Good News for “Mass Effect” Fans, The Movie is Still Based off the Game!

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Are you a movie buff? What about a video game buff?  Well, either way, it is an exciting time for you.  But lets, be honest, majority of video game adaptations have not been great.  It seems, however, that 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 ofAssassin’s CreedUncharted 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.  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 any details on the Mass Effect movie to share so instead, they talked about how the process is going to work and how Legendary Pictures is the right crew for such an epic project. They emphasized how closely they were working with game developer BioWare to ensure that Mass Effect gets the big screen treatment it deserves.

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&Athat 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. Which is a huge disappointment, Seth Green makes that game that much more awesome.

That was the last we heard on the project until a few weeks ago when we were 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. Also note that Seth Green isn’t written off yet – the “no” was replaced with a more diplomatic answer.

This is awesome news because the films do not need (and more importantly 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…

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