Ideas for How a Mass Effect Adaptation Could Work

With wildly successful TV adaptations of The Last of Us and Fallout, screening company executives are starting to see the untapped potential of adapting video games for TV. At first glance, Mass Effect seems like an obvious one to adapt. It features a complex world, an iconic ship, and a loveable crew of characters.

But a Mass Effect adaptation poses some challenges. The biggest one is which version of Mass Effect to tell. This series features numerous branching choices, each with different consequences. How could a Mass Effect adaptation work when every gamer has such a different concept of “their” Shepard? Here are some ideas.

1. Bioware could try to show us all a “cannon” version.

One option would be for Bioware to decide what is “cannon” (or at least what they feel seems “most correct”) and then work with a production company to bring us that version of Mass Effect for TV. In other words, we would learn the cannon ending, the cannon romance, and so forth. That said, how likely does it seem that Bioware would want to establish any of these things as cannon?

2. The show could deliberately go for “interesting” choices.

Another idea could be for the show runners to simply pick whatever choices they feel would allow them to do the most interesting writing for Mass Effect.

In some cases, those might be choices that fans tend to assume are likely “cannon,” while in others, it could be choices most fans wouldn’t even make. Either way, they could rely on strong and insightful writing to sell the choices, rather than worrying about whether those are the most “authentic” choices Shep could have made.

3. Different adaptations in the future could play out very differently.

Here is an interesting possibility to think of. Instead of looking at the branching choices as an obstacle to creating a Mass Effect show, imagine the possibilities. Over the decades ahead, maybe we will see more than one Mass Effect adaptation. Maybe someone will make a “Paragon” adaptation featuring more Paragon choices, and maybe later down the line, someone will make a “Renegade” adaptation featuring more Renegade choices.

Someone else in the future might choose to do a version with the “Synthesis” ending, and simply put a stronger focus on the issues and messages that this ending addresses.

Each of these shows could be very different viewing experiences, but each could be equally compelling in different ways.

4. Multiple adaptations could run simultaneously.

Finally, here’s one last idea simply for fun. This would never happen, but think how fascinating it would be if a studio made a Paragon and a Renegade version of the show to air simultaneously. Each week, you could see two episodes that focus on one set of events. But those events would unfold in very different ways in each TV “universe.”

Watching them back to back would give you fascinating insights into the characters and events. Again, nobody is going to do this for a number of reasons. But it’s cool to play with the idea in one’s head.

5. We could see a different story in the Mass Effect universe.

Of course, it might just be easier for a TV show to tell a completely different story set in the Mass Effect universe, as Amazon did with Fallout. And as Amazon proved, that can work very well.

As of right now, no one has announced a Mass Effect TV show. So, all of this is pure speculation. If or when a Mass Effect show is announced, we will let you know right away.