‘Defiance’ Most Wanted contest bridges the gap between MMO and TV show

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The new science fiction media hybrid Defiance marches out of a tumultuous first month with a seemingly bright future ahead of it. People are watching and playing in the millions, so it’s time for developer Trion Worlds to start delivering on its promise of melding the real world occupied by players with the scripted drama of the show. It all starts with the Most Wanted contest.

It’s fairly simple: between Tuesday, April 30 and Sunday, May 12, Defiance players can register for the Most Wanted contest. They must then complete two of the game’s quests: “Most Wanted: Rogue’s Gallery,” followed by “Most Wanted: Competitor.” The latter throws players into tackle team-based challenges, including some against other players, while Rogue’s Gallery is a basic hunt that targets specific enemies in the world. Whomever wins the most “ark salvage” from these quests will be crowned the champion.

Winners will have their characters appear in an episode later in the TV series’ season. Trion says that it “will have artists from the Defiance series render [a winning] character’s likeness into a special place” in the episode. The Most Wanted winners won’t have speaking roles on the show.

Defiance the game got off to an uneven start. The massively multiplayer online shooter experienced significant server troubles at the beginning of April. Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of the game struggled to keep players connected, and even the PC edition felt the strain of a big new audience signing on. The game started to stabilize once launch week ended, and it continues to improve all the time. Meanwhile, the television show is proving its worth to network Syfy; the April 15 debut pulled in 3.5 million total viewers, and 2.4 million stuck around for the second episode on April 22.

The real test for Defiance comes in July when the first season of the television show wraps up. Trion’s effectiveness at keeping players engaged in the game while the show is off the air is a big question mark. What’s more, will the success of the show drive viewers to try the game between seasons? These are hurdles that the unusual game/TV show pairing will need to clear before Defiance can graduate from promising experiment to full blown success.

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