Take My Etc: Firefly Online Reunites TV Cast

By Alice O'Connor on July 28th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Look, haven't we all had our fingers fused together in sci-fi cowboy antics?

Firefly Online is clearly counting on the cancelled sci-fi show’s fanbase to carry it, and has revealed it’s hoping to lure them in by reuniting the core cast to voice virtual versions of their characters. Which will probably work. But it’s a tricky balance to strike: this will make more fans interested, but also raises development costs of a game based on a show that wasn’t popular enough to avoid cancellation. The game beneath the nostalgia will need to be good enough.

A few snaps of gameplay are in a new trailer. Come see.

The idea of Firefly Online is the same dream as the show–be a space-cowboy captain gallivanting about the wild frontier, doing missions, building a crew, and customising your Firefly-class spaceship. Which, surely, has an appeal beyond the fanbase. I can think of oh, a game or two with that same idea lately, though this is described more as an “online strategic roleplaying game.”

It does look a wee bit cheap and cheerful and uninteresting, which may be because it’s being made for those smaller computers wot you carry around as well as Windows and Mac.

Here, have a 75 seconds of gushing fans, in-game snippets, and Nathan Fillion doing his thing:

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74 Comments »

  1. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Colour me sceptical.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      That goes for me too. Moreso because Firefly’s one of my favourite series. I didn’t even like the movie that much. Which for me means the devs will have all the more to prove that they can be trusted with the license.

    • Syra says:

      Well it’s jsut a gorram shame this looks like the sims meets firefly on your in-pocket-comms-device.

      A good firefly game would really sell like mad, such a great show and the fanbase increases in size every year.

  2. Sardonic says:

    I think it’s great that Boots from Anarchnonox is getting a new game, judging by the header picture.

  3. WMain00 says:

    Wait a minute, I thought Firefly Online died ages and ages ago?

    • staberas says:

      I was thinking the same thing D:

    • Shuck says:

      Originally the rights to a Firefly MMO were owned by Multiverse, who made (terrible, non-functional) MMO middleware. Since the rights were tied into this non-functional middleware, they couldn’t get anyone to make the game, and I don’t think they had made any development efforts on it. When that company went under, it actually freed up the rights for Firefly, allowing this new, mobile-targeted, low budget online game.

  4. ran93r says:

    Micropayments up the wazoo as standard?

    • distantlurker says:

      Wazoo’s are a super rare drop in the £4.99 lockboxes I hear…

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I’ve been reading Grants memoirs lately as well as a monograph on the Vicksburg Campaign. The amount of times I’ve read that Sherman was up the Yazoo (river) and having my brain substitute that with wazoo is not to be trifled with.

      I just needed to get that off my chest.

      Now back to our regular schedule: why would I want to submit myself to playing something that will only result in me pining for a long dead and loved tv series.

      Firefly is over. They took the sky from me.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Grant only won because Lee was futzing around with microtransactions and lacked sufficient credits to get the health upgrade.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Notwithstanding an evaluation of Grants merits as a commander, that’s a surprisingly accurate description of the situation for the Army of Northern Virginia in the middle to late phases of the war.

          The logistics were crap and just getting food to the troops was a hassle from at least post Fredericksburg and onward. :)

  5. johanbcn says:

    I’d rather have TellTale Games buy the rights and do an spin-off “adventure” game.

  6. mickygor says:

    Pff, you misspelled “wasn’t aired in the right order enough to avoid cancellation”

    • Niko says:

      Are you from the alternate universe where they were aired in the right order and Firefly’s now in the twelfth season?

    • Philotic Symmetrist says:

      I knew I could count on someone else to say what needed to be said.

      Also, I’d prefer it if Fox never had anything to do with Firefly ever again but I guess they own the rights in some capacity and Firefly with involvement from Fox is better than no Firefly…except when those are the same things.

      • Werthead says:

        Fox have the TV rights so any new TV show needs Fox’s involvement. However, Joss Whedon himself owns the film rights so they can do new big-screen adventures whenever anyone can come up with the money. TV/DVD movies seem to be a bit of a greyer area.

    • wahoosjw says:

      Someone needed to say this. The quality of the show had nothing to do with the cancellation. Fox’s stupidity is to blame. A show aired out of order is doomed from the start.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Not only that, but it was often preempted by FOX (USA) football coverage at the time, with no rebroadcasts.

    • malkav11 says:

      It was also assigned a murderous timeslot and it was running on Fox, a channel that’s basically a television program serial killer.

  7. MeestaNob says:

    Oh don’t toy with me.

    This deserves to be something other than complete shit, but there’s no way this wont be COMPLETELY SHIT.

  8. Simbosan says:

    It’s an online game, it’s a mobile game… nah

  9. derbefrier says:

    Mobile? Meh…

    Could be cool but ptobably won’t be. Best bet for a cool firefly game will be a modded Star Citizen private server.

  10. Cinek says:

    Feels like back in 1999. At least in terms of graphics/design.

  11. ColdSpiral says:

    This here is a recipe for unpleasantness.

  12. Dawngreeter says:

    This better be a good game or I swear by my pretty floral bonet…

    …ah, who am I kidding. I’ll love anything that has a Firefly logo in it. I may be Whedon’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.

  13. int says:

    They took such care when recreating Firefly as a game, they only used the level of graphics avaiable back when the show first aired.

    Octagonal bullets will be a thing some day though!

  14. Jason Moyer says:

    If I WERE a captain, ffs.

  15. GHudston says:

    As much as it upsets me to say this, but I can’t imagine a universe in which this isn’t terrible.

  16. Turkey says:

    I tried playing it on a RP server, but I got tired of trying to come up with Whedonesque dialogue.

  17. PampleMoose says:

    I’m not quite sure what it is about MMOs and people trying to use them as a vehicle for franchise rejuvenation. It didn’t work for Myst, and it didn’t work for the Matrix. Neither of those two games were or are particularly bad (and both continue on in semi-official or unofficial forms, with Myst actually doing the better out of the two), but the reality is that these things tend to need a big audience to both fund it and make it worthwhile.

    It’s one thing to go in if your expectations are sufficiently low. But there’s no way this would do well enough to be a sustainable and continuously developed game, IMO. And that’s assuming it’s actually any good.

    • Turkey says:

      I think it’s safe to say that these guys don’t really know what they’re doing and that the whole project is just fueled by blind enthusiasm and love for the source material.

  18. dE says:

    I sometimes wonder what Joss Whedon did to the FOXies. Going by what FOX is doing to the Firefly property, it must have included something so grim and dire, that not even 4chan could conjure up a more gross tale of disgusting ingredients mixed into a stinker.
    Maybe it’s true what they say, that Joss went to their offices one day and after 2 hours of screaming and random blood splatters, he left with a grin so smug that the federation of british butlers pinned him for top of the line rolemodel. Something must have happened that day, taunting the forces of evil, quite literally pissing them off (and I mean literally, not figuratively), doing nasty things with the CEOs favorite kitten, I don’t know. Something bad. Because there’s holding a grudge and then there’s unearthing the corpse of a show intentionally sent out to die, just so they can kill it again. And again. And Again.

    Oh the MMO thing? Yes, very ‘verse. Very not interested. But Firefly? Good for a bit of hyperbole here and there.

    • Shuck says:

      Fox has been pretty active about whoring out their IPs for MMOs, but they’re bad at it. They weren’t too picky about who they let license the rights (they got paid, either way), so mostly the efforts have failed, but few were beloved enough (e.g. Whedon’s stuff) that they got a lot of attention at the earliest stages (before anything was happening), making the failures all the more obvious. It didn’t help that Multiverse, an MMO middleware company started by tech guys, not game developers, snagged the rights to a lot of Fox properties, (including Buffy/Angel/Firefly) because James Cameron invested in them. They were looking for someone else to make the games with their tech, except that their tech didn’t work and certainly wasn’t suitable for making MMOs. They kept re-tooling the company with smaller goals over time as they began to realize their limitations, and each time they re-announced their intention to make the games, even though their new, reduced visions weren’t any more likely than the previous ones. Then they finally went under. Other Fox IPs that were intended for MMOs did even worse. Fox licensed the rights to an Avatar MMO, for example, then realized they had already accidentally licensed all the game rights to Ubisoft. There were a number of other games that got canceled and permanently killed off. So the fact that there’s still a Firefly game of some sort puts it above the rest of the pack.

  19. Sunjumper says:

    I do salute the developers of the game for getting the original cast to voice their characters and trying to put some semblance of life back into Firefly and its universe. Also the idea of exploting the ‘verse is incredibly tempting.

    However I do have great difficulties understanding how a show with a deeply character driven plot that lived and excelled through the personalities of the main cast and their interactions with the other inhabitants of that universe can ever translate successfully to an MMO.

    As others have said above the setting would much better fit an adventure game or a proer single player RPG.
    Even a strategy game where you can use your crew in an X-Com like manner or using ideas explored in FTL having the player solve several problems at once using the crew members and their (in)abilties or even some kind of 3rd person game that goes in a more action adventure direction would have been a much better fit.
    That way the chachters would stand directly in the limelight, the world around them could be explored in context with these characters and their personalites as known from the show used to define narrative and gameplay inspiration.

    A MMO game would be among the last game genres that seems to fit the Firefly show.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      MMO makes sense.

      You’re assuming a character-driven game. It simply can’t be that. It’s a verse-wide smuggling and trading game. People will be swooshing around in their spaceships, making a trade here, a scam there, an occasional robbery, etc. And that’s something that an MMO could be good at.

      I’m not saying it will be good at it. Or good at anything. In fact, it weirds me out how much focus the teaser trailer thing puts on actual human avatars. My assumption is that we’ll be seeing actual characters only in some sort of social hubs where you’ll talk to certain NPCs in order to trade, accept missions and so on, as a sort of a needlessly complex menu, rather than have that be an actually integral part of the game. But I could be wrong and they could be planning to have characters actually running around, shooting at each other, doing RPG combat style missions. And if that’s the case, I don’t think it’ll manage to not suck.

      It might not manage to not suck even if that’s not the case, of course. But my point is that smuggling and tradign in the Verse works, conceptually, within the confines of the MMO genre.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      ” where you can use your crew in an X-Com like manner”

      …and Wash dies every mission.

  20. MkMax says:

    why online ?, wtf do i care about “characters” in an online game ?

    and mobile …. uhhhhhhhhhhhh, quick question, is this teaser supposed to get me excited or disgusted ?

  21. PopeRatzo says:

    Let it go. It was a TV show, now finished.

    Just let it go into the light of your memories and move on. Stop torturing yourself.

  22. Spooty says:

    Oh Captain, my Captain….

    :’(

  23. Vandelay says:

    On my phone, so won’t watch the trailer, but I can imagine it is mediocre at best. To be honest, I can’t see me being interested in any more Firefly, unless Joss Whedon is on writing duties or doing a pass on the script at least.

  24. dontnormally says:

    This trailer annoyed the pants right off me.

  25. TechnicalBen says:

    I loved the film, never got a chance to see the show. What was impressive, was the science side of the “sci-fi”. They played it straight (with perhaps the usual energy densities and transit times and magical “gravity drive” stuff, but that’s the fantasy side of it).

    Take a quick look at http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns.php and scroll down to Cascade Vanes for why the main engine on the firefly was so weird, and why it’s actually suppose to be like that. :)

    • Sinomatic says:

      If you love the film then you will adore the series. Please stop what you’re doing and go and watch it. Right now.

      I’m going to have to pull out the boxset again now, as I haven’t watched it in a wee while myself.

  26. sinister agent says:

    It’ll be mediocre but sell well, which is ironically the inverse story of Firefly itself

  27. toxic avenger says:

    Man, for some reason Joss really annoys the poo out of me, and most of the time, I feel like I’m the only one. I can’t stand his female dialogue, well his dialogue in general, but women always come across as sexual wish fulfillment. For someone regarded for his writing skills, none of the characters have to face anything resembling a tough situation, or a deep moral quandary, or even pose a challenge for audiences in any way whatsoever at all. Everything is neat and tidy, and resolves in much the same way. And don’t get me started on how self indulgent he is…

    • maninahat says:

      You’re not the only one. However I don’t necessarily think he is a bad writer, just that he writes the same damn character over and over again. If you like a Kung fu kicking, smug smart arse who only talks in cheesy, smart arse one liners, then watch one of his shows. Want anything else? Don’t bother.

    • malkav11 says:

      I take it you didn’t watch much before forming your opinion (which is, let me point out, perfectly fair if you didn’t like what you did see). Because a lot of that simply isn’t true. Want a tough situation that isn’t resolved neatly? How about the part of Buffy where Buffy’s mom gets cancer. And you know, it’s not a vampire to slay or a demon to banish, and it doesn’t get resolved with a quip and an ass kicking, as much as Buffy would really like it to. Want moral quandaries? How about the entire season of Angel where they take over running Wolfram and Hart in an effort to conquer from within? And those are just examples that happen to come to mind, having not seen any of his shows in several years.

      He definitely has tendencies towards certain character types and a very distinctive writing style, and that’s going to be very much a matter of personal taste (they work for me, obviously), and I don’t think he’s ever done anything that was entirely serious and dramatic, so if you need your drama po-faced, he’s not going to work for you. But to suggest that it’s all tidy and antiseptic and free of moral dilemma or challenge is just plain not so.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        The Body is a Buffy episode everyone needs to see. It just stays with you. Probably one of the most profound moments on television (Seeing Red episode is also up there, though that one really should be seen after you’ve become invested in the show).

        Also, The Chain – a standalone comic towards the beginning of Buffy Season Eight comic line (I think it was number five).

    • dethtoll says:

      You’re not alone. He’s a hack and a pseudo-feminist who ruins everything he touches. I’ve never forgiven him for Alien Resurrection.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “none of the characters have to face anything resembling a tough situation”

      This part isn’t true. I can understand someone not liking Whedon’s* work – even when I love it (which is often), I’m always aware it’s a hair’s breadth from being something I would loathe instead. And I think you’re mostly spot on about the female characters. But no characters having to face tough situations? Just isn’t true. It does take a pretty long arc for some of them to get there, though – in one case, across not just multiple seasons but two separate shows – and obviously if you’re not fond of the material, you’re not going to watch it long enough to see that happen.

      Whedon’s TV work is kind of like a mountain: Buffy was a confident but clumsy start of the ascent, Angel was a false summit, Firefly was the towering but brief peak, and then there was a leap of joy (Dr. Horrible) which led to the unfortunate and fatal tumble down the other side with Dollhouse. A lot of people watch a bit of Buffy, understandably say no thanks, and miss out on the part when TV Whedon really hit its stride: Angel season 3-5 and Firefly/Serenity.

      *(Of course something a lot of Whedon fans don’t recognize is that a lot of “Whedon’s” best work was done by other people – a handful of key producers and writers.)

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Well you’ve gone and done it. I’ve written a multi-paragraph comment about Joss Whedon. You’ve made me one of those people.

      • malkav11 says:

        A lot of Dollhouse is really good too, actually. Unfortunately it made a fairly significant error in casting Eliza Dushku as the female lead (presumably due to their prior working relationship) as opposed to, say, Tatiana Maslany, who has been demonstrating all the range, nuance, and uncannily distinct character performances that the role required over on Orphan Black, a show where she routinely plays something like half the cast of characters, some of whom are sometimes called on to pose as one another and can, in fact, be identified as that character posing as the other character even though they’re *all* Maslany. Just imagine Dollhouse with an actress of that calibre. If only.

        I’m not that down on Dushku generally speaking, but she’s not capable of pulling that sort of acting off.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Oh it had moments. But most of the time it felt to me like a bunch of people who were good at what they do but just couldn’t quite figure out what they were doing. At least it meant… Nerdy Guy and… Blonde Guy From Homicide?… ended up in Whedon’s Much Ado, which was so much fun it even survived Denisof’s mis-casting.

          I’ve heard good things about Orphan Black. Must find the time some day…

          • malkav11 says:

            If nothing else, watch Dollhouse for the way it uses Alan Tudyk (preferably after seeing Firefly). But yeah, Orphan Black’s pretty darn good, and not just because Maslany is extraordinarily talented.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            It was such joy watching Alan Tudyk on Dollhouse. Even if it was a pain to see everyone else act circles around Dushku, Tudyk more than makes up for it.

  28. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    This looks like The Sims in cowboy space.

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