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Defiance bringing MMO third-person shooting to PC, 360 and PS3

Justin McElroy

For as many games as we physically play at E3, we hear as many ambitious, high-concept pitches for games that are still quite a ways out. One presentation at Trion Worlds for the upcoming Defiance is about as ambitious as they come. Ready? Deep breath:

Defiance is an MMORPG/third-person shooter set to launch simultaneously on PS3, PC and 360 that's being created in conjunction with the SyFy network which will develop and launch a TV series of the same name, the events of which will bleed into the game and vice versa.

...Yeah, it's a mouthful.

A collection of alien societies learn that their solar system is collapsing. As a last ditch effort, they send arks filled with flora, fauna and inhabitants of their home world through the deepest reaches of space to an uninhabited planet. Only, it's not uninhabited.

It's ours. Like, we're here already watching Jersey Shore and buying things we don't need. Sorry, guys.

Tensions run high when the aliens arrive, and a group of humans take it upon themselves to attack the arks, sending their technology and lifeforms hurtling to Earth. Years later, we're still trying to rebuild society with the new arrivals. (Players will be able to choose when they create their characters whether they want to play as humans or aliens.)

The planet we saw in our demo was all but unrecognizable as our own. Ramshackle sheds dotted a jungle landscape that featured as much purple and neon blue as green. Of course, the alien vibe is reinforced by the image of around eight armor-clad soldiers taking shots at each other.

The skirmish we saw was brief, but the combat we saw could perhaps best be compared to a faster-paced Lost Planet with a dollop of Crysis. The latter comparison is drawn not just from the armor but from the powers the combatants show off like teleportation, sprinting, cloaking and decoys.

We see a mission hub, which will generate tasks for players (based on the location they're in) which they can team up on or solo. We're not seeing that though. Before the mission can even be accepted, a meteor strikes the ground a few feet from the team of combatants we're following. It's an "arkfall," a remnant of the ships that brought the aliens to our planet. The crystal within the arkfall is valuable, but it's being protected by three-story-high tentacles that our heroes have to bring down first. Moments after they loose the crystal, it opens to reveal ... another boss that has to be killed before the prize can be claimed. As the soldiers rush into the fray, the demo ends.

We don't see enough combat or character progression to know how compelling the core game will be, but the idea is so massive it's heard to not be excited by the prospect. Here's hoping SyFy and Trion can keep their ambition just as large as their tentacles.

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