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E3 2012: The world of Defiance


Can Defiance work? The cross-media venture between Trion Worlds and Syfy is one of the most interesting projects in the industry right now, if for no other reason than that a TV/MMO crossover has never been done before. At least, not like this.

We hunted down the Trion crew at E3 this week to play the Xbox version of the title and chat with the devs about the setting and specifics of this game. While Jef will have his hands-on impressions of Defiance in the next The Firing Line column, we wanted to share some of the lore and setting that the devs talked about at the expo.

Join us after the jump for a look at the world of Defiance!

E3 2012 Defiance
A losing war

Both Defiance the TV show and Defiance the MMOFPS take place following a surprise alien invasion. Giant alien ark ships land on Earth, bringing with them several species intent on colonizing the planet. They weren't entirely prepared for the fact that Earth was already populated, and a giant apocalyptic battle ensued.

Defiance picks up 40 years after the aliens attempted to colonize and terraform the planet. The war may be over, but the wreckage and chaos have left behind a radically changed landscape. Humans and aliens are learning how to live with each other, and in many cases, it leads to sporadic conflict.

Players will step into the role of an Ark Hunter, a mercenary out for fortune and glory. The Ark Hunters roam the planet looking for alien ships to investigate and loot for their advanced technology.

As alien Arks are still floating in orbit, they are constantly dropping from the sky and presenting new opportunities for aggressive scavenging. Trion calls these Arkfalls, and they're one of the centerpieces of the game. Arkfalls are giant open-world events, similar to the rifts of RIFT, which will attract players from all over. When one occurs, it's a major event that changes the look and feel of the world around it.

E3 2012 Defiance
Other details

Unlike many current and forthcoming MMOFPSes, Defiance will be not a lobby-based shooter but a persistent-world title. There will be visual customization and progression, although the game's version of classes will be mostly tied up in your weapon of choice. The dev we spoke with said that he's mostly a sniper, and he's focused on modding his rifle to increase its range and damage. He also said that there's a healer-type gun that shoots buffs and heals at allies.

"We want players to get around pretty easily in this universe," said the Trion rep. He told us that players will be able to call up their personal vehicles at any time for rapid transport around the world and zones. The driving isn't just for transportation; you can hit turbo boosts and enjoy sweet jumps that are littered throughout the world. There are even combat vehicles, we were told.

For collectors, Trion Worlds is hiding plenty of shinies around the world for explorers to seek out and find. The game's story is important as well, and the dev said that there would be numerous personal instances that are geared toward delivering the core tale of Defiance.

The dev confirmed that players on different platforms (for example, Xbox and PC) will "be in their own silos" and unable to interact with each other. Defiance will, however, have a strong PvP component, although Trion said that it's holding off until Gamescom to show that side of the game.

Defiance is launching April of 2013 to coincide with the TV series' premiere. It will simultaneously release in North America and Europe and will feature French and German localization.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 4-7, bringing you all the best news from E3 2012. We're covering everything from PlanetSide 2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge to RIFT's and LotRO's upcoming expansions, so stay tuned!

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