Defiance is massive $105 million bet on the future of entertainment. A join project between gaming company Trion Worlds and the Syfy cable network, Defiance arrives next month as both a massively multiplayer online third person shooter game launching April 2nd. and a sci-fi TV series premiering April 15th.
Both the game and the show were developed at the same time, a process that allowed the gamers to influence the look and feel of the tv show and the studio executives to offer their input into the game's coding process. That interaction wasn't always smooth, according to an article in Adweek that details a situation where the coders didn't want the show to have horses and the TV producers insisted they couldn't afford to pay for any FX that involved flying. What we we get instead is neither and an elaborate backstory about how spaceships blew up and created a low-flying asteroid field that makes flight impossible in Defiance world. Events on the show will influence what's happening in the game and Trion's rendering image is supposed to able to update the game in near-real time around the world.
Comcast owns Syfy and they'll win in a big way if Defiance takes off. First, you need cable to watch the show. Comcast will sell you some of that. Then you'll need an internet connection to play the game and a pretty fast one to take full advantage on the game's capabilities. Comcast sells that, too. Eventually, we could see lunchboxes, t-shirts, theatrical movies, smartphone games, novelizations, the whole Star Trek/Star Wars money-spinning experience.
Of course none of this works if either the TV show or the game doesn't catch fire. They both have to be great, especially since MMO games have declined in popularity since World of Warcraft peaked about three years ago.
Check out the trailer for the TV show:
And, if you're committed, here's an hour-long walkthrough of Defiance gameplay.
If you're not, here's the game trailer from E3 last year: