I have been playing my fair share of Defiance the past week. As this is not a review, I won’t get too deep into my feelings on the game, but let’s just say I sometimes wonder why I care about the world they have placed me in. While Defiance may grow into a TV/MMO sensation, it currently seems about as interesting as reading tax code–no offense to tax code enthusiasts. While I gunned my way through the terraformed bay-area, I couldn’t help but think of TV/MMO crossovers I want–or, in some cases, would have wanted–with interesting environments, cultures, and people. Here are some shows that would lend themselves well to this type of crossover.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Running an MMO congruent with either Avatar: The Last Airbender or the new series The Legend of Korra would provide a large world, with predetermined factions and sufficient lore. The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is made up of four kingdoms: the Fire Nation, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom, and the Water Tribes. A central, melting pot kingdom called the United Republic Nations is the center of the world and is home of the capital, Republic City.
The powers in Avatar: The Last Airbender, revolve around people called “benders” who can bend the elements of fire, earth, water, and air to their will. Players would have to choose a kingdom to ally themselves with, which would determine the element they would learn to bend. As players progressed they would be able to learn different “bending skills” and improve their abilities. Once players have become good enough they could journey to the United Republic of Nations to join pro-bending teams and compete in the pro league. Meanwhile the landscape of the world would change based on Korra’s adventures and conflict with the non-bender faction called the Equalists. The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra is a compelling one with breadth of personality, and accessible to a large audience
After a freak lightning storm, an entire city in England finds themselves gifted with Superpowers. However, unlike traditional superhero drama, Misfits does not revel in intergalactic conflicts or global catastrophes. Instead, the series focuses on people simply trying to keep their powers a secret while living normal lives. The show relies on its personal drama and humorous dialogue, making it stand out from being, “another superhero fiction”.
The world might not be quite so large or dynamic as your typical MMO, but Misfits offers a chance at providing a slice of life look at superpowered humans in society. Missions would be more grounded and combat would be mostly based on the power that people chose during their character build. The show would set the pace for dynamic events with in-game bosses being related to characters featured in the show. Sure, it would all be very grounded, slice-of-life, and simple; but the show’s clever writing, interesting characters, and some inventive mission design could make the world of Misfits a compelling place to play.
Fullmetal Alchemist is no longer airing new episodes, and though it is constantly getting spin-off media, any idea of crossover game has long passed. But, the series would have been an easy fit for such an idea. Set in the fictional nation of Amestris, Fullmetal Alchemist features where alchemy is practiced amongst many people and allow the wielders to create and use the elements around them. In Amestris, the best alchemists become agents of the military, known as State-Alchemists. The history of Amestris is a bloody one, rife with unrest and tension after a civil war with the Ishvalan people.
Players would have started by learning simple manipulations and skills, but as their knowledge of alchemy progressed, so would their abilities. Amestris is a world that is filled with natural villains and bosses, including the powerful Homunculi. As alchemists progress they could earn ranks in the military or choose to become part of rogue factions. Meanwhile the world could have altered based on the show and the Elric Brothers quest of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Game of Thrones
First off, this is not what I am talking about. There have been rumblings and musings about a MMO set in Westeros for quite some time now. Based on the book series A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series Game of Thrones has conveyed the treacherous and political world of George R.R. Martin to a hungry audience. Filled with house allegiances, frightening violence, and political turmoil, Westeros is natural fit for an MMO setting.
While doing a Game of Thrones spin-off is a passable idea, running an MMO concurrently with the series would have been something special. (SPOILERS AHEAD). To start with the seven houses, then let players roam the world as Lannisters turn on Starks, Starks give away to Boltons, and the world continues to twist and turn based on the game changing events of the show would have been very interesting. You can argue readers would have already known the outcome, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from enlisting with young Rob Stark. King in the North!
The love of the epic space-western, starring a tenacious rebel captain runs deep. The story of Firefly was more-or-less concluded in a sequel feature film, but the world remains interesting. When Earth-home becomes depleted of resources, man begins to spread across the galaxy, terraforming new planets on which to settle. The older, central planets form the utopian Alliance planets, while the outer planets were known as Independents. After a five year conflict, called the “Unification Wars”, the Alliance claimed dominance over all the outer planets.
The game would have been as simple as the show’s plot. Get a crew, find a job, avoid the Alliance. Or join the Alliance and spend your days on the outer planets looking over your shoulder. Whedon proved that the galaxy of Firefly could feature a wealth of interesting planets, from the mud planet of Canton to the pristine Ariel, Firefly is an endless wealth of exploration. Players could have followed in the chaotic wake of Serenity, or run into Alliance scrapes of their own. If you were really brave you could have made runs close to territory controlled by the barbaric Reavers. Firefly is a vast world, waiting to be discovered.
What show do you think deserved/deserves an MMO companion? What are worlds that you want to explore? Maybe Defiance is all the TV/MMO crossover you need. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.