Syfy’s New ‘Defiance’ Series Will Make MMOG Players Part of the Action [Video]

Part sci-fi drama, part massively multiplayer online game, Defiance gives the phrase “social TV” a whole new meaning. Premiering in Spring 2013, the the entertainment hybrid is a collaboration between game publisher Trion Worlds and the Syfy cable network. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Defiance.

In the video, Mark Stern, president of Syfy Original Content noted that “There has never been a time when a television network and a video game company have come together from the start to create something like this.”

The science fiction drama is set in Saint Louis 35 years into the future, in a world where aliens and human beings are forced to co-exist when an alien ship crashes to earth, bringing along new plants and animal species to repopulate a city now buried an dirt and debris.  Cast members include Grant Bowler, who played Cooter in True Blood; and Julie Bentz, who played Rita in Dexter.

Meanwhile, thousands of players will face similar challenges as they help establish a frontier town in a massive multi-player online game set in what used to be San Francisco. Trion will release the game on XBox360, Playstation3, and PC.

According to the show’s director, Scott Stewart, “the events of that virtual world will actually affect the story and the world of our show, and vice versa.” The video game is continuous, but the crossovers will happen while the series is running.

The experimental nature of the programming have fans both excited and apprehensive about its execution. After seeing the promo video on YouTube, a viewer wrote, “I’d watch it, but Syfy would just end up cancelling it. They cancel everything.” This sentiment rose to the top of the comment queue with 115 likes.

Earlier today, Syfy’s Twitter followers asked senior executive Craig Engler how and why shows are created only to be destroyed. “Viewers have tended to gravitate toward fantasy/supernatural in the last few years while sci-fi shows have struggled,” Engler graciously wrote in response to a question about popular genres. “However, I think we’ll see a resurgence of sci-fi shows soon. Something else people don’t realize is, networks are trying to make sci-fi work.”

Merging the two passions of science fiction with hardcore gaming might be one way to do it. “It’s never been attempted before,” said Syfy president David Howe. “It’s truly at the forefront of immersive storytelling experiences. It’s the Holy Grail of entertainment.”