David Gaider, the former BioWare Lead Writer who worked on Dragon Age: Origins and Inquisition, has explained a number of concerns that he holds about a potenial Mass Effect or Dragon Age TV Series.
Reports emerged earlier this year saying Netflix was developing a Dragon Age series and, after Amazon Studios was said to be nearing a deal to develop a Mass Effect TV series, Gaider took to Twitter to address a number of worries he has with either franchise switching mediums.
“I’m relieved to see that the Mass Effect/Amazon deal is for a potential TV series and not a movie,” said Gaider in a thread. “Even so, the possibility (and likewise for Dragon Age) makes me cringe just a little, unlike many fans who appear… excited?”
I’m relieved to see that the Mass Effect/Amazon deal is for a potential TV series and not a movie. Even so, the possibility (and likewise for Dragon Age) makes me cringe just a little, unlike many fans who appear… excited?
Let me explain. (Thread)
— David Gaider (@davidgaider) November 25, 2021
Gaider’s thread goes on to explain a number of factors that he has concerns over. Beginning with the main character itself, Gaider highlights the fact that both franchises allow the player to make custom changes and adaptations to the series main protagonist. “[Mass Effect and Dragon Age] have a custom protagonist,” says Gaider. “Meaning said TV show will need to pick whether said protagonist will be male or female. Boom, right off the bat you’ve just alienated a whole bunch of the built-in fan base who had their hopes up.”
The former lead writer continues to explain his thoughts surrounding a potential series lead by suggesting that neither of the franchise’s main characters are necessarily suited to TV audiences. “Those protagonists are designed to be a bit of a blank slate, one that the player fills out with their decisions. That’s not going to work for a passive medium. So, suddenly, the protagonist will have their own personality… and their own *story*. That will be weird.” he continues.
While Gaider’s thread begins by highlighting how player choice could create a number of issues for any studio casting a lead protagonist, he draws upon similar points for other factors within the game. The former lead writer points out that large portions of the storylines within each franchise are carried out through the companions that the main character chooses to meet. With this in mind, Gaider goes on to argue that future showrunners could inadvertently alienate large parts of their audience just in choosing which characters receive smaller and larger parts on-screen.
“Think of those companions,” Gaider writes in the thread. “Think of how MUCH the fanbase is attached to them. Now consider the fact that there is no way in hell any single story could encompass them all equally. Think of the howls of rage when companion X is relegated to a cameo… or not there at all.”
“Having a TV show instead of a movie allows for more companion options, sure, but consider your own playthrough: only a handful of them had any meaningful presence in a single game. That will need to be the case for this story, to maintain coherence. A few companions, one romance.”
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Gaider’s comments definitely raise a number of reasonable questions that any potential showrunners would need to think long and hard about before taking either franchise forward. With Amazon nearing a potential deal for a Mass Effect TV series, it will certainly be interesting to see what the writers come up with if talks progress further.
Both series will be continuing as games alongside their potential TV adaptations. Mass Effect 5 has been confirmed and is seemingly putting together a veteran team. Dragon Age 4 is also on the way, but just lost its creative director.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.