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Syfy cancels Defiance TV show, but game 'will continue exactly as before,' says Trion

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Syfy has canceled the science-fiction series Defiance after three seasons, the network announced today, although Trion Worlds, the studio behind the show's accompanying video game, says the MMO will live on.

Defiance was conceived as a transmedia project, with the producers of the game and show weaving storylines and characters across both properties in the same universe. The TV series premiered on Syfy in mid-April 2013, two weeks after Trion Worlds launched the game on PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360. Defiance's third season finished airing this past August; Variety reports that the finale pulled in a 0.51 rating in the 18-49 demographic, with an estimated 1.925 million viewers in Nielsen's "live plus-3" ratings.

"Defiance was a truly groundbreaking series, delivering an immersive, cross-platform experience that transcended the television screen in a way that viewers had never seen before," said Syfy in a statement to Polygon. "We are incredibly proud of the work of the extraordinary cast, writers, artists and designers — and especially showrunner Kevin Murphy — who together brought the rich world of Defiance to life over its three season arc."

Syfy also passed along a statement from Murphy, who said, "I got to collaborate with a group of stunning artists operating at the top of their game, and together we built a world. Because of that, there is no room for anything other than joy in my heart."

Reached for comment on Syfy's cancellation of Defiance, Trion Worlds told Polygon that it is treating the news as a "fond farewell" for the TV series.

"We've had a great time working closely with the team of stellar writers, designers, producers, and actors on the Defiance TV show," said Scott Hartsman, CEO of Trion Worlds. "Like many of you, we've all enjoyed the stories they told week in and week out. Let's treat this as a fond farewell, in celebration of a successful three year run of a show that broke a lot of new ground and brought an incredible quality experience to its viewers.

Trion Worlds turned the Defiance MMO into a free-to-play title in June 2014. The studio said all along that it would continue making the game even if the show ended, and Hartsman reiterated that notion in his statement today.

"As for the game and its future, Defiance is Trion's IP and the game will continue exactly as before," said Hartsman. "The show has always been a fantastic and interesting partner, but the two were always meant to be able to stand on their own, which is why the show was primarily set in St. Louis and the game in the SF Bay Area."

For more on Defiance, check out our original review.

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