Writer David Gaider, who worked at BioWare for almost 17 years, has shared his thoughts on the possible Mass Effect TV series. He explained why he thinks that a ME show is not necessarily the best idea and there’s a good chance its showrunners will fail.

Gaider wrote a thread on Twitter in the wake of the news that Amazon is now reportedly nearing a deal to create a TV series based on Mass Effect. He said that even the possibility of making a TV show based on Mass Effect or Dragon Age “makes me cringe just a little.”

  • The first problem is that both these games have a custom protagonist. It means that showrunners will have to pick the main hero’s gender, which, of course, will disappoint a bunch of fans.

  • Another problem is that players shaped these protagonists with their own decisions while playing Mass Effect or Dragon Age. “That’s not going to work for a passive medium,” Gaider noted.
  • Main characters in these games are quite boring on their own, that’s why developers gave players charismatic companions to interact with. And here comes another issue — it will be impossible to encompass all these fan-loved characters in one story, which will destroy the hopes of many viewers.
  • TV writers might also go another way and simply throw all companions away. Gaider thinks it would be a mistake because both Mass Effect’s and Dragon Age’s plots were “serviceable” at best.
  • “Those plots had to take into account the player’s agency,” he explained. “They were kind of the shell upon which that player’s emotional engagement was delivered — usually through the companions and the choices themselves. Choice heightened engagement. Interactivity was the star, not the plot.”
  • With that being said, one of the ways to make a good TV show based on ME and DA is to create separate stories within these universes that won’t be connected to the original games.

David Gaider worked at BioWare from June 1999 to January 2016. He started his career as writer and designer on games like Baldur’s Gate 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Neverwinter Nights. Gaider also worked as lead writer on the Dragon Age series.

In 2018, he co-founded Summerfall Studios. The team is now working on its first game Chorus: An Adventure Musical, starring Laura Bailey.