I'm regularly taken aback by how quietly enormous Mass Effect is. While common conception is that EA's getting its mega-corp bottom kicked by Activision, it's got a breadth of franchises that it's CoD'n'WoW-dependent rival does not - and Bioware's sweeping space opera universe is one of the foremost of those. It's really doing the Star Wars thing, I guess, as there was perhaps a vast sci-fi fandom void waiting to be filled in the wake of Lucas' long-running exploitation/ruination of its galaxy far, far away.
So it makes perfect sense that Mass Effect would turn to other mediums - specifically, movies. Well, anime movies.
I'm aware 'anime' conjures mixed feelings for some folk, but those who aren't keen on such things might be glad to hear that Bioware exec producer Casey Hudson, one of the main ME bods, will also do the exec production thing on the film. Primary duties, however, will be handled by Tokyo studio T.O Entertainment, Inc, with the flick to be distributed by the hilariously stupidly-named FUNimation.
We don't have any plot details yet, beyond "an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets." My wild'n'craaaaaaaaaaaayzeee guess is that it won't tell Shepard's tale, as that could conflict with the game fiction (so a confiction?) somewhat. But who knows. Here's what Casey thinks:
"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. 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.”
Righto. I must admit that if someone asked me what I thought of Mass Effect, "attention to detail" wouldn't be my immediate description. Not that it doesn't have it (that sure is a lot of lore), but if I was trying to sell it to someone I'd suspect I'd bang on about its guns and conversation rather than how anally retentive it was.
The Mass Effect anime will be straight to DVD/download rather than in cinema, and isn't due until 2012 alas. Bioware and FUNimation are also working on a Dragon Age flick, which we should see a whole lot sooner.