New Syfy Series Defiance Blends Sci-Fi TV with Video Game Universe

By April 2, 2013

Any kid who created his or her own imaginary universe growing up probably dreamed of seeing their creation experience massive crossovers across tons of media platforms. Characters could leap from the pages of a comic book to a TV show on the small screen, and – if the brand got popular enough – maybe it could culminate in a theater with an epic movie adventure.

Hang on just a second. I’m being handed an update now…OK, apparently I was the only one who dreamed of that stuff. Regardless, it’s a pretty cool concept, and with Marvel Studios bringing huge crossovers to the big screen that had (until recently) only been seen in comic books, the concept seems even more realistic in 2013. Now, the Syfy Channel is taking the first logical steps toward building a truly interactive universe by launching a new property called “Defiance” as both a TV show and a video game, where the events in each actually influence the other.

The show takes place about 30 years in the future, after an alien race called the Votans began a war with humans that left Earth scarred and transformed nearly beyond recognition. It seems to be a blend of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” (scrappy former soldiers are forced to brave dangerous terrain and hunt for wreckage to make money) and FOX’s “Terra Nova” (often utilizing impressive visual effects and centering on a central city in an untamed land). It stars Grant Bowler (“True Blood”), Julie Benz (“Dexter,” Rambo) and a cast full of up-and-comers, and you can watch the first 14 minutes of the pilot episode for free right here. If you’re pressed for time, check out the much shorter trailer for the series below:

The game is an open world shooter in which you play as an Ark Hunter, competing with thousands of other players in a search for alien technology. You can team up with friends or go it alone, but we’re guessing it’d probably be wise to have a few buddies with you when you take on some of the huge-scale creatures this game has in store for you. Watch the game trailer to see what we mean:

This is the first time a TV show and a video game have shared an ongoing universe at the same time, and it’s fascinating to think about how the two will complement and influence each other. Could massive battles won by you and your friends in the game inspire the writers to change the scripts? Will characters on the show reference your video game character by name? There are endless possibilities, and we’re excited to see what kind of impact this could have on gaming, TV, and the entertainment industry in general.

The TV segment of “Defiance” premieres on April 15th at 9pm/8pm Central on Syfy, and the game is available for purchase right now on PC, XBox 360, and Playstation 3.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.