Video Games & TV Merge to Co-create Plots


The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts.

As part of a trend we’re calling Multi-Dimensional Entertainment, we’re taking a look at ways in which creators are developing unique content for multi-screen and multi-device users.

An example of this trend is Defiance, which is a new cross-platform experience created by Trion Games and Syfy Network that debuted in April of this year. The franchise combines video gaming and television into a new and unique transmedia experience, which is set in the year 2046 on a transformed Earth ravaged by conflict and alien attacks, where mutants, evil alien races and robots terrorize what’s left of human civilization.

The game, which is a massive online role-playing experience, takes place in a futuristic version of San Francisco, while the TV series is set in the former city of St. Louis, now called Defiance. Since both the game and TV show share the same world, events that take place on either platform have the ability to impact the evolving storyline and gameplay of the other, adding a unique element of interactivity and surprise to the entire enterprise.

The plan of simultaneously expanding the world based on the actions happening on two distinct platforms can enhance both the viewer’s or player’s enjoyment of the franchise, while also providing multiple outlets for them to engage with the story and its characters. This level of experimentation, is breaking new ground and setting the stage for what future viewing experiences could become. As highlighted by one of the franchise’s feature actors, Grant Bowler, “When you take the synthesis of the game and the show together, you’re at a whole new level of excitement, you’re at a whole new level of difficulty,” but the audience seems to have responded positively with over one million registered users of the game and the TV series getting renewed for second season.

Similarly, Quantum Break, developed by Remedy for Xbox One, is part cinematic action shooter and part episodic television series, with each half of the multimedia game affecting the other. As creative director Sam Lake says, it goes well beyond the typical ‘choose your own adventure’ style game, ‘‘Both the game and the show are meant to be consumed together, episodes between the two interweave. This is a dream come true, and looking at our past games, it’s a logical leap forward.’ Aspects of the story are designed to change based on player choices, unlocking unique television content for each user. The concept not only creates a unique play experience, but also the opportunity to build a new kind of cross-media content platform.

Come back tomorrow for another example of Multi-Dimensional Entertainment in iQ by Intel’s Future of Entertainment series.