MOVIE NEWS – There are rumours about Amazon working on a Mass Effect adaptation, but it doesn’t fill David Gaider with a lot of delight.
On Twitter, Gaider has been critical of the Mass Effect adaptation. He previously worked mainly on the Dragon Age series. Still, his comment applies to even other video game adaptations or BioWare’s franchises, explaining how just a few TV/movie adaptations work well.
Here’s Gaider’s opinion: “I’m relieved to see that the Mass Effect/Amazon deal is for a potential TV series and not a movie. Even so, the possibility (and likewise for Dragon Age) makes me cringe just a little, unlike many fans who appear… excited? Let me explain. For starters, Mass Effect and Dragon Aage have a custom protagonist. Meaning that said TV show would need to pick whether the said protagonist will be male or female. Boom, right off the bat, you’ve just alienated a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up. Secondly, those protagonists are designed to be a bit of a blank slate, one that the player fills out with their decisions. That’s not going to work for a passive medium. So, suddenly, the protagonist will have their personality… and their own *story*. That will be weird.
Do you think I’m wrong? Consider just how MUCH of the story is off-loaded onto the companions. They are the cyphers from which the player gets most of their emotional engagement. On their own, the DA and ME protagonists are… well, pretty dull. That’s not going to fly. And think of those companions. Think of how MUCH the fanbase is attached to them. Now consider that there is no way in hell any single story could encompass them all equally. Think of the howls of rage when companion X is relegated to a cameo… or not there at all.
Sure, having a TV show instead of a movie allows for more companion options, but consider your playthrough: only a handful of them had any meaningful presence in a single game. That will need to be the case for this story to maintain coherence: a few companions, one romance. And that’s IF the TV show makers consider the companions to be all that important. They might toss most of them aside in favour of the PLOT. In my mind, that would be a mistake. Both ME’s and DA’s plots were, at best, serviceable. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.
Those plots had to take into account the player’s agency. They were kind of the shell upon which that player’s emotional engagement was delivered — usually through the companions and the choices themselves. Choice heightened engagement. Interactivity was the star, not the plot. Take all that out, lose most of the companions, and you potentially end up with… a pretty run-of-the-mill fantasy or science-fiction show, one where a lot of the built-in audience has possibly been turned into outraged, howling malcontents before it’s even released. All that is, of course, if the DA or ME series is mishandled. I can think of any number of ways it could be done better… but that involves doing more than a strict adaptation, and that comes with its complications. Anyhow, good luck to the showrunners. They’ll need it!”, Gaider wrote.
We don’t even need to add anything to what he said.