Speaking exclusively to Sci-Fi Bulletin, Alien Nation and Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon has discussed the challenges involved with scripting the television incarnation of Defiance, the very first interconnected video game and TV programme, developed over the past three years by Trion Worlds and Syfy.
Defiance is set on a future Earth, and introduces players and viewers to a world where humans and aliens live together on a planet transformed by decades of conflict. “When Syfy first approached me – and the more I heard about what they were attempting - I just kept getting more and more excited,” O’Bannon said today. “The grand experiment of building an MMO game simultaneously with the development of a TV series is just such a great challenge. And one that promises a kind of kaleidoscopic storytelling that I just couldn’t resist. This series is going to be huge. A true saga of future Earth – that you not only watch, but that you can actually enter and be a part of through the game.”
According to Trion’s press release, the game “combines the intense action of a ‘AAA’ console shooter, with the persistence, scale, and customization of an MMO, while its TV counterpart weaves the rich tapestry of the world into a series with the scope, characters, and drama of a classic sci-fi epic. Because they exist in a single universe, the show and the game will influence each other and evolve together over time, with actions in both mediums driving the overall story of Defiance.” The game’s website promises that some players’ characters may feature on the TV shows as extras. The game’s story will take place in the San Francisco bay area, while the TV series will be set just outside St. Louis, Missouri.
“No one’s attempted this before,” Dave Howe, president of Syfy told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a groundbreaking coming together of a TV development team and a game development team to create the first truly immersive, 24/7 interactive story that bridges online gaming and the TV world in a unique way…
“As avid consumers of storytelling, our audience has always really wanted to experience what I call the Holy Grail of interactivity – the ability to live 24/7 with the characters in the stories and experience the mythology first-hand. Being able to tap into the game world and create something that lives along side and complements the TV series will allow us to do immersive storytelling in a way that we’ve never been able to do before.”
The game portion was unveiled behind closed doors at the E3 Expo this week for players on Xbox, Playstation 3 and PC, but no date has yet been set for the official simultaneous release of the game and TV show.