Mass Effect's one of the most cinematic games I've ever played--and given the other film-influenced AAA titles that're making their way to the big screen (like Gears of War and Bioshock), it's not too surprising that Mass Effect's movie rights just got snatched up. (Especially when you factor in that the buzz on J.J. Abrams' Star Trek is really, really good, and that conceptually and thematically, Mass Effect owes more than a few things to the Trek universe.)
The dude doing said snatching is producer Avi Arad, a guy who used to mostly produce stuff for Marvel (like X-Men and Spider-Man) but now has branched off into other areas of fine cinema (like Bratz and Robosapien: Rebooted).
While I'd love to see a blockbuster version of Mass Effect, narratively, the thing runs into the same problem that other big videogame movies, like Bioshock and Halo, do: With a lead character who's either a blank slate for the player to project themselves onto (Halo) or one that's completely malleable, with different traits and actions depending on who's controlling them (Bioshock), it means the studio and the screenwriter are basically going to have to invent a central character for the film. I guess that means these rights purchases are being approached less as buying the narrative arcs of these games and more about buying the environments that these games have created--like the movie studios are buying a bunch of really cool sets and backstories, along with some name recognition, and (hopefully) they'll fill in the gaps with good stuff. (Not likely, though, given every videogame movie ever made, from Tomb Raider to Super Mario Bros.)
Via The Cut Scene.