Online Game Coming to Sci-Fi Channel?
World of Warcarft players have finally been vindicated - Sci Fi is planing on marrying a TV show and a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) scheduled to be released in 2010. The idea is that the game and the show will somehow feed off each other.
Sci Fi, long been known for questionable quality feature length movies and cult followed series, is pairing with Trion World Entertainment. If you've never heard of Trion - join the club. A quick tour of the Trion website revealed that Trion was formed in 2006 by Lars Buttler (former vice president of Global Online at Electronic Arts) and Jon
Van Caneghem (of Might &
Magic fame). Their first game was announced to be in development (a fantasy MMOG headed by Van Caneghem) at the same time as the Sci Fi partnership was announced. Since its inception, the news out of Trion has been mostly of the "look how big we're getting" variety typical of startups.
While this is a pretty exciting development which might lead to even more mainstream understanding (if not acceptance) of online games, it does present a host of problems. First, we are no longer talking about a just a TV series or just an online game - we're talking about both. It seems like it is hard enough to get one success rather than two simultaneous successes that will be needed for this plan to take off. Not only does the program have to be good, but so does the game. If Doom and Street Fighter has taught us anything, translating a game onto the screen is not the easiest thing to do.
On top of that, it is unclear if the TV show will be live-action or animated. Animation has come a long way in recent years to where a show can be topical almost to the week whereas coordination of actors, directors, writers, etc. isn't nearly as easy. The idea seems to be that the game and show will feed off each other. It is easy to envision how the game can mirror the show but not so easy to see how that will work the other way around.
While "geeks" and "gamers" can be some of the most hardcore and devout of fans, they can also be the most vocal of critics. Sci Fi and Trion may think they they are tapping into a "ready made" audience but that may not be the case. Once you promise an audience like gamers a "voice" in what happens on your TV show, you may be opening up a virtual Pandora's Box.
Of course, they could just save themselves all the trouble and call the game and the show "Farscape vs. Battlestar Galactica" and watch the money start rolling in.
Wow, can you imagine the griefing and drama that will be tied to this?
The game in question is most likely Stargate Worlds….
Anyway, if I was playing an Online game that was a TV show, I am pretty sure I'd rise to the ranks of master Villian that they would kill off at the end of some season. I'd acquire my army of mindless minions to attack the innocent and then by some miracle the petty humans would get lucky and defeat me. Oh wait, I think I just quoted the plot of 80% of the SciFi movies out there….
Well, no one said I was original, just an Evil Overlord….