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Legendary Pictures Tie Up Mass Effect

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This edition of Wait, They're Making a What? shows that the desire to turn successful video games into feature films isn't slowing down as BioWare's incredibly popular RPG Mass Effect is about to get the feature film treatment.

Deadline are reporting that Legendary Pictures have acquired the rights to the game while a writer, Mark Protosevich, is already in talks to pen the film and producers Ari and Avi Arad, Thomas Tull, and Jon Jashni are already on board.

Mass Effect is a universe-spanning tale set in 2183. It follows the human Commander Shepard as he explores the galaxy on his ship the SSV Normandy. The Mass Effect universe is filled with many different alien races, planets, and technology.With this backdrop, it's easy to see why Mass Effect is being developed into a movie. In the wake of its announcement the executive producer of the game, Casey Hudson, said BioWare always “thought Mass Effect was perfectly suited to be a motion picture,” while Legendary's Tull thought the game was "ripe for translation." Even Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski claimed that the depth in the Mass Effect universe makes it the "Star Wars for this new generation."

While the talent is certainly there to bring this game to the big screen, nearly all those involved have experience on large-scale, big budget projects which the galaxy-spanning Mass Effect is sure to be, there will be some tough choices along the way. It will be interesting to see how the story develops in the film as the game has a few moments where the player's choice affects a later part in the story. This choice was one of the best parts of Mass Effect. Players could also alter Commander Shepard's appearance and gender at the start of the game. One would assume they will model Commander Shepard after the default Shepard seen in the marketing and on the box, which is the male Shepard. Still these required alterations to the game may not sit too well with fans even though they are needed to make the film work.

Whatever the case, Mass Effect is sure to be a hot project. The game is part of a planned trilogy, with the second game already out, so if the first movie can do well then there will probably be a film trilogy as well. Whoever signs on, in terms of acting and directing, will probably be handed multiple picture deals. It will also be a massive undertaking to create the universe of Mass Effect as large portions of the game take place in outer space and on alien worlds. Hopefully they go with an established cast and crew and try to make it as epic as possible. If he was available I'd love to see J.J. Abrams take a shot at this, after seeing Star Trek, and maybe Jeremy Renner or Nathan Fillion take on the role of Commander Shepard as I think either of them would be able to make Shepard an enjoyable and memorable character. Who do you think should be a part of the Mass Effect movie?   

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  • shouldn’t it be “They’re Making What” rather than “A What”?