The SyFy channel has renewed its game-TV hybrid show, Defiance, for its third season on its network.
Trick Dempsey, the creative lead for the game at Trion Worlds, announced in a blog post that this new TV show season debuts in 2015.
Addressing “ark hunters,” as characters hunting for alien artifacts are called in the show, Dempsey said, “The New Frontier is changing. Votan and Human cities alike lay crumbling under the force of terraforming weaponry. Refugees flee onto the frontier, and warlords rise to stake their claim in the chaos.Is this the end of the Earth Republic? Will civilization descend into a new Pale War or will we rise above in a spirit of Defiance?”
Defiance is a grand “transmedia” experiment that combines a television show with a massively multiplayer online game from Trion Worlds. Both the series and the game share the same storyline and setting, but they feature different characters in different parts of the Earth after it has encountered an alien civilization.
The TV show has done better than the game, which was a commercial disappointment. It launched in 2013 to poor reviews after five years of development. But the Redwood City, Calif.-based Trion has converted it into a free-to-play online game and is still developing content for it.
In shifting away from “buy to play” fees, Trion moved in step with the inexorable trend of gaming. Free-to-play has taken hold as the preferred model for consuming games in social, mobile, and online titles. Only a handful of online games, like Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, are able to continue charging for subscriptions. Defiance required an upfront purchase, and then most content in the game was available for free.
Defiance had some huge advantages as it was jointly developed alongside a major SyFy TV show, which was a hit. The game was buggy. It was also confusing as it combined genres like an MMO, role-playing, and first-person shooter. It didn’t generate the kind of audiences that everyone expected, and it triggered some big management changes such as the appointment of Scott Hartsman, who headed the development of Trion’s first fantasy MMO, Rift, as the CEO of Trion Worlds.
A new addition to the game, dubbed Aftermath, is coming following the season two finale of the TV show that just aired. The new part of the game will have seven new missions and a bunch of other content coming as well. Trion has also added “mission replay” for all of the season two missions and matchmaking options for the season two mission maps.