Syfy moves ahead with experimental Defiance

Posted by CB Droege

Syfy has found a director for Defiance, an upcoming series described by the network as an experimental television show/video game project.

Scott Stewart, who recently helmed the action film Priest, is going to direct the show, which already boasts Rockne S. O’Bannon as lead writer.

Of course, video game tie-ins for genre television shows is not a new concept.

Fortunately, Defiance is adopting a unique angle.

This project, announced last year by Syfy, will combine the video game and television show into a parallel experience, where each will affect the other.

Imagine: there is a war on. The characters in the television show are smack in the middle of this war, which is actually controlled and influenced by the players of the accompanying video game.

For example, when battles are won in the game, those skirmishes are referenced in the show, and the plot and characters are affected by success or defeat. Similarly, if one of the show characters executes a secret mission to plant a bomb in an enemy base, that base is destroyed back in the game world.

This is essentially the idea behind Defiance, which is being developed by Trion.

Clearly, getting the project to line up and properly balance will be a tremendous juggling act for the teams involved. This likely means shooting multiple versions of certain scenes, or at the very least, shooting each episode precariously close to its air date.

The official Defiance synopsis is thus:

"Set on a future Earth, Defiance introduces players and viewers to a world where humans and aliens live together on a planet transformed by decades of conflict. The game combines the intense action of a 'AAA' console shooter, with the persistence, scale, and customization of an MMO, while its TV counterpart weaves the rich tapestry of the world into a series with the scope, characters, and drama of a classic sci-fi epic. Because they exist in a single universe, the show and the game will influence each other and evolve together over time, with actions in both mediums driving the overall story of Defiance."

Personally, I can’t help but visualize this show in full CGI, especially considering the previous announcement that the show will "feature some players’ characters ... as extras," which would be tough to do on the fly with human actors.

However, the medium of the show has not yet been confirmed.