Why MASS EFFECT Will Be The Only Video Game Movie Mark Protosevitch Writes

The screenwriter of the OLDBOY remake explains his attempt at writing a MASS EFFECT movie, and what went wrong.

There has been a Mass Effect movie slowly wending its way through the Hollywood system for a number of years, and at one point Mark Protosevitch was brought on to write it. Protosevitch is the writer of the upcoming Oldboy remake, but you have also seen his credit on films like I Am Legend and The Cell. Whenever Mass Effect does arrive as a movie you probably won't be seeing his credit on it. 

"I wrote a couple of drafts and then they brought on a new writer," Protosevitch explained to me today at the Oldboy junket when I asked him what was up with Mass Effect. I was curious about the angle they were taking - was it a direct adaptation of the game or was it a story set in the larger Mass Effect universe? 

"When I was on it I was definitely adapting the first game. That story, it was very much the first game. And that was the approach." And that approach, Protosevitch says, is part of what made the whole thing so hard - and what makes him think he'll never do another video game adaptation.

"It was the first game adaptation I did and it will probably be the only one. They’re hard. I will freely admit it was hard. Because - especially with Mass Effect - there’s just so much material. Narratively, with the game, you’re talking about nine, ten hours of narrative you’re jamming into two hours.

"I hope they pull it off. I’d love to see a Mass Effect movie. I think I did some good work, but even I’ll admit I didn’t pull it off."

Can anybody pull it off? Part of what makes Mass Effect so great is the depth of the story and characters. Can that ever truly be contained in a two hour film without stripping away everything that makes the game special?