May 16, 2013

How a Mass Effect movie might translate from video game to silver screen

Drew Karpyshyn is a name some Mass Effect fans may recognise as one of the key writers of the first games in the Mass Effect series - he was interviewed by Kotaku and here's some of his thoughts about how the Mass Effect games and story would translate into a movie. The main thrust of his views are that to make a movie, compromises will have to be made and no-one will be happy.

Here's some key bits from Drew:

“But I think one of the things that also has to happen is you have to compress things down,” he continued. I don’t think you can do justice to the characters even if it’s just, say, Mass Effect 1, which had the smallest cast of characters. You have Shepard, and then you have six squadmates. You had Joker. You have Anderson. You have Saren. Maybe a Sovereign sort of hiding there a little bit. Already that’s 10 very significant characters.

“What you have to do, and I know fans don’t want to hear this, but you have to remove some of those characters. I think you just have to realize we can’t tell everything that’s in the game in a two-hour movie. Some of them are just going to be cameos, like in Ocean’s 11, ‘Oh, that guy was in there. I don’t even remember his name, but he’s the bomb guy.” It’s going to be a muddled mess if you don’t do that.
Ashley: Would you want her gone?
“If you say, ‘We want this relationship between Shepard and Liara because it parallels humanity’s relationship with the various alien species,’ then you don’t even use certain characters at that point. Now Ashley’s gone. Then people are going to go, ‘Oh, Ashley’s gone. What the heck?’ If you want to focus again, maybe you want to have the relationship, like, ‘We really like this Garrus character and how he ties in and his views on humanity and Shepard. Well, then, maybe Tali’s extraneous.’ There’s different things you have to pull out depending on the direction you want to take it in.”

Ok, if some of the cast members may never make onto the silver screen Normandy, what absolutely needs to be in a Mass Effect screenplay? “As far as what I think they really need to leave in, for me, [Mass Effect is] really about this idea that humanity is the newcomer and trying to prove themselves to the other races or trying to find their place,” Karpyshyn said. “It’s a great set-up, especially if they want to go forward and base the second movie on the second game, which brings up Cerberus. They’re sort of the epitome of the conflict that arises as humanity tries to carve out their place in the universe and are sort of the polar opposite of Shepard.”

My money is on a Mass Effect film never happening....

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