What’s the basic rundown of the setting and the storyline of what’s going on in the Defiance game?

We discussed early on with Syfy ideas that we have had, and they gave us some things like, ‘OK, what about this? It will work better for the show.’ And then we went off and wrote this bible about the Defiance world and how it got formed, and again, refined it more with Syfy. Essentially we’ve approached it along the lines that they were very interested in building a world that had very familiar elements. But at the same time we had to build a world that allowed players to explore it. In other words, we couldn’t build earth because it’s not necessarily exploration at that point. So we really came up with the idea of building a new earth, but usually how you do that is you blow it up. We found a way to do that in a way that would allow us to not just be post-apocalyptic brown, or gray, or anything like that. 

So, essentially the concept came up of aliens immigrating here from a solar system that they had to flee. And coming here, they didn’t come as conquerors, because we also didn’t want to go down the alien invasion route. They came here just to migrate and find a place to live because it’s the only place they found, and on their way they realized that we were already here, modern-day humans. 

They didn’t know that when they left their solar system. And there was multiple alien species that band together to build these giant arcs to come to this planet, but when they got here they weren’t necessarily welcome, because again, we were already here, and we were populating the planet pretty heavily. 

So they negotiated rights for colonization with the governments, because the governments really wanted to take advantage of the technology that the aliens had. And things start going back and forth and negotiations happen. 

The people who were going to be displaced by the colonization started to rise up, and at some point one of the alien ambassadors gets shot at the UN, and this kind of brings some chaos and instability on both sides. A war starts – what we call the Pale Wars. The fighting goes on and on, and not just between humans and aliens, but between humans and humans, and aliens and aliens, because they weren’t all getting together. Eventually what happens is these arcs that are still in orbit get sabotaged, rain down on earth, their terraforming machines get started, and essentially start terraforming the planet, and because of the wars, and because of this event, governments are gone on both sides, and so it’s essentially a new world, and we’re in a period of regrowth. 

It’s not totally post-apocalyptic, Mad Max, or anything. And because of all these new things that appeared with these colonization machines of a cross between earth and Votan stuff, the aliens and humans had to start learning to live together to survive all these new things that were threatening them. And that’s the primary history behind the world of Defiance. The game itself takes place in San Francisco, and San Francisco is really kind of a frontier town, or frontier area. There’s really no specific town in our area of San Francisco, there’s a bunch of different ones. And basically people are coming to San Francisco from other areas that have survived, particularly the East Coast, and trying to take advantage of the opportunities there. And that’s essentially our gold rush for San Francisco. 

And so this organization called the Earth Republic, who is also is in the show quite a bit, have this caravan that comes out, which carries the players. The players are under the employ of somebody to try and find hidden alien devices within the area, and then they get caught up in this big series of events that happen, and that’s the beginnings of the story.  

What little I know about the show so far is that among the ensemble cast of characters that they have, there are two main characters in the form of this human man and his adoptive alien daughter, right? Are those characters in the game as well? 

They appear at the launch of the game, but there’s a period of time where the player can go on missions with both of these characters within the Bay Area. And then when the show starts, which is a couple weeks later, we actually have them leave the game with an artifact that the players helped them find. They then appear in the show, having traveled from San Francisco to St. Louis, and actually use this device which helps solve a problem within the pilot. 

I was curious what the timeline was because it seemed weird that in the show the characters are in the St. Louis area, but I saw them at the beginning of the game in the San Francisco area, so I didn’t know how that worked out. 

We will be staying in sync like that. And when something happens in the show, and something had to disappear, it appears and shows up in San Francisco, and vice versa. We want to keep that timeline in sync, and that’s really one of the things that’s unique about this. In other games, TV shows, and movies, they cross back and forth the whole time, and there’s this hidden timeline in the background, but we’re actually evolving over the period of the season with the show itself. 

[Next up: How it feels to play the game]