Defiance, the new MMOFPS from Trion Worlds, is taking a unique approach to building a loyal fan-base for its franchise by almost simultaneously releasing an action-packed television series alongside the triple-A online game. Both the game and the show have received great reviews from fans, since the show’s premier on April 15th, 2013 and the game’s release two weeks earlier on April 2nd.
The pilot episode of the TV series follows two scavengers, a human and his adopted alien daughter, living in the wastelands of a destroyed Earth, years after a global war between humanity and several alien races ended in a treaty of peace. The pair find themselves in the town of Defiance, once called St. Louis, where humans and aliens are working together to survive and maintain peace. After solving a murder to raise money to move along in their journey, the pair find themselves fighting alongside the people of Defiance to ward off an attack by the viscous Vulge.
The MMOFPS places players into this same setting, allowing them to roam an open world battling factions and forces at war with other and attempting to destroy Defiance itself. Players can team up for fast-paced multiplayer action in zones that are not as strict on player levels as other games in the genre, or they can battle other players in intense real-time PvP combat, regardless of which platform players prefer: PC, XBOX 360 or PS3.
After going all-in with a far-reaching marketing campaign throughout the month of April, Trion Worlds and Syfy have seen great initial success with the new franchise. Let’s explore how this strategy can make this game a strong competitor on both fronts.
For me, the beauty of the two-pronged strategy is the extra level of immersion it provides into the world of the franchise. I find it increasingly difficult to become immersed in the story or world of massively multiplayer games, as mechanics and gear seem to be the most important considerations in the modern iterations of the genre. Although considerations of balance, controls, progression and mechanics come into play heavily in these kinds of games, immersion in story and lore is what turns avid players into loyal super-fans.
Defiance the TV show allows fans of the game to sit back and immerse themselves in the action-packed stories of a post-apocalyptic world, while the game allows fans of the TV series to actually participate in that world. This is the secret sauce behind countless movie-themed video games and video-game themed movies, but the genius of Defiance is that both outlets will grow together and build upon each other in real time, while each pulls more players and viewers into fandom simultaneously.
We’ve seen this multi-channel strategy employed recently with the television series “Level Up” and the accompanying game “Conquerer of All Worlds,” but Defiance presents much more of a blockbuster experience on TV and a triple-A experience on PC, XBOX 360 and PS3.