THQ, SyFy tag-team Red Faction

Comic-Con 2010: Publisher and TV network talk broadcast and game plans for sci-fi third-person shooter, drop hints about game elements.

Who was there: Danny Bilson and Lenny Brown from THQ; leading transmedia producer Jeff Gomez, Alan Seiffert, and Erika Kennair from SyFy; and the writer of SyFy's upcoming Red Faction movie, Andrew Kreisberg.

Red Faction: Armageddon is just one component of THQ's transmedia strategy.

What they talked about: A lot of time was dedicated to defining the word "transmedia" and discussing the implications it has for telling stories and delivering content from a single creative universe across multiple forms of media. Jeff Gomez identified the old model as a company releasing a movie, following it with the novelization of the movie, and then releasing a game adaptation.

In this case, though the game franchise technically came first, the movie is the source of the material from which all the content stems. The transmedia model generates movies, games, comics, and so on concurrently, drawing from an established hub of information and fitting the elements together as complementary pieces of content that enrich the universe.

The key, Gomez explained, is to distill the essence of what makes a story resonate within a given universe. For Red Faction, the stories all resonate strongly with the assertion of free will. If this essence is missing from any product, the result feels like a cheap knock-off.

There was much to-do about the exciting prospect of the Red Faction transmedia venture from all parties. To clarify, SyFy is making a two-hour special that will air in the fall and tell the story of Jake and Myra, the descendants of Alec Mason, the protagonist of Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Then, early next year, THQ will release Red Faction: Armageddon, a game that will star Darius, the son of Jake and Myra. The television special will introduce a new enemy called the White Faction. This faction will be playable in a downloadable game that is also in the works.

Further story details were scant, though two tidbits did come through amid the panel's discussion. One came from Kreisberg, who said that the "three factions" in the game all feel they have claim to all of Mars.

The two known factions are the aliens and the humans who live underground, and it's unclear whether the third faction is the enemy that bombed the surface extensively (seen in Armageddon's trailer), or some other group entirely. Bilson, responding to a question about the possibility of open-world online multiplayer, said that a new kind of multiplayer is in store for the series, and it's all about destruction.

Quotes: "The secret to quality transmedia is partnership, not licensing."--Danny Bilson, distilling the philosophy behind the transmedia approach.

The takeaway: The transmedia approach is going to be a big trend in the coming years as game companies, television studios, book publishers, and more strive to maximize consumer engagement in their products.

Random fact/who knew?: The Producers Guild of America recently ratified its first new recognized position in decades: transmedia producer.

Written By

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

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Discussion

16 comments
xxxxTRISTAMxxxx
xxxxTRISTAMxxxx

This lookings and sounds interesting, but I still will wait and see after the reviews.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Looks interesting, but I'm still a little nervous.

redmachine
redmachine

i've actually really enjoyed Red Faction, But what im concerned about is the open worldness that they seem to be leaving with this new game. We don't want a linear experience. I dont know about you people, but I loved driving around on the surface of mars. It felt harsh, and presented unforgiving landscapes, and civilization that had formed there. I rather enjoyed the first one. Now were going underground, and were losing our open worldness aspect. I'm not sure about this move.

Priest57
Priest57

*shudders* please don't say "tag-team".

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

@Merdy-1 Eh... didn't think of that, actually... I can't say the Red Faction screams communist, but it certainly screams revolutionist. But, yeah, good catch xD

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

I dont know about this game so far...Not really my thing.

Merdy-1
Merdy-1

@ThePurpleBubble...actually seeing as how Red Faction centres on a group of freedom fighters fighting the authority, calling another faction the White Faction makes total sense. Back in the Communist Revolution, the Reds were the radical bolshevik communists and the Whites were the forces of the old order. In this case Red has double meaning, since it refers to the fact that Mars is the Red planet for one, but also because red is the colour of communist revolution, making the White Faction name make total sense too. Seriously...ever looked at the logo of the game? It looks like the Commie symbol to me :P In all honesty though for a company like THQ, this actually sounds like a great idea...I just hope they can pull it off. I'll be watching the series, but then I'm a sci fi nut so yeah...

Nintendo_Ownes7
Nintendo_Ownes7

@HavocV3 the movies are actually good it is just the budget that the movies are bad. The stories are usually great. The writer of the Red Faction two hour special is a good writer and they said if this gets good ratings and is good they will make it into a whole series.

HavocV3
HavocV3

SyFy makes terrible movies.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

Hmmm... SyFy original movies have a reputation for being made of pure crap... Hopefully this'll change that? I'm actually sorta interested - what is this "White Faction"? Sounds a bit corny (Red Faction makes sense, seeing as they're fighting for Mars... White Faction doesn't really seem to have much meaning... seems like it's named just for the sake of having another "Faction"), but... who knows?

Jackc8
Jackc8

I'm much happier about the game being made, and then some cheap SyFy movie coming out to try to raise interest in it. Much, MUCH better than the movie being made and then some crappy game being rushed out to coincide with the release. I'm looking forward to this downloadable thing as well. Should be fun. Overall, this seems like a really good marketing strategy to me.

pudgexd
pudgexd

Can't wait for the next game !!!

Erebus
Erebus

While the story in Red Faction is passable, it certainly isn't why I like the series. Spontaneously inverting monolithic structures, on the other hand, is awesome. Making doors and walkways that correspond to my impulsive landscaping decisions -- this is why I love Red Faction. Having to sit through a lecture on transmedia storytelling, however, is not something I expect from THQ. Granted, I will give THQ the "most-improved gaming company over a 20-year period -- ever" award, so anything is possible.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I just hope the game turns out well