Earlier this week, we learned that Amazon and EA were nearing a deal to create a TV series based on Mass Effect. While many fans were excited about this idea, not everyone is as enthusiastic, including a former lead writer at BioWare, who says the idea of a Mass Effect TV series makes him “cringe”.
Following the recent rumours, David Gaider (via VGC), a former BioWare veteran known for working on the Dragon Age series, expressed disappointment in the idea of a TV series for Mass Effect or even Dragon Age, and well, he does make some valid points.
The first point Gaider makes is perhaps the most obvious, the Mass Effect games feature a custom protagonist, so players can create their own version of Shepard, male or female, and then shape their character through choices made in the game. With a TV show, you can’t emulate that, and as a result, you’ll “alienate a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up”.
The second major point is that Shepard is designed to be “a blank slate, one that the player fills out with their decisions”. This is proven by the amount of story that is “off-loaded onto the companions” in the Mass Effect games, which is also another true point, the companions play a huge role and a good chunk of story is told through them.
Despite all of this, there is a cannon version of the Mass Effect story and as BioWare has previously pointed out, roughly 90% of players chose Paragon story options and I have my doubts that Renegade Shepard enthusiasts would expect to see that version of the character play out in a TV series anyway.
I think another key counter-point to make here is that TV shows with ensemble casts have come a long, long way in recent years. The show doesn’t need to solely focus on Shepard, and if we look at the likes of The Expanse, Dark Matter, BSG and other great sci-fi shows from the last couple of decades, we can see that having a big crew with lots of important characters can work and can be done very well.
KitGuru Says: Do you agree with Gaider in that a Mass Effect TV series wouldn’t work due to the way the games are set up? Or are you more optimistic about the idea?