Sci-fi TV show ''Defiance'' dovetails drama with video game

Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:15pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Science-fiction drama "Defiance" wants to go where no television series has gone before, weaving a show with an online video game to achieve the elusive goal of parlaying success on one entertainment platform to another.

The new series, which premieres on U.S. cable channel Syfy on April 15, tells the story of frontier town Defiance, formerly St. Louis, in the near future following a 30-year war between humans and seven alien races.

Syfy last week released a multi-player, plot-based video game, developed with Trion Worlds, that lets users build their own personas and explore the landscape of a reshaped Earth in the San Francisco area. The game is made for Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox360 and PC.

Spinning a film or TV series into a video game, or vice versa, is nothing new. But producers say "Defiance" is the first to weave both game and show together at the same time. The video game alone took some five years to create.

Known in the entertainment industry as the "second screen," the concept lets viewers engage with a show on a second platform on which networks pin hopes for additional advertising sales and cementing a dedicated fan base.

"What's unusual about what we're doing ... is we're building the second-screen concept into the actual DNA of the show-game combo," "Defiance" executive producer Kevin Murphy told Reuters.

"We're working to make a terrific serialized drama that stands on its own, but we understand that what has people watching us is the fact that this cross-platform promotional is something very, very desirable."

"Defiance" will be a guinea pig for the viability of merging media like video games with TV shows.   Continued...

A screengrab from the "Defiance" video game is seen in this undated photo. REUTERS/Trion Worlds