Video game publishers taking on Comic-Con

July 18, 2011

BioWare's upcoming Mass Effect 3

I’m happy to report that I will be in San Diego this weekend during the madness that is Comic-Con. Although I’m not an official badge-holder, I’m making sure to check out all the ancillary venues and industry events that are part of this now mass-media convention. One area that’s been gaining traction over the years at this event is gaming, and publishers are once again aiming to showcase their blockbuster, AAA titles. Games like Mass Effect 3, Gears of War 3, and most likely Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be making appearances. As Fortune’s John Gaudiosi reports, game publishers are here not just to show off their upcoming titles, but to get convention attendees and the media excited about the publishers’ expanding partnership with Hollywood in pursuing projects with transmedia potential.

John Gaudiosi:

The worlds of video games and Hollywood continue to converge with transmedia being a key buzz word in Hollywood today. One of the most-anticipated examples of this will be on display at Legendary Entertainment’s first-ever Comic-Con panel on Friday, July 22. The first details on the Mass Effect movie will be unveiled by BioWare’s game creator Casey Hudson, the film’s screenwriter Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend), and Hollywood producer Avi Arad (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers).

Gamers (and moviegoers for that matter) are quick to point out most movie adaptations are done poorly, do not stay faithful to the source material, and ultimately seem like a money grab. However, in order to be considered transmedia, Mass Effect’s film producers must not only adhere closely to the ‘canon’ of the Mass Effect universe, but expand the story and give fans a different viewpoint in ways the game did not. It seems Gaudiosi isn’t fully aware of what the term transmedia means, since the balance of the piece discusses simply translating, or adapting, video games into feature-length movies. (I can’t blame Gaudiosi too much, however, since there have been numerous arguments between transmedia practitioners as to what the term really entails.) That being said, it will be interesting to see where BioWare and its film collaborators intend to take the Mass Effect film project, and whether it will actually be a transmedia effort.

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