Perhaps I was too focused on playing and completing Mass Effect 3 to have noticed, but I had no idea that the currently controversial game series was getting a companion piece in the form of a animated movie. Like Dragon Age, the sister series from developer BioWare, the Mass Effect universe will be translated into a full-length anime to be called Paragon Lost. Which, naturally, makes me wonder whether a second anime will be made with the title, Paragon Regained? That’s for all my fellow Johnny Milton fans out there.
Paragon Lost will follow the tale of Mass Effect 3 party member James Vega as he tries to fend off the damned dirty Mass Effect 2 big bads, the Collectors, from harvesting a human colony for the Reapers, the series’ biggest bads. Apparently, there’s no word on whether or not Freddie Prinze Jr. will reprise his role from the video game, but it would be a shame if he doesn’t, as his performance was a welcome surprise for what should have been a stock, uninspired character. Of course, Vega is no Commander Shepard — or, for that matter, as inherently compelling as most of the Normandy crew throughout all three interactive adventures — but the story he relates in ME3, of a near-suicide mission overshadowed by the Commander’s own, could easily have legs. And it is definitely a smart move on BioWare’s part to continue the approach of the novels and comic books to expand beyond the game narratives. The same would also be true for any possible future feature film adaptations, as crafting something out of a protagonist who is as defined by the players as she/he is by the writers would be far less satisfying than even the last game’s ending.
Somewhat ironically, the Mass Effect anime will be in standard 2D animation, rather than the 3D style being utilized for Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker. This is unquestionably not a bad thing, but because of each series’ trappings — hi-tech and high fantasy, respectively — the opposite would seem to make more sense. Everything I’ve seen pertaining to the latter movie just looks wrong and doesn’t really match the art style of its predecessors, whereas the video below showing sketches and character designs for Paragon Lost seem to strike a balance between ME’s photo-realistim and the anime genre’s dramatic expressionism.
Take a gander:
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost will be out on DVD and Blu-ray at some point this summer. Are you as intrigued as I am? If so, that’s pretty intrigued.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He realizes that Mass Effect has become his obsession since “Community” returned to the airwaves (on tonight, if you need reminding).