Telling a Tale in Defiance

I think everyone was rather skeptical as to how this whole “Transmedia Synergy” thing was going to work out between the T.V show and the Game and so far I think It’s doing reasonably well. I didn’t expect any drastic crossovers to start with as the whole thing is in more of an introductory phase, learn more about the world and characters and hopefully become immersed within this new universe.

In the end I opted not to buy and be involved with the game, it has a lot going for it and is a fun experience but, like with a lot of games it comes to decision based on time and  unfortunately Defiance lost out to other games. The surprising bit though is that  am still very much enjoying watching the T’V show and regardless of whether you play the game it stands very well on its on. This is a testament to how well they have developed and structured both in regards to the story being presented and the characters that are a part of it.

It would have been a very hard balance to attain; just enough crossover between the two that it enriches the experience of both and has you learning new bits of information but not to have people feeling left out or confused based on missing key bits of information. They both stand very well on their own and regardless of what happens I think either could theoretically function well on its own, I hope too that they both can continue and see where Trion wants to take them both.

The new promotional activities beginning soon/now(?) are a nice start to tying in the two types, this is the part people were really excited about in regards to the original idea for the game and show and it’s great to see this finally coming through. Having people be engaged in Ark Hunting to win this prize was a great idea as it was really emphasizes one of the main mechanics of Defiance (arkfalls) and highlights the multi-player aspects. It seems like a rather basic way to bring in a person’s character and considering the limited nature of the character creator they probably have a lot of the basic CGI stuff worked out already but it is still a rather uplifting thing for the community right now.

It is just the beginning in many regards and it does make you imagine what is going to be next, how else can they tie in the players characters in new, interesting, and meaningful ways.

The other thing I really like about separation between game and T.V and Game is how this gives them a lot more options on how to tell a story. MMO’s are often an inadequate tool for telling a story, they often borrow too heavily on the techniques of single player games and movies and too much of it can either impede or intrude on the players gameplay.

So far Defiance has done this right in both parts, the game, while having a few cut-scenes focus’ more on the player actions and the T.V is a focused tale of the world. Having the Show makes the gameplay feel far less clustered as it gives them a better alternative for story-telling; the visuals, environments and limited story scenes are enough to orientate someone to the world and this way the game doesn’t have to be bogged down in exposition. It’s a hard line though in many ways as they can’t rely on the TV show too much as you need at least some direction of the story to orientate and avoid confusion, and you would not understand the characters if not enough is said or explained.

Defiance has done this reasonably well. The story in both modes feels separate as both could be rather self-contained, which is good considering the turbulent nature of both media types. There is enough though that they also feel connected, you gain more from enjoying both which is very clever marketing as I’m sure both types are getting more viewers/players then if they had done it alone. The one part I think needs improving at the moment is that the characters in the game feel rather shallow with a set stereotypical personality that rarely develops much. There has been some decent growth in the characters in the show and it would be nice for people playing if this also translated in-game with cross over characters and those just centralised in San Fransisco.

Other than that, so far both have been well-developed and I’m looking forward to watching them both develop in tandem as well as in their own ways…I may even grab the game at a later date.