MMO shooter Defiance to be revamped up to current gen


Defiance was an odd little thing. A solid enough Borderlands-esque MMO loot n’ shooter, tied in to a mostly-okay TV series. It came, it saw, it faded from the public eye and joined the ranks of a thousand other forgotten MMOs; still active but seldom talked about, supported by a skeleton crew of developers.

While Trion Worlds have done well to support Defiance over the years (including a respectably generous transition to a free-to-play model and a hefty expansion to its map later on) it’s always been held back by its engine, designed around the restrictions of PS3 hardware. Now, the game is getting a current-gen revamped re-release under the banner of Defiance 2050, and is accepting beta applications now.

Set for release this summer (no fixed date), Defiance 2050 promises a pretty major technological overhaul, running on a reworked engine targeting the Xbox One as its new lowest common denominator. While it sounds like they’ll be retaining most of the content from the original release, the new version is officially set four years after the original game, which has perpetually languished in the ever-lasting year of 2046, frozen in time as the TV show got axed after its third season.

When I think back to playing Defiance, three things spring to mind. First is the fact that it was a surprisingly challenging game. Rolling solo, enemies put up a respectable fight and careless play even for a couple seconds could get you flattened. Later enemy factions with their energy shields and dropship-deployed reinforcements put up a seriously stern Halo-esque challenge even for groups, and missions scaled up to match the number of players involved. It was nice to play an MMO which treated players with respect.

Secondly, I remember the weapons. As much as I’ve enjoyed the likes of Destiny 2, most of the weapons there fell into a handful of very rigid categories with only minor stat differences between them, with only legendary/unique gear feeling halfway distinct. Defiance had some seriously weird and varied weapons right off the bat, with guns that shoot toxic gluey goo balls, grenades that spawn parasitic monsters, laser shotguns that fire an almost horizontal flat spread ala Contra’s spread-gun, wild energy pistols that would unload their entire magazine in a second flat and so many different kinds of explosives.

Third is the Arkfall events, which the game marketed itself on. While I feel that they were a little overrated in terms of gameplay mechanics, they were still spectacular to behold. Players around a zone all find themselves gravitating towards these massive dynamic rolling battles against waves of monsters, culminating in a massive slugfest fight against a big boss critter, lousy with glowing weak points. Engine limitations meant that you could only see half the players involved, but seeing 20+ people unloading on a single building-sized beastie with a dozen variants of rocket launchers was a sight to behold, low-fi as it was.

Hopefully, the new iteration of the game will forever banish the visual and network limitations of the game, and allow them to run events featuring larger swarms of enemies to match the player counts. I’d love to see some fights against proper armies of critters, rather than ten or so continually propped up by spawning reinforcements. So far, there’s no word on whether first-gen Defiance owners will be able to transfer their characters and account over to the new version, or whether first-gen adopters (before it went free-to-play) will receive any perks, but I’m glad to see this one getting a second chance.

You can sign up for the closed beta of Defiance 2050 here, or play the original version on Steam, free-to-play, here.


  1. Slander says:

    I really loved the TV show and was deeply disappointed by its cancellation (even if season 3 got pretty weird, even by Defiance standards. Playing the game made the show better for me, and vice versa, because they’re two different methods of immersion into the same world.

    There was some seriously amazing world-building in this franchise and I do hope Trion will ship significant new story content with this overhaul.

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    Apparition says:

    I really liked the show (although I refuse to acknowledge the existence of season three), but the game was seriously hampered by its Xbox 360 limitations. I’m definitely going to check out Defiance 2050. I hope that it will be more open world, and that content will roll out at a better pace.

  3. geldonyetich says:

    I wanted to give it another spin, but I guess I need to wait another 32 years first.

  4. Baines says:

    While Trion Worlds have done well to support Defiance over the years

    I’m sorry, I had trouble getting past this line. The laughter was simply too much.

    Trion Worlds ran Defiance into the ground, then continually dug the hole deeper so they could go even further. Support was abysmal. Quests would be broken for months. I don’t know that the networking was ever fixed, other than the slight improvements caused simply by having fewer people play the game.

    Promises were often broken, particularly once they started really pushing loot boxes. This became worse as the game became more dependent upon its whales.

    Player complaints weren’t just ignored, the project lead routinely did the exact opposite…

  5. potatooverlord says:

    its not cause these mmos are forgotten, ask around, who remembers ragnarok who remebmer swg who remembers wurm who remembers who remembers guild wars . . . i mean the list goes on but im just throwing some good ones out there… everyone knows these games and everyone has good things to say about them, but if you ask why they dont play its because of the grind, at least 80% of us are suckered into MOBAs and shooters like CS:GO and those stupid survival games like DayZ these are popular cause they offer a feel of “acomplishment” in less then an hour, CS is kinda different but still falls under that catagory, and those survival games are literal trash sandwhichs giving campers a buff rather then the complete oposite of grinding for a card in RO for a month or you know trying to build a house . . . . its not like the ones i named are dead but the thrill of adventure and stuff is completly dead, all you wanna do is get to max so you can play with everyone else, good luck though, so in return we got a bunch of stupid mmos that pretty much merge us all together like TESO and Neverwinter LOL fucking broken kids running around with 10000 dps AURAS like please

    im not sure where games fell but it happened in the last 7~ years cause when i a teenager every single mmo i ever tried was packed to the tits with noobs, and some really good action games that werent potato fests were GunZ, gunboud, Rakion and i know i played a bunch of other really good pvp games… but now… its all mobas with “cool” gimmicks, sure they are fun ill admit it but this fucking killed the game industry . . . theres a reason why you dont really see anymore shooters like CS:GO, its cause theres no reason to play any others, kinda like WoW , why bother playing anywhere else if thats where everyone is? thats what we’ve been reduced to

    just take a look at steam charts, i cant even think off the top of my head any popular games outside steam thats how terrible games are now . . .

    herp derp make your own games and see what happens


    edit: as for you trion, you fucking botched a great game, your minecraft mmo was pretty sweet until you made it into a p2convience grind fest

  6. malkav11 says:

    I found Defiance-the-game intensely dull and repetitive, unfortunately. Maybe there were a bunch of unique weapons but I was toting mainly bog standard FPS guns – assault rifles, shotguns, etc – and doing the same damn shit in every Arkfall and every vaguely plot-related mission, too. And boy, talk about a bland and underwritten plot.

    I heard better things about the show but I’ve still never quite managed to bring myself to watch it. I suppose maybe I would have gotten more into the game story if I had.

    • Slander says:

      Once I unlocked an Omec blade, I started doing melee and hoooo boy is that a lot more fun.