That’s right. This isn’t a gimmick. All you fan boys will get your wishes, as Mass Effect is releasing a full length feature film, titled ‘Mass Effect: Paragon Lost‘.
Now, the next thing I am about to tell you will either further encourage you to watch it, or turn you against the film. It is not a real-footage movie, but rather, an anime feature.
“An untold chapter in the Mass Effect saga, following the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega, as he leads a squad of elite special forces into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his troops must protect the inhabitants from an invasion of the deadly insectoid warriors determined to collect the population for unknown purposes.
Soon after the attack, Vega’s commanding officer falls in battle, forcing the young officer to embrace the responsibility of leadership for the colony’s survival. Having idolized Earth’s greatest hero and warrior, Commander Shepard (the central character in the Mass Effect video games), the young and idealistic Vega must now make life and the death decisions that will effect not only the lives of his squad, but the lives of every person in the colony – all of whom he has sworn to protect…” Written by Henry Gilroy (IMDB)
Wait a minute…this sounds familiar…
Well, if it sounds familiar, you probably paid attention to the dialogue in Mass Effect 3. Vega talks to Shepard about the mission when you interact with him on the Normandy II. He also tells you what happens, but I won’t reveal that spoiler.
Seeing as I am not a fan myself, I asked this question. If you stop to think about it, the sheer budget for creating a Mass Effect film with CGI and actual actors would be sky high; that, coupled with the risk that the film would tank in theaters is probably what made the produces choose to go anime with the film. Even so, I have to admit that I am still going to watch it. The animations look interesting and I am curious as to how they will frame the Mass Effect movie without having Commander Shepard as the main character.
What Could Go Wrong?
Going from video game to film is never an easy feat; most game to film adaptations suck out loud, and it is impossible to ever satisfy all of the fans. This plus the fact that it is anime creates the risk of alienating potential viewers. While I am personally not a fan of anime, I am willing to give the film a chance, after all, what do you think is more important? The fact that it is Mass Effect, or the fact that it is anime? Along with these things, the fact that James Vega is the main character, rather than Commander Shepard has the potential to alienate even more potential viewers.
What They Did Right
While all of these things have the potential to alienate viewers, there are a few things that make the film attractive. One big thing about the film is that we know the story and the character. Players meet James Vega in the very beginning of Mass Effect 3, and have him as a party member throughout the game. While players will want to see Commander Shepard, seeing Vega prior to his time on the Normandy has its own special appeal.
Another thing that I find note worthy is the fact that this is not a prequel or a sequel, but rather its own story outside of the main arc of Mass Effect. This is a double edged sword with the potential to discourage Mass Effect fans, but it also has the potential to attract people who aren’t fans of the Mass Effect franchize.
For better or worse, the movie is set to come out some time this year. Directed by Atsushi Takeuchi, the animated film is going to be 84 minutes long, and promises to be an interesting addition to the Mass Effect franchise. Thankfully they didn’t release this film until they fixed the endings of Mass Effect 3. Check out more information about Mass Effect: Paragon on their website.
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