Two days after BioWare announced a fourth Mass Effect novel, it has unveiled another transmedia spin-off of its successful sci-fi role-playing game series. Today, the Canadian developer, its owner Electronic Arts, and Japanese studio FUNimation announced that a Mass Effect anime feature film is in the works. International production company T.O Entertainment will co-produce the project, which will arrive on home video and digital distribution channels in summer 2012.
The deal marks the second collaboration between EA, FUNimation, and T.O Entertainment. Last June, the trio announced a deal to make an anime based on another BioWare franchise, the fantasy RPG series Dragon Age. That project, executive-produced by BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw and producer Mark Darrah, is due out on home video sometime later this year.
Details were scant on the Mass Effect anime, other than that it will be executive-produced by Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series. Also executive-producing will be FUNimation president and CEO Gen Fukunaga, FUNimation director of original entertainment Chris Moujaes, and T.O Entertainment CEOs Takeichi Honda and Yui Shibata.
Today's announcement offered little in the way of plot information besides saying that the Mass Effect anime will "tell the tale of an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets."
The original Mass Effect saw series hero Commander Shepard engaged in a convoluted battle with agents of the Reapers, a race of sentient starships with mind-control powers. Mass Effect 2 had Shepard nearly die and then be revived by Cerberus, a shadowy pro-human organization, so he could battle a sinister alien race called the Collectors. Mass Effect 3, due out this holiday season, will have Shepard come to the rescue of Earth, which is beset by a catastrophic Reaper invasion.