May 24, 2010

Prepare for 'Mass Effect' to take the leap from video game to big screen feature!

Here's the story from The Hollywood Reporter:

Legendary Pictures has picked up rights to “Mass Effect,” the Electronic Arts-BioWare video game. Mark Protosevich, the scribe who wrote “I Am Legend” and worked on “Thor,” is in negotiations to pen the movie, which will be produced by Avi and Ari Arad as well as Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.

“Mass,” which debuted in 2008, is an epic sci-fi action game set in the year 2183, focusing on a human soldier and his starship, the SSV Normandy. The galaxy-spanning story involves a long-extinct race of aliens, dormant beacons and more alien species than you can shake a lightsaber at.

A sequel to the game was released in January.

The project is still in the early stages of development, though any game-to-screen undertaking would require a massive commitment. So far, humans vs. aliens movies have tended to be set on Earth, which makes those films easier to shoot while making them relatable for mass audiences.

One of the by-products of the success of “Avatar” has been showing that moviegoers will follow and invest themselves in non-human characters if given a reason to, which opens the door for more alien movies.

The players involved all have experience in undertaking giant-sized production. Legendary’s credits include co-producing such tentpoles as “The Dark Knight,” “300” and the recent “Clash of the Titans” remake. Avi Arad is the former chairman of Marvel Studios, whose Arad Prods. is developing a feature film version of video game “Drake’s Fortune.”

CAA-repped Protosevich is known for his large-scope sci-fi work. In addition to “Legend” and “Thor,” the scribe worked on remakes of “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” both still in development at their respective studios, and is writing the English-language translation of “Old Boy” for Mandate.

Tull called “Effect” “ripe for translation,” saying it had “depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story.” Arad described the game as “a parable whose conflicts mirror the ones we currently face in our own world. This story emphasizes the need for all cultures to learn to work together.”

“Effect” will fall under Legendary's co-production and co-financing agreement with Warner Bros., who will distribute the film worldwide.

BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will serve as executive producers, as will “Effect” executive producer Casey Hudson.

-This continues the trend of cinematic games becoming legitimate cinema, and I'm all for it...thoughts?


  1. This could be a great space opera if handled well...

  2. Part of the appeal of Mass Effect was its "choose your own adventure" format; you could create Commander Shepard however you wanted, and could make a myriad of decisions that affected the story...which lasted roughly 40-60 hours. Stripping that crucial element makes Mass Effect not significantly different from dozens of other sci-fi epics.

    Furthermore, how in the world is Mark Protosevich (who already dumbed down one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written into a predictable creature feature) qualified to adapt this?

  3. Well, I enjoyed the choose your own adventure aspect of the game, but I think the broad arc of the story would fit as a decent to good film...though I agree that the choice of scribe is a bit lacking.