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Defiance [game]

Entry updated 5 May 2016. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (2013). Trion Worlds. Platforms: PS3, Win, XB360.

The Television series Defiance (2013-current) is set on a near future Earth which has been transformed into an alien frontier. In the programme's backstory a civilization made up of diverse alien species arrives from another star, looking for a new home after the destruction of their own solar system. (The most prominent writer for the show, Rockne S O'Bannon, previously worked on Alien Nation [1988], a film with a somewhat similar premise.) War with humanity eventually follows, an outcome which proves disastrous for both cultures and ultimately leads to a negotiated peace. By the time of the television programme Earth has become a patchwork of Alien and human enclaves, a background that allows for the creation of a kind of Wild West milieu where contemporary American culture is mingled with alien Technologies, bizarrely mutated animals (see Mutants) and exotic Extraterrestrials. The end result is an adequate, if uninspired, adventure series. It is perhaps indicative of a certain lack of thought that Earth's transformation into a partially alien world is repeatedly described as being the result of the accidental release of the aliens' Terraforming devices, though the effect of this technology has clearly been to make the planet less like Earth (or Terra) and more like an extraterrestrial body; Xenoforming might be a more apt term for this process.

The Syfy network, which commissioned the tv series, also collaborated with Trion Worlds to create a Massively Multiplayer Online Game in the form of a Third Person Shooter set in the same world. While this has been marketed as a transmedia experience, it could perhaps be better described as a license; the game is set in the remains of San Francisco while the events of the series occur near St Louis, and with the exception of a few crossover characters there seems to be little connection between them. The MMOG is centrally concerned with the phenomenon of "Arkfalls", in which valuable loot – in the form of debris from the aliens' shattered starships – regularly drops from orbit to the surface, where it can be scavenged by players' characters. As with its parent, the game of Defiance could be said to offer acceptable, if somewhat generic, entertainment. [NT]


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