When Defiance launched in 2013, it carried the promise of a cross-media franchise where TV was more deeply integrated into a game than we'd ever seen before. The game was introduced alongside a show on the NBC-owned channel Syfy, and, we were promised, things that happened in the game would impact the show and vice versa.
Over a year has passed, and we're now in the midst of Defiance's second season — the TV show, that is. Both ratings and critical reactions are solid, and a third season renewal seems likely if not exactly guaranteed. But modern-day Syfy isn't particularly well-known for long-lasting shows. What happens to the game when the show inevitable comes to a conclusion?
I posed this question to Defiance's current lead designer, Trick Dempsey, and he expressed confidence in the game's ability to survive.
"We were standing alone for nine months after the first season of the show ended," Dempsey said. "We do really have a stunning following. Defiance has its own legs and runs on its own really well."
Despite that certainty, Dempsey definitely wants the show to keep going. "I really like working with the guys at NBC," he said. "They can tell stories inside the Defiance universe that we would not excel at. We do the shooting and the violence and the things falling from the sky better than the television show could reasonably spend the money to do. But interpersonal stories are very hard in a digital space. Trying to tell a romance with polygons just slapping against each other is very sad."
Though not wanting to spoil any specifics, Dempsey hinted that the end of Defiance's second season is "more open-ended," leaving a lot of possibilities about where a third season and indeed the Defiance universe as a whole could go. He also wants to work more directly with the show's creative team to come up with some new twists on how to interweave the game and the show in a potential next season.
"We would definitely survive if there were no season three," Dempsey said. "But I would be much happier if there were."
Defiance developer Trion Worlds announced today that it will be releasing a free expansion to the game titled "Silicon Valley" on August 5. The action MMO went free-to-play earlier this year. You can check out our review right here.