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Why A Mass Effect Movie Has Never Happened

Why A Mass Effect Movie Has Never Happened
BioWare | Unsplash Felix Mooneeram

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

28th Jun 2021 10:26

If you've ever wondered why a Mass Effect movie has never seen the light of day, it turns out BioWare's critically acclaimed shooter was closer than we first thought. With an invigorated slate of video game adaptations, it's easy to imagine a Mass Effect movie sitting alongside Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Borderlands, and Uncharted

As well as live-action movies, there's a renewed interest in TV shows like The Witcher and HBO's upcoming The Last of Us, with hopes that everything from Fallout to Halo will also get their time to shine.

Way back when, a Mass Effect movie was announced in 2010. So what exactly happened to EA's vast plans to bring the sprawling world of Reapers to life?

What happened to the Mass Effect movie?

With the recent release of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition there's a lot of buzz about the franchise's past and future. Speaking to Business InsiderLegendary Edition Director Mac Walters explained what went wrong with the planned Mass Effect movie. “It felt like we were always fighting the IP. What story are we going to tell in 90 to 120 minutes? Are we going to do it justice?” said Walters.

Apparently, a change of leadership at Legendary Pictures left Mass Effect in development hell. Here, producers thought it would be best to start again and a possible move to a TV series. Ultimately, Walters said, "But then it never picked up again after that, not for lack of trying". 

By the sounds of it, Mass Effect is made for television. There's the idea it would fit an interactive movie format, but even that is something Walters warns we should be wary of. Discussing whether Mass Effect could live on in an interactive form like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Walters said, "It was cool as an experiment, but I don’t know if that’s the thing we should be taking away from games in terms of storytelling.

"There are plenty of rich worlds with amazing characters and that’s something we share in any of the mediums (movies, TV, and video games), so we should leverage that and lean into it."

Could we still see a Mass Effect movie?

Returning to the idea of Mass Effect working like a series instead of a movie, Walters admitted that's the way the games are written. “When we build out a ‘Mass Effect’ game, we have a backbone, or an overall story that we want to tell, but each level or mission is like its own TV episode", said Walters. "It doesn’t get written ahead of time. It gets written at the time that we get to it. So it gets added to the main story and sometimes the main story gets adjusted because we did something really cool in that ‘episode.’ So long-from storytelling is a great place for game franchises". 

Following the success of the Legendary Edition - and confirmation a new Mass Effect game is on the way to hopefully improve on Mass Effect: Andromeda in 2017 - it seems like a no-brainer that a movie will follow suit. Walters thinks the same and told the site it's "not a matter of if, but when” Hollywood tackles Mass Effect. He concluded, "It’s such an expansive world, and so many people I know in the TV and film industry have reached out to ask me when we’re going to do it and saying we’ve got to do it". 

As a final hat tip to a Mass Effect movie, remember that Henry Cavill recently teased something that looked like it could be set in this world. The star is already known for playing Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher, but could he really be suiting up to play Commander Shepherd in a Mass Effect movie?

Take it with a pinch of salt, but to be honest, we couldn't think of anyone better to play the square-jawed hero. All we need now is for someone to confirm Katee Sackhoff as FemShep and the world will be a better place.

 

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