The Price Of Defiance: Trion Worlds Hit By Big Layoffs

At this rate, Trion Worlds might soon be forced to change its name to Trion Islands, or maybe Trion Small Yet Charming Spanish Getaway Vacation Villa. After the Rift team got hit by a major round of layoffs late last year, Defiance‘s band of trigger finger scratchers has taken a possibly even bigger hit. While the exact number is unconfirmed, many reports place the total at around 100, which is a worrisomely not-small portion of the entire company. For its part, Trion has confirmed the unfortunate turn of events, but it’s been illusive otherwise. The company’s statement is after the break, in addition to a few further details.

First off, here’s what Trion had to say on the matter:

“To best position Trion in a rapidly changing industry, we have reorganized our teams and are expanding our free to play offering. With Defiance, we delivered a great game that more than one million gamers registered to play and continue to enjoy. As we progress from launch to ongoing development of the game, we are adjusting our staffing levels to deliver new content and improved features. RIFT, and our other titles in development, were unaffected by these changes. We are very much looking forward to the free to play release of RIFT and are excited by the other new titles currently in development.”

Meanwhile, sources speaking with Kotaku alleged that both Defiance and Rift’s Storm Legion expansion didn’t quite carry their weight, so a surprise chopping block party was the only answer.

But hey, Trion’s at least got a couple good things ahead. Rift’s right on the cusp of going free-to-play, and that tends to attract migratory shark frenzies of new players, if not necessarily hold onto them for too terribly long. Also, Defiance’s TV show got renewed for a second season. I hear it’s kind of alright? Do any of you actually watch it?

So extremely sad news, but there’s still some hope. Best of luck to all who got laid off. Things might look bleak, but this industry creates new jobs at nearly the same rate it destroys them. Case in point: this list of available industry jobs (put together largely by freelancer Alex Rubens) will probably be of some use to you.


  1. shrewdlogarithm says:

    Rift is a really, really decent MMO – it’s easily the best game I’ve played since WoW, it takes loads of ideas and polishes-the-hell out of them.

    It’s the best MMO I’ve played for pushing players into playing together, there’s always something going-on , the UI is super-slick and I hope it’s move to F2P brings more people into it and keeps it going.

    Defiance tho – more like Definance it seems.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’ve spent about the same time in both Rift and GW2 before burning out (~350 hours each). In my view, on balance, Rift is the better game and deserves a much larger audience.

      Rift’s capacity to encourage teamwork and group play, with regular large-scale region-wide set pieces, should be a core feature of every MMO. It is disturbing that as far as I am aware the model hasn’t been copied in any significant way by any of the more recent alternatives.

      • Anders Wrist says:

        I personally enjoyed Rift a lot, and I agree on the balancing issues, but personally I just find GW2 to be more fun to play – and it keeps me engaged, for reasons I cannot quite explain.
        I wish I wanted to play Rift again, somehow. I just miss the atmosphere I felt at launch.

        • davethejuggler says:

          Rift was fantastic, but having left it i never felt enticed back by the large amount of content they’ve added since. I guess when it goes f2p i may dip my toes in again. GW2 however i didn’t enjoy at all apart from the jumping puzzles. The level scaling didn’t sit well at all. It made your character feel less real somehow. Maybe i’m just over MMOs, but wildstar has me excited so maybe not.

      • shrewdlogarithm says:

        Absolutely – I’ve played pretty-much every MMO (bar some of the dodgier F2P Asian ones) and NONE of them have done anything like as well as Rift has in that respect.

        They’ve taken the WAR concept of the public quest and made it amazing – not only are invasions auto-grouped but you can simply sign-up for “Instant Adventure” and quests are created for a roving group to do (and if that group is nearby you can join-in anytime).

        It works so well that the few ‘instanced group quests’ there are, no-one every seems to bother with!?

        GW2 tries to do this but I think it’s fundamentally gimped by it’s focus on the individual and a sheer lack of people playing it. The Raptr ‘freebie’ for Rift brought a tonne of people in, F2P will bring in more and so that shouldn’t be an issue for a while yet (and there’s good reason for higher level players to come down and join-in with Rift too – no such thing in GW2 that I noticed)??

      • LionsPhil says:

        Let’s try that without the links because of RPS’ freaking filter:

        Seeing these comments it’s a shame that Guild Wars 2 has player races like stubby little bug-eyed techno-dudes and giant horned cat things with steampunk guns, while Rift has humans, humans, humans, humans, humans, and humans.

        • LostSoviet says:

          @LionsPhil – To me, “humans humans humans” is actually a selling point. I remember enjoying what little I saw of Rift’s open beta, while Guild Wars 2 gave me nothing but disappointment the further I went in. (GW2 might be a fine game in its own right, but it’s not Guild Wars.)

      • aepervius says:

        I dunno. Rift is absically your WOW “stand stilla s a turret” MMO. I can’t stand the genre anymore, it feeels, I dunno, gamey, fake, hollow. Try as I might, I find myself only enjoying MMO where you have an active dodge and a bit of action. Rift feels bland, rift feels so 2005. In 2013.

        • iridescence says:

          Well that’s fine. There are plenty of those games out there for you to play now. Personally I prefer the much more tactical and thoughtful combat something like Rift provides to the “cycle through 5 buttons and jump around” combat that seems to be the current trend in MMOs.

          The sub-cost always was just a bit too much for me in Rift though, I really liked the game while I played it but just not quite enough to devote myself to it in the way I’d have to to justify $15 a month. A very good themepark MMO but still a themepark with the sterility inherent in that genre’s design.

          I do feel a bit bad that I didn’t support them more now though. Trion are a good company.

    • Zepp says:

      If Rift is/was so great why it’s going F2P now? Imho it was totally medicore mmo without a soul. ;)

      • AngoraFish says:

        trolls gonna troll

      • shrewdlogarithm says:

        Rift’s problem is that it’s a bit generic but under that lack of imagination lies a simply excellent MMO – probably the best MMO there currently is.

        I played in Beta a found it a grind but they’ve relaxed everything about it since then, you fly through the early content and you get into the meat of the game in just a couple of hours – once you’ve played on a busy server and been drawn into ever more world events you’ll probably get hooked too ;)

      • hitnrun says:

        It was a mediocre mmo without a soul.

        It’s also the best MMO out there (barring quasi-MMOs and stuff like EVE).

        There hasn’t been a great MMO since Whenever You Got Bored Of Vanilla or BC WoW. Rift is definitely the least boring application of the genre with the most thought involved, IMO.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Main issue is that, like WoW, it’s not an MMO…

    • Mr Coot says:

      Yer, I wish Trion luck, because Rift is the best of still current MMOs that I’ve tried (WoW, Lotro, DDO, and I’ll include GW2). Their rate of output of new content makes Blizzard’s look embarrassing when you compare the sub base, and they were always v responsive to the community. My sub still current but I am over the genre tbh. For ppl who are still looking for MMO luv, I would recommend it – learning curve is quite steep (which has its benefits) and community is generally pleasant.

  2. Bostec says:

    I thought this happens to all MMOs when they launch? Get a big team in, try and polish it up and finish it before the deadline then let them go. Keep a small but core team for the content. Makes sense, especially for F2P.

  3. LickingABeluga says:

    Trion Isthmus seems quite appropriate

  4. Tuor says:

    I’m thinking Defiance is the main culprit in the need to fire a bunch of people. Rift seemed to be holding its own financially, though I can’t say that for sure: it might have already been financially troubled even before Trion decided to funnel a bunch of money into making Defiance.

    At any rate, I wish them well. I did like Rift, just… not enough to keep playing it. I’m not sure why, really, but I just lost interest in it after a while.

  5. TariqOne says:

    “Illusive” eh?

    • cowardly says:

      Yes, that was painful to read…

    • pagad says:

      Illusive is an actual word, you know. Mass Effect didn’t coin it. link to

      illusive (comparative more illusive, superlative most illusive)
      Subject to or pertaining to an illusion, often used in the sense of an unrealistic expectation or an unreachable goal or outcome.

      • SpiceTheCat says:

        It might be a word but it’s still the wrong word, dammit.

      • Convolvulus says:

        The information is hard to acquire, i.e., elusive.

      • TariqOne says:

        So you’re saying Trion is a mirage in the Great MMO Desert?

        I’m fully aware of the word (though I prefer illusory). However, when referring to hard-to-pin-down things, I vastly prefer “elusive” over either.

  6. Lobotomist says:

    Seems that developing MMO nowdays is recipe for instant doom.

    Trion is possibly most professional in both execution and content, among all contenders to MMO throne.
    Yet it was not enough.

    I feel world needs to cool down from MMOs. Return to regular games.

  7. Lagwolf says:

    Defiance is a whole load of meh. And the asking price $60 (up to $100) for a bog–standard sci-fi body in Rift didn’t really cut it. Never got into Rift but I saw its merits, sadly never saw those merits with Defiance.

  8. Shuck says:

    “this industry creates new jobs at nearly the same rate it destroys them”
    I only wish that was true. Also, the new jobs it does create inevitably end up being in a different state/country, depending on where you are.

  9. Don Reba says:

    The TV show is pretty alright. Not nearly as satisfying as Firefly, but at least it scratches the same spot.

    • Rumpel says:

      if anything, it scratches the spot of the more ridiculous star trek episodes. defiance doesnt hold a candle to firefly

    • Listlurker says:

      Don Reba, I agree, Defiance is trying to take a Firefly type-approach to its storytelling, with perhaps a little of the old Babylon 5 “ensemble cast meets over-arching plot” idea thrown in as well.

      I quite like the TV show Defiance, myself, and I even find the game oddly compelling (for different reasons), despite the game’s many rough spots and flaws as I type this. Go figure.

      I’d finish with “my opinion only”, which it is, but I’ve noticed that it seems strangely popular to hate on the Defiance TV show — which seems pointless, because simply not watching it will ensure it goes away eventually. The need to insult the show and those who like it seems faintly ridiculous.

      SyFy (sic, gahhh) renewed Defiance already, claiming that it’s already their most popular new program, so we can’t be the only ones who enjoy it …

      Anyway, that’s my take. Bracing for the mindless abuse now, since I’ve dared to publicly like something others dislike. Ahhh, internet! :-D

      • frightlever says:

        I really like Defiance. Don’t really understand the comparisons with Firefly. Firefly was great, but it’s a very different show to Defiance. The politicking in Defiance is probably my favourite thing about it.

        • Don Reba says:

          They are both SciFi Westerns, except this time around we are following the sheriff. Both shows have a cowboy, a stunted girl with superpowers, a straight woman, and a prostitute as part of the main crew. The episode structure is similar. In general, I’m picking up a similar vibe there, so Defiance fills a small corner of the hole in my heart that Firefly left.

  10. Valkesh says:

    Not surprised in the least. Defiance was designed from the start to be more akin to a “massively co-op third person shooter” with all the shortcomings that usually entails. It’s novel, but doesn’t seem to have any staying power especially given that, once you play the first few hours, you’ve seen everything the game has to offer, and unless repeating that run and gun grind is somehow massively appealing, it’s not going to have much retention or encourage people to spend money on it further than the buy in.

    That said, Defiance on Sci-Fi is actually surprisingly enjoyable. With Season 2 approved, at least there will be something Defiance based come next season, though I’m not sure the game will be included in that.

  11. TwwIX says:

    The show is decent but the game is pretty fucking lackluster and lacks any cohesive structure or meaningful content. It’s hardly an MMO. It’s a singleplayer third person shooter with the occasional “running and rolling around in circles for half an hour while spamming an endless amount of ammo into bullet sponge enemies” aka. friendly AI encounters. I say “friendly AI encounters” because the social aspects of this game are a fucking joke and nonexistent. That about sums up the “cooperative” aspects of the game. This is nothing more than a lazy PR stunt disguised as a shitty game. I can’t believe that some people paid $60 for this piece of shit. I am just glad that i got access to the closed beta instead of falling for the hype.

  12. neofit says:

    I am not surprised either. Trion’s games are the only ones that “finished”, e.g got to top level and saw all the non-repetitious dungeon content, all within the first month. Other recent games like SWTOR, GW2 and NWO were close, but bored me even faster. Add more content FFS! When you have like 10 zones per faction, and each of them is done in a couple of days, you’ve done something wrong in my book.

    In SWG I spent months on Tataooine and each of the other planets, as compared to SWTOR’s Tatooine where there is nothing to come back to after you spent your first week-end there. I spent weeks in each of EQ2’s outdoor zones, both for adventuring and (proper btw) crafting. Just check the list of zones for ‘Classic’ on to see how many zones EQ2 had at release.

    But nowadays people create games with a rather short theme park experience then expect everyone to start grinding dungeons for purplez (hey, it worked for WOW, didn’t it?). The crafting systems are so shallow that I’d rather not speak about them. Heck, Defiance doesn’t even have a proper PC UI (3-line chat buffer anyone?). And unlike the behemoths of 10 years ago, they are not competing against 1-2 other games but dozens of F2P and P2P ones. Sure, I am biased because I don’t like grinding the same zone over and over for purplerer gear, but apparently I am not the only one. So yeah, buh-bye, hope you work with better game designers in your next job.

  13. djim says:

    I like the TV -show a lot. Never thought of even trying the game tbh.

  14. drcancerman says:

    At the start, the game is a bit meh. I was even pondering if I chose right to pay for the game. But as soon as I reached EGO RATING(lvl if you wanna call it) 300 or up, the game started to become interesting.

    Think of it as borderlands in third person with the ability to modify your guns.

    It is quite fun the “dungeons” too, if someone leaves your group, someone else can take its place automatically.

    They also have world pvp, where you can actually pvp in the zones where you had your quests, with the mobs hindering or helping you. It’s called Shadow war.

    There are also arkfalls, where a chunk of the Ark falls and you have to battle through mobs, and the end boss is amazing.

    Now the TV show felt very stale and slow in the first episodes, but I believe on the 3rd and up it started to pick up steam. It feels quite like the Star Trek Original Series, where the “drama” and the “story” happened more inside the ship than outside.

    So, give it a go… It is worth it, especially because the episode and game tie-in was quite fun, and explained more of the lore.

  15. Danarchist says:

    I bought the game this weekend when it was on sale, played a few hours and I really don’t see where all the hate comes from? Is it a hipster thing or something? Do I need a pub cap and Macintosh to understand?
    It’s is nothing new really, more of a hodge podge of different game elements crammed into one, reminds me of a mix between borderlands and rage. It is not the “greatest thing evah!” for sure, but it is entertaining to play. In the past couple years I have played more than a few games I found really enjoyable but seem to have this bitter hatred across the interwebs. Defiance, Amalur, and Rage all come to mind.
    The show reminds me of Babylon 5 quite a bit, it’s hard to watch when it’s trying to be dramatic but the action scenes and back story are fun. The main characters are really over acting but it’s the first season and that tends to happen.

    Maybe people just expect more than I do out of media. I find it entertaining and it cost me about the same as a single round of drinks at the bar.

    • drcancerman says:

      Hint: There are secret vendors all over the map. One of them sells an orange Dodge Challenger for 30k scrip(i believe) and a orange quad bike.

      You must clear the 99er’s to unlock the vendor. Or you can stumble upon it after someone cleared it out. (Its on Crystal Pond or you can check it here link to )

      Another hint: Sell just some loot, most of it, go to your salvage matrix and break it down to get ark salvage. That is much more valuable than scrip. Why? Because with it, you can buy keycodes.

      Every 1000 ark salvage gives you one keycode, and the tier 3 lockbox is the best one in price and and chances of loot drop (3items of uncommon quality) . That way you will get blue, purple and even orange fast!

      I got 2 oranges like that.

      if you need help, I’m drmagnumwolf there

  16. EricDotCom says:

    I bought the Defiance game because I liked the television show so much. The television show definitely has the finger prints of the SyFy channel all over it, so it can be a little campy at times. In regards to science fiction shows that are still airing, it isn’t as good as Doctor Who, but it is still good, and it is still worth watching if you really love science fiction.. The new Earth is vastly different than the Earth as it is today, which leaves plenty of space to invent unique and interesting storylines with unknown creatures, cultures, landscapes, and natural phenomenon. Considering the massive budgets that are inherent with nearly all science fiction shows, I have to give the SyFy channel credit for taking a chance with an untested title like this one. Hopefully it doesn’t go down in flames like “V” and “Stargate Universe”.