Syfy — DVICE's shark-'n'-octopus-splicing parent company — has partnered with game publisher Trion Worlds to create a television-and-video game pairing that'll talk back and forth. Your actions in the game, for instance, will actually change the script of the show, and the game will change as the show progresses.
Called Defiance, Trion's game is a massively-multiplayer experience that promises all the action of a third-person shooter — say, Gears of War — with the scope, persistence and personalization of an MMO such as World of Warcraft. It's not the first time a game developer has blurred the lines between an FPS and an MMO. Probably the most well known is Planetside, which allows players to shoot it out over digital territory and gain experience to level up for access to better equipment.
That was back in 2003, though, and only the most die-hard Planetside fans remain (probably because the game also wants a monthly subscription). The game was never much of a success, and the few massively-multiplayer shooters that followed — most recently, All Points Bulletin — failed soon after launch.
What Planetside doesn't have — or in fact what any video game doesn't have, according to Syfy and Trion — is its own show that'll change and in turn influence the game world that players duke it out in. How far Syfy and Trion will evolve this concept has yet to be seen, but from the sounds of it you'll be able to interact characters introduced in the show and even influence their actions down the line.
That's also something that MMOs can't do very fluidly: evolve. It'll be interesting to see just how much the game world progresses as the show airs, and how that'll impact the player experience. In a game such as World of Warcraft completing an epic task such as killing a major character doesn't remove that character from the world. The dungeon will reset and the next set of adventurers go do the same — you could even kill said major character again if you want.
The implication here is that those kind of major player decisions would actually impact the television show and its canon, creating an ongoing and interactive storytelling experience. Pretty risky considering how widespread griefing is in the online scene, but we're sure Trion has something in place so a group of ne'er-do-wells couldn't just roll up and wipe out the show's cast.
We should know more when the game is officially announced next week at E3, but Trion has the game pegged for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.