Amazon Prime may be adapting the world of Mass Effect to the small screen. A report from Deadline suggested that Amazon is “nearing a deal” to develop a series based on the franchise. This comes after Amazon revealed that another of its shows, The Wheel of Time, had been very well received and is quickly becoming one of its most successful shows of the year. With the next Mass Effect on the horizon, this may be the perfect time for an adaptation of the original trilogy.
Looking back through the last few years of adaptations based on beloved source material, this news isn’t necessarily surprising. Not only has Amazon Prime successfully adapted popular graphic novel series like The Boys, and the upcoming The Lord of the Rings series, which makes its debut in September 2022. Netflix has also taken a shot at adapting established video game franchises, with both Castlevania and The Witcher performing well enough to score multiple seasons.
Is adapting Mass Effect really a good idea?
Everyone knows about the curse of adapting video games to different mediums. Oftentimes, these adaptations end up doing nothing more than annoying their fan bases. They also tend to give YouTubers more things to laugh at. Though, there have also been numerous examples of video games lending themselves well to both the big and small screens. Detective Pikachu is a good example of one that worked pretty well, all things considered. But, deciding not to cast Danny De Vito in the titular role will forever be unforgiveable.
But in Mass Effect’s case, there’s a specific example where the last attempt at adapting the series didn’t go so well. Mac Walters, project director of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, discussed the struggles of adapting the series as a major motion picture. In an interview from June, Walters wondered, “What story are we going to tell in 90 to 120 minutes? Are we going to do it justice?” It’s a valid concern. After all, the Mass Effect series is well known for its multiple-choice dialogue system. Condensing that to a 30 to 40 hour game into a film is a very hard task indeed.
However, a television series may be able to succeed where a film couldn’t. Devoting multiple episodes, perhaps even seasons, to telling the story of Mass Effect could be enough to do the series justice. Time will tell if this becomes another win for Amazon, or if it’ll end up as another attempt at adapting a series that should have remained in the hands of its players.