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Legendary Pictures to make Mass Effect movie

BioWare co-founders and game director to act as executive producers to adaptation

Film company Legendary Pictures has obtained the rights to the Mass Effects series, with BioWare's co-founders and the games' director set to executive produce.

According to the Heat Vision blog on The Hollywood Reports website Mark Protosevich, writer of Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend, will pen the film's script. Former Marvel Studios boss Avi Arad will produce, alongside Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.

BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will act as executive producers, together with the games' director Casey Hudson. Tull reportedly described Mass Effect as "ripe for translation" and described it as having "depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story."

Arad described the game as, "a parable whose conflicts mirror the ones we currently face in our own world. This story emphasises the need for all cultures to learn to work together."

The two critically acclaimed games take place in the far future where the Earth and its colonies are learning to co-exist with a wide range of other sentient races. The key threat of the series so far has been a race of galaxy-threatening biomechanical creatures called Reapers.

Apart from the high production cost implied by creating a live action version of the game, any adaption also faces the problem that the main character is entirely defined by the player in terms of gender, appearance and morality. The novels based on the series avoid this problem by centring on exclusive secondary characters.

Legendary currently has a seven year co-production deal with Warner Bros., which has so far resulted in films such as Superman Returns, 300 and The Dark Knight. The studio also has a WarCraft film in production with Spider-Man director Sam Raimi.

Additionally, Legendary has its own games development business, although little has been heard of it since ex-EA casual games boss Kathy Vrabeck was appointed to lead the division.

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