Animated Mass Effect film in the works

Electronic Arts today announced that it is working with FUNimation to translate their popular video game franchise, Mass Effect, into a feature length anime.

It has only been announced so far that the story will take place in the Mass Effect story-world, in which the entire universe has been mapped, and humans and several other races move freely from galaxy to galaxy, system to system, traveling, trading, and waring.

The protagonist of the series, Commander Shepard, must save the entire universe a couple of times from a malevolent extra-universal force which is attempting to cull the universe’s population.

She is joined by a team of highly skilled, and highly specialized operatives, which she has recruited from across the galaxies, and which represent many races and viewpoints.

The Mass Effect series received a bit of gruff early on when it was discovered that the protagonist could engage in a physical relationship with one of her female teammates, no matter which gender the player chose for her, resulting in the possibility of homosexual relationships. This is similar to the flak BioWare is currently deflecting for the relationship engine in Dragon Age 2.

Hopefully, this film will not try to tell any part of Shepard’s story, mainly because every single person who played this game played Shepard their own way, and so there would be no way to make the Shepard in the film match up with the Shepard already in people’s imaginations. The default Shepard is male, but there is no default personality. Players could choose to make shepard nice, noble mean, apathetic, horny, abusive, or any combination thereof.

In my head Shepard is not only female – thus the pronouns I’ve been using – she is a fiery, no-nonsense, red-head who cares deeply about her crew, but cares nothing for anyone else. She’s gruff and impassive with those who try to control her, and reacts poorly to authority figures. Every one of those traits was my decision in playing the character, and if the Anime depicts Shepard as anything else, it will be unwatchable.

Interestingly, some of the production team for the film are coming directly from the BioWare production team for the games, which is a rarity in cross-over productions. Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series, will serve as executive producer. 

“Over the last few years, we have revealed different pieces of the Mass Effect world through different media. Extending the story through an anime medium is another amazing opportunity for us,” said Hudson, “Partnering with FUNimation ensures that we will bring this rich universe to life with the utmost quality and the same attention to detail that the Mass Effect games are known for.”

The film is slated for a Summer 2012 release, direct to digital home video.