The thought of a Firefly online game is undeniably appealing: who wouldn't want to man a ship and fight across Joss Whedon's rich universe, meeting Browncoats and fighting off Blue Sun? Even Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski drools at the thought of an action/role-playing game based on the cult classic sci-fi series.

This is not that game. This is, to quote Fox's press release, "a multi-user, social online role-playing game that will initially be available for smartphones and tablets, including those based on iOS and Android operating systems."

That sound you just heard was Firefly fans everywhere throwing up a little bit.

Firefly Online is being developed by Spark Plug Games, the studio responsible for a number of mobile games like Dairy Queen Tycoon and Plight of the Zombie. And hey, maybe they'll make a great game. But the red flags—a trailer with no gameplay; an online RPG for smartphones and tablets; the words "social online role-playing game"—are way too troubling for my tastes.

The game will be out next year, and you can sign up here. Here's hoping it's not as soul-crushing as it seems.