Mass Effect is getting made into a TV show, and most of us seem pretty happy about it. But not everyone. Former Dragon Age writer and current indie creative director David Gaider thinks that Mass Effect might not make for great television.
"I'm relieved to see that the Mass Effect/Amazon deal is for a potential TV series and not a movie," Gaider wrote in a Twitter thread. "Even so, the possibility (and likewise for Dragon Age) makes me cringe just a little, unlike many fans who appear... excited?"
To start, Mass Effect technically had two protagonists: male and female Shepherd, and that means there are two groups of fans who feel their Shepherd is the right one. "Boom, right off the bat you've just alienated a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up," quipped Gaider.
"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 own personality... and their own *story*," he added. "That will be weird."
It's not Commander Shepherd doing most of the storytelling, according to Gaider, but Shepherd's companions. Liara, Garrus, Jack, Thane--they're all just "cyphers through which the player gets most of their emotional engagement from."
And Gaider is totally right. Galaxy-ending threat from an ancient race of robotic space squids? Who cares? Tell me more about your calibrations, Garrus.
"Now consider the fact that there is no way in hell any single story could encompass them all equally," Gaider warns. Take away companion stories and you're left 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.
"Choice heightened engagement. Interactivity was the star, not the plot."
Sobering words. Guess it boils down to how much you trust Amazon to write an interesting show using a beloved IP.
Gaming takes us to some wonderful places, but some are more wonderful than others.