The world of video games is no stranger to multimedia tie-ins. Nary an action-packed summer blockbuster film gets made without a game to coincide with it and the number of TV-show themed games are countless. But beyond name and a digital rendering of the main cast there’s no real connection between the two products usually. Trion is hoping to change all that with their upcoming open world shooter, Defiance by making it have direct relevance to the SyFy original series of the same name. Things you do in the game will have relevance to the show and the show will affect the game. While we can’t be sure exactly what that means just yet, there’s still plenty to check out the game while we wait for both titles to launch.
Some time in the future an alien race called the Voltans has migrated to Earth and terraformed it. After a long war that did not end well, survivors on both sides of the conflict have joined forces to ensure the survival of both species in a post-apocalyptic world. While the main characters from the TV series will have a presence throughout the game, you’ll take on the role of your own ark hunter, a freelance merc out on the hunt for lost technology as part of a research team deep in the heart of a ravaged futuristic San Francisco.
Anyone who’s had to spend 5 minutes on a MUNI Bus or walked through the tenderloin late at night in downtown SF has learned to deal with some seriously harsh climates. But the headcrab-esque hellbugs and mutant soldiers you’ll face in-game may actually end up presenting more of a hazard than the cities current conditions, if that’s even humanly possible. Giant glowing mushrooms protrude from mountainsides and buildings lie in ruin all around you.
Much of the gameplay resembles a mash-up of a third-person shooter like Gears of War with its bleak ruins and military encampments mixed with many of the mechanics from the Borderlands Halo series. For instance, you’re quests are guided by an Environmental Guardian Online device (EGO) that communicates to you via the form of female AI that also runs your HUD much like Cortana does for Master Chief, and supply shops have time-based specials similar to Marcus’ vending machines on Pandora. Alien weaponry can found with various elemental augments and attachments and augments for guns can be looted as well.
The EGO system also allows you access to unlockable active abilities, blur which gives you superspeed, weapon overdrive that gives your bullets extra damage for a limited time, cloaking, and decoy. As you unlock these, you’ll be granted access to various passive abilities that you can unlock as you level up via a square-grid skill tree. Early on you’ll be given access to the ability to summon an equipped vehicle whenever the need arises, making the large open-world environment much easier to get around. Defiance also allows players to drop in and out of parties easily with players they meet in the online world and hopes to offer seamless PvP as well.
Joining up for a Shadow war match will pit PvP teams against each other to capture and hold three checkpoints and reach X amount of points to win the round. But you could be miles away when the match starts, meaning you’ll have to haul ass on your ATV or in your pickup truck to get there before your opponent. Matches are fast paced and brutal, a strong lead can be cut short quickly especially if you’ve not managed to hunt down better gear than your opponents. For players looking for PvE experiences there will be giant monster boss events to join in on as well.
Defiance seems to have nuances from many MMO’s and shooters before it, but just like any other tie-in its popularity will not be based on the show itself. Some people like the Walking Dead show and some people like the comic book, so there’s always the chance they’ll have similar luck. It’s definitely a bold move to try and meld a TV show with a game and vice versa so intricately, so who knows what will change based upon the success of one or the other. And titles like this do tend to carry a stigma with them so there are a lot of hurdles for them to overcome. But Trion has a lot of experience in the MMO field, which should help lend the the game some credibility at the very least.
While there will be no cross-platform compatibility, Defiance will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC will only cost a one-time flat rate for the game. Defiance the game will be coming out April 2nd shortly before the show launches on the Syfy channel on April 15th, so keep an eye out for more on the game soon.