The SyFy Channel and Trion Worlds (Rift) are embarking on a new, ambitious concept this April: Launching a new television series that is linked with a massively multiplayer online (MMO) shooter. This concept has never before been tried by a media corporation, television or game. Typically MMOs based on film/television IP come along well after the source material is off the air, and to the best of my knowledge there are no films/television shows that have been produced based on the IP of a MMO (but that is soon to change).
The concept is that the show will develop the story, background and characters, while the game will allow fans of the show (and vice versa) to experience some of the live action online. In other words, this is a new world that fans can experience both passively and actively…capturing as much of the market as possible.
This is a ground up multimedia effort reportedly costing SyFy/NBC Universal upwards of $100 million. This is a huge risk considering that science fiction is a niche market on television. I believe they are hoping to catch a tiger by the tail by attracting customers to the game (scifi is not niche in the gaming world) which will funnel them to the television show.
In preparation for the April launch (show and game) Defiance is accepting applications for beta access. The “Advanced Mission Beta 1” will run January 18-20, and feature tutorial missions, a handful of maps and modes to get players (and the developers) primed for launch.
Here’s a brief description of the game:
Being developed for the PC, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Defiance unites the MMORPG and Shooter game genres across the most popular platforms.
In Defiance, the future is a dangerous place. Starship wreckage is raining to Earth in massive “Arkfall” events that transform the landscape. Experience one first-hand as countless other players – and a star from the Syfy series – battle to survive and profit. Watch Ark Hunters wield the weapons of tomorrow against alien-hybrid horrors in a dynamic, scaling encounter, then travel seamlessly through a unified world into the weekly TV series. This – Defiance – is the future of transmedia entertainment.
And below is a video showing the third person shooter action of this MMO: