We all do them, I do them a lot. On any course from A to B, I tend to take detours every day. For one, I walk a lot and I like the scenery to change, it might not make much sense if you are the avid automobile fan, yet when you walk it makes a lot of sense. It can be that one route has a cinema and I want to see what is coming. That thought makes less sense nowadays, but in the past there were windows with photo’s of movies coming and movies playing. Then thee are the detours the mind makes. Those tend to make a lot less sense, even to the wielder of that brain. The Brain wants to let you know something and it tells you in its own way. Through the dream state when you are asleep, through a day dream or even through a small jump away from what you were thinking. We all have them, we pay attention (at times), we will it away or we ignore, we tend to take different strides with any mind jump.
This happened to me today when I was doing something meaninglessly simple, mind-numbing and the brain just took over. I was at a school, not sure which one, or where. The kids spoke English, but I did not connect to the location and I have no kids, so I am at a loss on that part. The kids were eating food and a I saw a ‘pretend it is Mexican day’ sign. The sign was troublesome in a few ways but that does not matter. It was then that I noticed the food. I thought they were all enjoying enchiladas. The rolled or is that wrapped food in a thick tortilla, it was then that I took notice of the smell, the sweetness, the stuffing and then things started to make sense. The kids all had rolled up pancakes, rolled like a tortilla and the stuffing was not that of an enchilada. It was filled with fruits. Then I saw others with some kind of chili, but it was I think cranberry mash with berries, bananas and stuff, the enchiladas had some kind of jam, dried fruits, tangerine parts and I think apricot slices. They were all having fruit dishes all shaped and imaged after Mexican food, the sign made more sense now. And it makes sense, the detours allowed me to design the 5G solution I created, this is not the same, but set to a similar premise. The mind can fill voids, but it can also label and identify things it is aware of. So what if kids see the same shape as a bowl of chili, as a enchilada yet not the same. What if the apple served can no longer hold the attention it once had? What if the premise needs change? It is not unheard of, it is not even that weird. The detour can serve as a journey marker and that is how we get to the actual stirrer of the trouble I saw.
Two headlines needs to be shown. Once gives us ‘Amazon is ‘nearing a deal’ with EA to produce a Mass Effect show’, the second one is ‘Ex-Bioware Writer Explains His Concerns About a Mass Effect or Dragon Age TV Series’. They matter, but not the way you think. There is one clear truth that I never steered clear of. The Mass Effect series (1-3) is one of the 10 best stories to ever grace the ENTIRE video game industry. In 2007 they started something that had not ever been shown before and the universe of gamers took notice. It was a few years later that we were treated to a sequel which was nothing less than one of the best games that would ever launch on a console. Yes, Mass Effect was big and even as there were rumblings on episode three, I never joined them, the story as a whole was amazing and that story can still compete with almost anything today. They screwed it up with Andromeda, but the original was and will remain a legendary achievement.
So whilst I do not know if there will be concerns, if there will be issues, if there will be larger ‘fears’. Consider the first game, when we go beyond the game, the setting that we forget is that the Citadel is well over 4 times the size of Manhattan, optionally a bit bigger and that implies that there are 3-4 seasons ready to be made.
Consider Doctor Michel, getting extorted, running supplies to a merchant in the Lower Wards in order to avoid a “secret” of hers getting out. A 5 minute mission, easily converted to a full episode, or as a sideline in larger storylines over two episodes. Now consider that the first game alone has over 60 side quests, all optional stories in their own rights. We might not care about some of them, but the truth is we were never given to goods so that we would care and that matters. Just consider that we remember the stars of a show, yet how many can give us the sidekicks in Buffy? The sidekicks in Bones? The sidekicks in Battlestar Galactics? Dexter? Now consider that Spike (from Buffy) was supposed to get killed off in the beginning. Yet he stayed around for 7 seasons. The writers had something to work with and they were handed time to show value in a character. That could happen to Mass Effect as well. The benefit (for Amazon) is that they get handed something with a proper foundation, a story that can go places. And in this we see a larger stage evolving, the games are starting to set the need for TV and movies. We knew about movies, we all saw Jolie (aka Mrs Smith) in Tombraider, but the stage is now altering, games are making a larger headway into TV and the solver screen. I wonder if this is to the well of creativity drying up, or is it that games bring optional a million plus fans to the TV screen and that startup is interesting to producers. I am not sure what the answer is, because I never really considered that setting before. Yet if that is true, then the settings for Bethesda will alter a lot over the next few years. And that too matters for gamers, because the franchise that grows tends to evolve and gamers love a game that truly evolves (not iterates like Ubisoft). In this there is no telling what Ubisoft can do with their AC franchise.
Yet in all this, I wonder what we will be treated to next. I am not siding with the worry population, I will see and judge when it hits the TV or big screen. I have seen enough on both sides to worry up front, and we all saw our fill of ‘failed’ series. Yet plenty of those ended up being true gems (Dollhouse 2009, Firefly 2002, Rome 2005, Star Trek 1966) and it is interesting that Star Trek ended up with 9 spin offs and 10 movies. So taking the word of the critics is debatable from the start.
I hope that Mass Effect will get the proper audience and get the right stage for people to care about a good story, because the story is everything, especially in TV.
So why this detour?
You see, what we see and what we perceive is not the same. What we see is what we are offered to see and what we perceive tends to be based on the presentation of others and the ‘critics’ as well as ‘critics’ who have other venues to promote are the fake news bringers, especially in this day and age. Some of these ‘critics’ know that people have one purse, they can only spend money ONCE, so they are getting more and more careful on what they spend money on and Amazon Prime knows that (its a Netflix issue), so they need to get the larger population on board sooner, and some ‘critics’ have friends at Netflix and other places too, so they are eager to promote one and push down the other for whatever reason they hand us and they have a larger digital market to push their view, their need and the need of their friends. That is the stakeholder game and it is hitting TV series as well, yet only now will the push be more pronounced then ever before. But that is merely my view on the matter.
Will Mass Effect succeed? I cannot tell, I will not give my answer one way or the other, but take notice. It comes from one of the truly great stories in gaming and that matters. I reckon we will see something real in 2023-2024.
Have a great Sunday.