. It’s so old-fashioned to put women down and dismiss them for being weak and incapable. I look forward to the day when a good movie does something bold like this… I just kinda hoped Mass Effect would be the first…

  22. Some people here are so sexist… They said in the article that the protagonist is going to be male so I don’t get all the fuss about a fem Shepard.
    A female Shep would be great ,by the way. She can be inspired by the protagonist of the “Alien” movies. She was a great strong character and I don’t see why such a character wouldn’t work for Mass Effect. They said that they want a male Shep so it dosen’t matter.
    I am really excited about this project. It has the potential to be really popular , like LOTR , if done right. They should focus on the story and the character development, IMO. The bonds created between characters should play an important role in the movie, such as it did in the game. After all, the special effects don’t make a movie memorabile, the characters and the story do. And the ME universe is so rich in great characters and unforgettable moments it would be a shame not to use it.

  23. I honestly think that any adaptation of Mass Effect, movie or TV show, is a bad idea. It’s so based on choice that making a product that fans will really enjoy just doesn’t seem possible.

  24. they NEED to have steve buscemi as mordin. he is the perfect choice in everyway! xD

  25. I never really liked male shep… For obvious reasons I prefer femshep ha. Oh well. Wonder who will play as me. (hope they get my good voice *ahem* on film) Also I am reaaally hoping they dont get any know ”popular” actors. That will ruin the film greatly. And please dont nerf my rifle ………

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