When we first heard rumors about a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, I said I could barely imagine what the game might be like before listing several other IPs that would translate better as AR games. It’s not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series (I do) or Niantic (someone’s got to push the envelope). My issue is that I can’t see how their respective styles could combine to create something great.
So I’ve gone back to some of my pre-POGO notes about Ingress and what would need to change before it went live and, well, Niantic clearly thinks differently than I do because this game is very much happening. I thought it might be useful to consider Niantic’s past and how it may affect its upcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Let’s dig in.
We’re not going to argue that MMORPGs are the dominant form of media entertainment these days, but they do have endurance and a devoted following among gamers. And whenever a crowd of players have been paying into a game for a long time, it will attract the attention and interest of marketers who start wondering what else they could do to siphon off a few more bucks.
Enter “transmedia synergy,” a stupidly awesome term that represents links between two or more forms of media that are connected through the same IP. The thinking here is that fans of one of these forms of entertainment will cross over into the related media and vice-versa, growing an audience together.
Today we’re going to look at 10 experiments in transmedia synergy, for better or for worse, that have attempted to cross over from MMORPG to something else entirely. To make things more challenging, we’re not going to include novels, since we’ve already done that.
Sit back, let that headline sink in, and try to stop yourself from quietly muttering, “Five years? That game is still around?”
Yes indeed, Battlestar Galactica Online — the online game based on the Syfy series — is apparently still in operation. And not only is it running, but it’s throwing a full-blown party for its fifth anniversary.
The fun began on Monday with the debut of the Twilight of the Gods event. If exploring new content isn’t your bag, perhaps getting free gifts is. Bigpoint is giving away a goodie pack for players who redeem the code “5YEARSBSGO” on their account. The voucher delivers a booster, several map parts, and a chunk of event currency that can be spent in the shop.
So much for transmedia synergy.
Syfy announced Friday that after three seasons, it is canceling Defiance. The show was part of a cross-media initiative to tie together a television series and an MMO, the latter of which is still being run by Trion Worlds.
The channel praised the show even as it declined to renew it for a fourth season: “Defiance was a truly groundbreaking series, delivering an immersive, cross-platform experience that transcended the television screen in a way that viewers had never seen before.”
Who would have thought that, three years later, both Defiance the television series and Defiance the MMO would still be chugging along? But here we are, 2015, and Defiance is debuting its third season premiere tonight on Syfy.
The show picks up from season two’s cliffhanger which introduced a new alien warrior race called the Omec. Since the series and the MMO are linked in plot and subject matter, the aliens could be making their way over to the game as well.
Players of the game would do well to check out the episodes, as each one will feature a code that can be redeemed for in-game goodies. Those who collect all 12 will get an additional reward as well.
The third season of the show Defiance starts up on June 12th, which is likely of particular interest to fans of Defiance the game. Sure, the two don’t always directly correspond, but there’s a connection between them – that was one of the big selling points of the game when it first launched, after all.
Now that the show is running to its third season, we sent a few questions off for producer Carble Cheung to see how the game is adapting to the changes on the series, how the integration has worked, and what adjustments are planned for players in the future. Jump on past the break for the answers.