The Defiance Disconnect

By: Gary

During the summer of last year Syfy released a ‘pretty ok’ TV show that offered an interesting take on a dystopian future. Zombies, Nuclear holocaust, asteroids, and so on have always been the cause of a post-apocalyptic world in most recent works. Defiance added a new cause to the ‘end of the world’ as we know it. Defiance took place on an Earth 30 years or so in the future in which an entire solar system of Aliens sought refuge on planet Earth. Lucky for them Earth just so happened to accommodate all 8 vastly different races of the Votan System. The landscape of Earth was changed greatly when the Votans arrived for reasons not fully explained. Syfy teamed up with game developer Trion Worlds to produce a video game based on the show. It was teased as an “Entertainment Experience like no other”. Watchers were encouraged to login to the game to keep the experience going between episodes and that “what happened in the game would affect the show” and vice versa.

The game was disappointing. It had very little to do with the show other than the name. The game took place in San Francisco while the Show took place in St. Louis. There were only 2 playable races when the game launched (a 3rd race was added later) as opposed to the 5+ seen on the first episode. The game also focused heavily on Von Bach Industries and weapons/gadgets made by them. The show never mentioned Von Bach. The main connection between the two were a set of very brief missions involving the shows protagonists Nolan and Irisa. One character that left the show did appear as a small cameo later on but, never on the level that was originally promised.

A few episodes in they announced the first Impacting quest in the game that would affect the show. A ‘sickness’ outbreak was spreading in San Francisco and it was up to the Ark Hunters of the game to stop it from spreading. The ‘sickness’ was a lot like the typical zombie virus. Supposedly, you killing wave after wave of these zombie like creatures would help develop a medicinal cure to save others from infection. The cure was completed in the nick-of-time (surprise, surprise) and was mentioned in less than ½ of a sentence on the show. The show’s version of the sickness was much like the flu/tuberculosis. No one went on a killing spree or got hungry for flesh but, instead sweat and coughed up blood. Pretty anticlimactic for all that work they forced you to do if you were playing the game.

Defiance the game was somewhat of a rip-off of Gearbox’s Borderlands. It was a pretty generic 3rd person shooter in a ‘wasteland’ with randomly generated loot. The game focused heavily around ‘Ark Falls’ that took the place of boss battles from most games. An “Ark Fall” in the show was a huge deal. Arks were the massive, technology filled, sentient space ships the Votans used to make their way to Earth. Ark Hunters sought out these ships and raided them to make money by selling off the valuable objects from within. The game used “Ark Fall” as a random event which generally had you killing giant bugs that were in 1 episode of the show. Ark hunters in the game just referred to everyone who played. It was pretty disappointing going from 2 entirely different things all for the sake of wanting more content.

I got a key to the Beta for the game and the launcher was so broken I couldn’t even participate in my first scheduled window for the Beta. Once the final version came out, I didn’t have any issues playing. I went into the game looking for more background on characters and lore. I only found a mediocre Borderlands copy that was set hundreds of miles away for the Defiance from the show. Why two different cities? Why not just let us play in Defiance (St. Louis)?

The game would have been a better experience if you could visit locations and characters directly from the TV show. If it were the same place you would have been able to feel closer to the city of Defiance and felt more connected to the show. It really was a bummer that they spent so much money on the game when the money could have been better allocated giving us more episodes or content on the show.

Defiance is rated “M” and is available in the Bargain Bin for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.


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