Imagine playing a massively multiplayer online game where the actions of you and your friends help shape the storyline of an ongoing television series. That's exactly what the Sci Fi Channel has planned for 2010, as they work with game developer Trion World Network to create the ultimate merging of the TV and gaming mediums.
"A television show that is on once a week isn't enough. The fans today want the experience to go beyond that," Howe said. "For example, we can tell them that there will be an alien invasion at a certain place in the game, at a certain time, and to be there with all their friends and be ready. The outcome depends on them. And then that battle will be part of the universe in the show."
Sci Fi had originally planned to do something similar with their hit Battlestar Galactica, though decided to start fresh in order to create a world in which the players decide who the heroes and villains are.
This of course wouldn't be the first time television show crossed over with a computer game. Last year CSI explored the world of Second Life, creating a virtual experience in the game which allowed players to wander about looking for clues while playing the Law and Order gavel sound wav file over and over again. Maybe that was just me.
This project is different in that players are actually shaping the world instead of reacting to the events of the show. Not only will players take part in events and be featured in show footage, the show's creators will be able to get instant input on how viewers feel about the direction the plot is taking them and adjust accordingly. They'll even be able to launch expansions and new areas based on places the show characters visit. If anything, they'll wind up with the one MMO player-base that actually stops playing to watch television once a week.
As for sp3ecifics, all we know right now is that the game show will take place 80 to 100 years in the future of an Earth that looks very different than our own. Sci Fi plans on revealing more about the project later this year at the San Diego Comic-Con.
Sci Fi Channel is game to join the virtual world [LA Times]