“Defiance” is Syfy’s newest foray into original scripted series. It is a show that features a post-alien war Earth, where humans and the alien species Votans live together after seven years of bloody conflict. The show picks up in 2046, 26 years after the wars ended.
In addition to a weekly program on Syfy, the show has partnered with Trion gaming to launch a corresponding video game, available for PC, XBOX and Playstation. “Defiance” executive producer Kevin Murphy and Trion VP of Development Nathan Richardsson spoke with the press recently about how the game will work hand-in-hand with the show — which has been several years in the making.
“It took five years of development to get the video game up and running, which is not unusual for a video game,” says Murphy. “And it took that long to kind of figure out how it would work as a television show. I came on board the project about two years ago and kind of got us over the finish line, in terms of the shared world.”
“With geographical difference, and also of course selecting the right kind of world and intellectual property that actually fit for both mediums, both parties are actually quite free to tell pretty compelling stories,” adds Richardsson.
He speaks of the fact that “Defiance” the television program is set in St. Louis, with the famous Arch as one of the distinct landmarks, while the video game is set in 2046 San Francisco.
One of the challenges of such a project is making sure these two parallel worlds have synergy, which Murphy says will just enhance the experiences on both sides.
“Whenever there’s something that serves the needs of the game, we work it into the mythology of the show. And if there’s something that’s important for the show, the game works it into their mythology,” Murphy explains. “And that allows for, I think, a better gaming experience and a better, hopefully, television viewing experience.”
Keeping track of all that information is no easy feat. Syfy and Trion actually created a position in order to have someone presiding over the details of both the game and the show.
“We created … a mythology coordinator, who serves as kind of an editor between what goes into the game and what goes into the television show and helps define connections,” says Murphy.
“Make sure that every — that there’s nothing we do in the show that contradicts the reality of the game … and that everything that we’re doing is exactly so that when a gamer watches the show, they really have a feeling of recognition.”
These parallel worlds inevitably will have some of the same characters, one would imagine. Murphy assures us that there will be some crossover — but he’s not divulging the details just yet.
“There’s a fair bit [of crossover]. I’m going to be a little coy about it because I also don’t want to — I don’t want to lay it all out and create a situation where we have spoilers,” says Murphy.
He goes on to speak of the Venn diagram of television viewers versus gamers and how the intersection of the two groups will be the show’s “super fans.”
“What we want to do is create an amazing experience for all of our immersive super fans, while at the same time making this enterprise accessible to the people who are just interested in the television show or just interested in playing the game,” says Murphy. “And hopefully over time we intrigue them and tickle their curiosity and … create more super fans.”
“We have to be very, very tricky in how we go about creating our crossovers because we have to make sure that when we do a crossover element that the, you know, that the one side doesn’t feel that they’ve missed a chapter, or they don’t feel frustrated … We’ve had to be really, really careful at making sure that our crossovers are done in a way that they work on two levels, that they work for the gamer, the viewer and the super fan.”
“Defiance” the video game is out now, while the show premieres Monday, April 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.