MMO shooter SyFy TV show

Launching a massively multiplayer online game is always a major undertaking, but developer Trion Worlds might have set a new high mark for technical difficulty with the debut of its latest title.

Yesterday, Trion finally released its MMO third-person shooter Defiance for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC for $59.99. The studio began work on the game in 2008, so finally getting it out the door marks a major milestone for the company.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of all the teams that got together and made this a reality today,” Trion executive producer Nathan Richardson told GamesBeat yesterday. “We didn’t exactly choose the easiest route.”

The lengthy development time and simultaneous release across three platforms doesn’t begin to describe the complexities of Defiance’s debut. The title also ties into a major SyFy television show of the same name that debuts April 15.

To even call it a “tie-in” is a bit of a misnomer. Defiance, the game and the show, are symbiotic entities that will directly affect one another — a “transmedia” project. According to Trion, the show will reflect the actions of the players in the MMO game. It’s not clear how that will happen, but Trion and SyFy are both hoping that the curiosity will drive each audience to the other product.

If one fails, the other may falter as a consequence. So Trion and SyFy have a lot riding on the success of the game and show.

Richardson went on to list some of the issues his team had to solve when creating Defiance: “Massively multiplayer on PC, Xbox, and PS3? Sure. Connect it to a TV show? Why not. Launch at the same time, no delays possible? OK. Wait, multiple territories, integrated with Microsoft and Sony infrastructures, and it’s a shooter? Yup. Also add microtransactions as well as an aggressive free and paid downloadable-content schedule. OK.”