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The Real Reason The Mass Effect Movie Was Canceled

With the recent launch of "Mass Effect Legendary Edition," the beloved sci-fi RPG series has been on everybody's mind. The franchise has been lauded for its great writing and story and could be the next of its kind to get a television adaptation. Netflix released both "Castlevania" and "The Witcher" to critical success, though both were based on the books and not the games. The streaming giant has also released "Dragon's Dogma" and "DOTA: Dragon's Blood" as animated series. HBO is working on a "The Last of Us" series starring Pedro Pascal, so it seems like Hollywood might already be on the video game hype train.

But is it possible that "Mass Effect" could make its way to the big screen? In an interview with Business Insider, "Mass Effect Legendary Edition" project director Mac Walters said that in 2010, Legendary Pictures acquired the rights to the video game to make a movie, but nothing materialized. Here's why we never got to see a "Mass Effect" movie.

The video game was too long to distill into movie form

Speaking to Business Insider earlier this month, Walters revealed the simple reason why the planned "Mass Effect" movie was canceled.  "It felt like we were always fighting the IP," he explained. "What story are we going to tell in 90 to 120 minutes? Are we going to do it justice?"

The obvious problem with turning a video game into a movie is that the former is typically much longer than the latter. How does someone decide what story to tell in the span of two hours if the source material has 40 hours worth of content to pull from? As many video game movie adaptations in the past have shown us, it's very hard to make a good video game movie, with most examples coming in recent years, like "Detective Pikachu" and "Sonic the Hedgehog."

However, Walters also teased that it is more of a matter of "when" than "if" when it comes to Hollywood taking another stab at "Mass Effect," although he thinks a TV show makes more sense for the property than a movie adaptation. "If you're going to tell a story that's as fleshed out as 'Mass Effect,' TV is the way to do it. There's a natural way it fits well with episodic content," the project director said. Walters clarified that "Mass Effect" is framed as a TV show in its design, with an overarching plot that has individual episodes where shorter stories take place.