Syfy Channel & ‘Rift’ Creator Trion Team Up To Create TV Series/MMO Video Game Fusion
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Every once in a while a project so dauntless and ambitious that you almost have to cringe at what might happen if it all falls apart comes along, but with these projects also comes a pure excitement at the thought of them working. NBC Universal’s Syfy Channel and Trion Worlds have just such a project in the making, and if it works like they want it to work, it could quite literally change the world of entertainment forever and ever.

Here’s the basic idea: Trion, who’s latest title, Rift, has many saying that MMORPGs that aren’t World of Warcraft can be made and enjoyed, have entered into a partnership to create a brand new currently untitled TV series AND online video game — currently being called a Syfy Action MMO — that live and breathe as one entity. Confusing, right?

Be sure to continue on below to read much more and see a video about the tricky concept behind this. You can also see more images like the one above that are assumed to be concept art from the game by heading to Trion’s website.

The show will have its own writers and staff to control the main storyline and what happens with the main characters, but the show will also be completely set within the same world as the MMOG you and I could be playing. And it’s what we do within that game that dictates the history of this fictional world that this show is set in.

For example: the show itself is born of the science fiction genre, set in a futuristic world where aliens have arrived on our planet. Before long, the extraterrestrials are now living among us, and everything has changed — much like the inter-galactic species living amongst each other in movies like District 9 (sorta) and Star Wars.

While the small group of characters on the TV series progress through their stories in that world, many great battles will be taking place elsewhere, setting the background events. WE would be the ones fighting those battles, and whoever wins/whatever implications may come of said battle, would ultimately play into the storyline of the show itself.

Imagine for a moment you’re on your latest MMO quest, and you end up in the middle of a crucial battle before you single-handedly take out the opposing force’s leader, helping to win the battle. You then might see the story of this battle written into the storyline of the TV series on Syfy. And the gameplay? It’s described as being a “3rd-person action-shooter with visceral gun play, providing a more intense gaming experience than standard MMO RPGs.”

Again, if they could pull this off it would truly be something to see and partake in. I’ve personally never played an MMORPG in my life and really had no interest in ever bothering with one in the future. But now, with this proposed project, I can’t help but be really, really intrigued by what they want to do.

The only speedbump would appear to be the sale of NBC Universal to Comcast. As you can see in the video below, General Electric was still the owner as this was all unfolding, and it’s unclear whether Comcast is looking to halt or change anything, or if they’re just letting them move forward as if nothing happened.

What do you sci-fi show and MMO fans think? Is this something you could see changing the face of interactive entertainment, or is it simply too big a mountain for anyone to climb at present day?


[Source: via Hero Complex]


  1. Most things seem like a step too far until somebody goes out there and does them.

    This is a hell of an under taking but I’m not sure if it would pan out.

    MMO’s are not regular games. They don’t have a fixed shelflife before they get replaced by version 2 with shinier graphics**cough** Call of duty **cough**. They would have to be patient.

    Couple that with Syfy the most impatient network on the planet. A network that actually seems to want little to do with sci-fi in the first place.

    I think anybody undertaking this project would need patience. Would need to take their time to let the fanbase grow.

    Otherwise I see no reason why it couldn’t eventually grow into a successful platform. Most games have high development overheads and even when developers put games out that are extremely successful, those developers often lose money.

    The year Modern Warfare was released Activison was hundreds of millions in the red. MMO’s on the other hand even when not very successful have enough clout to keep a developer in the green. It is an absolutely enormous market and this seems like an interesting way to tap it.

    I suspect patience could equal ching ching. I also suspect Syfy is more interested in WWE than sci-fi and patience. Perhaps somebody else will do it correctly.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 25, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  2. I think the issue with making any narrative work out of an MMORPG is that as a player, you may be the lead character in YOUR development, but you are only a footsoldier in terms of the game lore and overall world dynamics. World of Warcraft, for example, has no “lead hero” – only big bad bosses. This lets you as a player “be the one to defeat X” but of course every other player has the same opporunity. It will be interesting to see the show try to balance the narrative imbalance of a game that is meant to be experienced solo (or in small groups, but effectively small scale).
    That said, screen shots of Rift are gorgeous – does any TV show have the budget to keep up, visually? Also: the /chicken dances belong to Imagine Entertainment. Will they be in the show too?

    Comment by Karina M — March 28, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

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