Defiance MMO launches today, TV show to follow

The "transmedia" sci-fi game Defiance goes on sale today, with the first episodes of the show to air on 18 April.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
2 min read

The "transmedia" sci-fi game Defiance goes on sale today, with the first episodes of the show to air on 18 April.

The Defiance show cast. (Credit: SyFy)

Defiance is a bold and ambitious multiplatform collaboration between Trion Worlds (creator of the popular MMO Rift) and the SyFy channel to create a truly novel entertainment experience.

On one hand is the Defiance game: a massively multiplayer online (MMO) title available on PC, PS3 and Xbox (in fact, it's the first Xbox MMO). On the other hand is a science-fiction TV series starring Grant Bowler (Medivac), Julie Benz (Buffy), Mia Kirshner (Love and Human Remains) and many more.

They exist in a shared world — with shared characters — and large-scale events in one will be reflected in the other.

It was a challenge for both production teams, but Christian Arretche, design development manager at Trion Worlds, told CNET that is was a truly collaborative experience.

"From the outset, we said 'let's do this together'," Arretche said. "We didn't want to just go the traditional route of they make a show, we make a game about it. We wanted to work together and really do some world building."

The Defiance show has an initial 12-episode run, which will show on the sf channel in Australia, starting on 18 April.

The world of Defiance is set after an alien immigration attempt sees Earth terraformed into an unrecognisable landscape. As human and alien races try to mix together in this new world, society finds itself in an almost new Wild West as frontier towns open to provide a haven against the strange land beyond.

Arretche said that while the show and game are designed as a single world, they can also survive on their own. "We wanted people to be able to watch the show without playing the game and vice versa, but ultimately, we hope people will do both for a richer experience." Arratche also noted that either the show or the game could survive without the other — in other words, if the show finds itself cancelled, gamers won't lose the MMO environment.

Defiance the game is available from major retailers or online.