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Firefly MMORPG Announced 309

bishiraver writes "Multiverse has announced that they have gained rights to a Firefly Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Multiverse is a company started by several former Netscape employees, and they have developed an engine/network that works for all of their games. They intend to break into the MMO industry by being an MMO publisher of sorts. By standardizing, they can provide a less expensive alternative to the tens of millions of dollars and several years it takes to currently develop an MMO. They have said they will hire out a studio to build the game for them. Corey Bridgets, Massive's Executive Producer, says: 'If you're doing science fiction, you have to really think it out and create an incredibly rich environment that is compelling in its own right, and worth exploring and going back to week after week. That's what Joss Whedon did with Firefly.'"
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Firefly MMORPG Announced

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  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheViewFromTheGround ( 607422 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:55AM (#17158374) Homepage
    Will the music be unrelentingly corny?
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by saxoholic ( 992773 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:40AM (#17159374)
      I actually found the music in firefly to be anything but corny. There are so many elements of so many different musics, and combined in a very creative and original way.

      The music really helps to intensify the culture infusion forced on this society. It also blends the old west sound, asian sound, and typical "western music" sound extremely well. There's also a lot of emotion expressed in the music. The Ballad Of Jayne and the show's theme are both, in my opinion prime examples of this.

      The instrument combinations are extremely unique, which helps to represent that people were just kind of thrown out into the rim and whatever instruments were around was what they used - atypical sounding or not.

      In the several times i've watched the seasons of the show, I've always taken particular note of the music adding greatly to the weight of a scene. So, I respect your right to criticize it, but as an avid musician and music consumer, I have to respectfully disagree with your statement.
      • Re:But... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheViewFromTheGround ( 607422 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:59AM (#17159448) Homepage
        Thanks for the intelligent reply. What always got me was that there was a certain lack of subtlety in the music -- it felt to me like it drew too much attention to itself, and pushed the whole "it's the Wild West, it's a fusion of cultures!" trope too far, or at least too into the realm of being obvious and just a shade patronizing. On the other hand, I watched the series around the same time that I found The Wire (easily the best show on TV, imho). That show doesn't use background music at all unless it is part of the fictional environment, and I felt that strategy removed a great deal of the artifice from the proceedings and makes The Wire feel more like a documentary. Given some of Firefly's themes and attempts to be gritty and nuanced, I think something similar might have worked really well on the show. But that's definitely not Joss Whedon, and his vision is also what made Firefly excellent TV.
        • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @06:06AM (#17160036)
          Since Firefly depicted the vacuum of space as proper silence, the lack of a music soundtrack would have people wondering if the sound cut off on their TV sets. Some music was needed to seamlessly cut from environments with air to those without it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by vertinox ( 846076 )
            Since Firefly depicted the vacuum of space as proper silence, the lack of a music soundtrack would have people wondering if the sound cut off on their TV sets.

            Why don't they have the simple technology to simulate the lasers shots and explosions like they have on Star Wars with their on board computers to give the pilot a better 3D spacial reference of the battle with sound effects?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bogjobber ( 880402 )
        Generally speaking the show had good music, but the intro theme was unbelievably corny. I don't think it took away from the show because it just played over the credits, but every time I hear it my friends and I crack up. There's something to be said for a little subtlety in lyrics. It is like a caricature of a cheesy cowboy song (speaking as a fan of country and folk music). I'm not sure if that's what they were going for.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:56AM (#17158388)
    Finally, a MMORPG that I might be interested in playing. Quick! Burn my credit cards before I become addicted!
    • Re:OMG! Firecrack! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:58AM (#17158824) Journal
      I loved Firefly. I liked Serenity. But I have serious doubts I'm going to be able to be interested in an MMORPG like this. I don't hate MMORPGs, in fact I love them (although I do define them as an online, multiplayer game where there is an evolving storyline). I originally played Armageddon [] and loved it. I have since tried the Matrix Online [] which supposedly had an evolving story and it was completely boring. Absolutely no enjoyment factor whatsoever (thankfully I tried it with a free account).

      But that doesn't mean graphical MMORPGs must suck. One that is great will be Myst Online: Uru Live. [] I say that with such certainty because we already got a taste of the evolving storyline with the original beta in 2002 - 2004, a detailed account of which can be found here in an in-character manner. [] You can also find a film documentary in several parts here. []

      The big difference between Uru Live and the Matrix Online was that Uru realized you don't need to go around killing people. They also realised that when you first enter an area it can be very confusing and daunting, and so Cyan Worlds limits it by limiting what you can access at first both because areas aren't open to players, but also because areas need a puzzle to be solved before you can go to the next area. This was a problem I had with the Matrix Online as I was allowed to roam free as I liked in a very large area. Although the maps did help alleviate this, I found they actually did too much and took away the challenge in finding out what to do next and so the only challenge was killing people or stopping someone from getting killed. It became very repetitive, which is something Uru Live realises and avoids. Instead each puzzle is unique and there is no leveling so there is no repetitive gameplay (although there are things you can do more then once such as Ahyoheek). []

      However the big differences between Uru Live and Matrix Online was that the Matrix Online felt like it was completely empty of other players. I logged on and I saw no other players around. Perhaps I was simply in the wrong area. However Uru Live does away with that problem by having an introduction that explains where you can go if you want to play alone or where you can go if you want to find other players. It also has only a couple of places you can go to at the start one of which has players. The Uru Live beta has nowhere near the amount of players that Matrix Online does (it is after all a beta that has limitations on who can play) and yet it felt like it was the more heavily populated. I remember when I first logged onto Uru in 2003 I very quickly not only found another person, but I found a character being played by someone. []

      Unfortunately this MMORPG Firefly sounds more like Matrix Online then Myst Online: Uru Live.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:22AM (#17159282)
        Instead of my usual MMORPG haunts, I am trying RealLife: The outside world (tm).

        Mom says there are bad people out there, and they can hurt me. But my friend Bill says that there are real girls at the mall that I can talk to.

        I am going to try it. Call 911 if I don't come back.

        • by Christopher_Edwardz ( 1036954 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:47PM (#17165170)

          Some things to remember:

          • When buying from a merchant, don't repeatedly poke them if they do not immediately turn your way. They don't multi-task as well.
          • When buying from a merchant at the counter, do not hop up and down on the counter in impatience. The guards don't like that.
          • Don't jump off of balconies in an attempt to shorten run distance.
          • While the world is decidedly carebear, permadeath is enforced, so take heed.
          • Heal spells cost incredible amounts of cash.
          • DO NOT strafe around people while talking to them in impatience.
          • The guards have no sense of humor when it comes to a little PVP.
          • Griefing can get you beaten silly.
          • Beggars are still hated.
          • Girls in the real world have a built in knock-back system if you try to oggle their polygons too closely.
          • Some of them also have a pet called "a Muscle-Bound Boyfriend" that you need to watch out for.
          • Unlike some worlds, stuff laying on the ground or on shelves is not to be taken willy-nilly. Such a thing could lead to being flagged a thief by the guards.
          • Small animals you might meet are not there for newbies.
          • The lack of portals and transport spells sucks(!). Lobby for a patch.
          • Do not use /shout, such as: (SHOUTING): "can i get loc of girlz plz thx?!?!?!"
          • Earning money in that game is a pain, but comes with a charisma modifier.
          • Your avatar needs daily maintenance, such as a bath, or suffer a charisma penalty.
          • It's FREE!!!! But... cannot be uninstalled without crashing the system.

          All I could think of for the moment.

    • Re:OMG! Firecrack! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cloricus ( 691063 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:05AM (#17158872)
      To be honest there isn't a market left...Any one who is really after a good space game is already playing EVE Online [] and I know from people I come across there is already a huge Firefly fanbase in the game. Hell every member of my squad is an out right addict of Firefly.

      So the question is how do these people think they can get the depth and sophistication of EVE to draw people away from characters they've already put at least a year into developing. My answer is that I doubt they can for a very long time; EVE is very complex and very well thought out plus by the time this mob have a game out EVE will probably have the FPS areas added. I really can't see myself moving away from it for a simple name branding of Firefly on another game.
      • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *
        I've never played EVE Online, any good? Is there ship interiors? I keep waiting for a space game with ship interiors.

  • by PixieDust ( 971386 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:57AM (#17158394)
    First off, I love Firefly, I thought it was fantastic, and near criminal in being killed in it's infancy. That said, it died for a reason. it didn't generate enough interest.

    It has an almost cult following these days, and those will be the ones playing it. Depending on the marketing for this (and I doubt there will be much), it may survive for a year or so before being scrapped.

    Earth & Beyond was a great MMO, unfortunately, little to no marketing, and just a sort of "Die Hard" fan-base to live on. It just wasn't enough. I suspect this will play out similarly. Historically though, Sci-Fi ish MMOs don't tend to do very well.

    Well, not compared to their Medieval-esque counterparts anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by VorpalEdge ( 967279 )
      The Star Wars MMO was doing good for a while until the formula was fiddled with. Unfortunately, Firefly isn't nearly as popular as Star Wars...
      • by PixieDust ( 971386 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:02AM (#17158448)
        That's my point though. Star Wars has a MASSIVELY HUGE fan-base that literally spans the globe. And it just "Did OK". There wasn't much in it initially to really REALLY grab people, and keep them. Consider it's main competitor of the time was Everquest, which I had the misfortune of playing an absurd amount of.

        Seemed like it wasn't just me that played it, and thought "Huh, this is kinda lame. Think I'll stick with EQ."

        Though some of my friends that kept playing it off and on when they got bored have informed me that it's gotten significantly better, though still doesn't enjoy near the following of successful MMOs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by StupidKatz ( 467476 )
          However, Star Wars Galaxies did not "feel like" Star Wars to some fans. Star Wars was epic, and SWG, well, wasn't. I'm not sure what it's like now, but when it launched, it was basically Everquest with blasters. Some folks did like the crafting system and signed on for that, but I left during the beta after my fat Mon Calamarian got bored being eaten by carniverous butterflies while looking for critters to kill and skin.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cameroon ( 16395 )
      But how could it ever have generated interest, Fox refused to let it play on ANY regular schedule. Only people who were hooked on the first or second show made the effort to figure out when Fox might next play another episode. It was ridiculous. NO show would survive what was done to Firefly.
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )
        What strikes me as funny is how many of the Firefly fanbois out there never saw the show. It became a cult thing, and suddenly it was very uncool to admit you never watched it. If you were to believe what people say /now/, the show must have had more viewers than any other show in history, and that just isn't true.
        (Some of the same happened for Star Trek too -- the ratings while the show ran was nowhere near the claims of people having watched it when it happened.)

        Ah well, without saying whether the show
        • by node 3 ( 115640 )
          How many people have you heard claim they saw the show when it first aired? I'd guess less than a hundred.

          How many people actually *watched* the show when it first aired? At *least* hundreds of thousands.

          I would be very surprised if any significant percentage of the people who've claimed to have watched the series on Fox are liars.
        • I suspect many of the people who have seen it and are fans of it watched the DVDs... I watched a couple of the shows, but I didn't really understand what was going on, since it was shown out of order and at random timeslots. There seemed to be a lot of hype afterwards around when the boxset was came out, and - while I hadn't really like the show - I figured I'd borrow it and give the show a chance. Watching each episode in order was a completely different experience.
        • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:06AM (#17158876) Homepage Journal
          If you were to believe what people say /now/, the show must have had more viewers than any other show in history, and that just isn't true.

          Oddly, another of Joss Whedon's shows brought up this very issue:

          Spike: If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person and spent the next six hours watching my hand move.

          I saw a 15-minute clip of the pilot episode at a convention. It must have been the wrong 15 minutes, because it left me with no interest in watching the show when it aired. A year or two down the line, I got talked into watching it on DVD. It took a couple of episodes, but I was hooked. Soon I wanted to get my own copy of the DVDs. This happened all over the place, hence the post-broadcast fan buildup and successful DVD sales.

          What's interesting is that the fan base that drove the Firefly DVD sales didn't translate to Serenity movie tickets. It did OK, but wasn't the massive success people were expecting. But I recall hearing somewhere that Serenity also did fairly well on DVD.

        • TV Execs and SF. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:10AM (#17158896) Journal
          It seems to me that TV executives just don't "get" science fiction. Star Trek was killed after three years. Farscape's "to be continued" almost never was. Firefly gets canned just as people are getting into it. And to top it off, they fill the SF airwaves with wrestling (wrestling? wrestling? Sheesh, reruns of Mork and Mindy, or Space 1999, or even The Starlost would have been better).

          Hey TV Execs, we SF fans will watch re-runs just as faithfully as mundanes watch new shows. Remember that "Star Trek" show that you wanted to cancel? Ten feature length films, five spin-off series, shelvesful of books, $$$ that almost slipped through your fingers. So, go ahead, run the old Doctor Who episodes in prime time and just watch the numbers. How about feeding NASA-TV footage, or the Jetsons, or Thunderbirds, or the Prisoner, or Planet of the Apes, or...
          • Star Trek was killed after three years.
            Don't forget that was 3 years of abysmal ratings and fans screaming for the show to be canceled and for the blood of those producing it. If the fans of your franchise don't like a show, you've got a much harder time trying to succeed.
            • I was talking about the original series, not Enterprise.
              • Aaah, sorry. My mistake.

                Funnily enough, running the Jetsons or NASA TV on a SCI-FI channel could actually prove to be profitable. However unfortunately there are other things that are MORE profitable. And so NASA TV and the Jetsons reruns will get canceled for those more profitable items. Science fiction television shows doesn't appear to be one of the top profit makers. And so eventually all but the most successful sci-fi shows will get canceled for the larger profit makers. If television channels were onl
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sugarman ( 33437 )
            TV Execs understand SF just fine. When it comes down to it, the costs for costuming, extra set design, make-up, special effects (normal and CGI), added time for integration of all the same, etc, etc, etc, means that the margin on a SF show is that much smaller. While licensing may recoup a portion of that, if it doesn't, they will put in another police procedural or reality show right quick

            That's why SciFi is more likely to succeed if it can fit easily with the real world or other established formats. (eg
            • Have you seen Dr Who? I'm talking the earlier seasons, not the latest two. Costumes were cheap and set design was largely dumpster diving and spraypaint. And despite the obvious low quality special effects, and cheesy appearance, it is the longest running SF series ever. Why? Because SF fans will put up with lousy eye candy as long as they get a good story.

              So, if the Execs would invest the $$$ in writing instead of gloss, they would see a much larger return on their investment.
        • by Eivind ( 15695 )
          I didn't watch in in TV, for the fairly simple reason that it was never shown on any of the ~40 channels I subscribe to here in Norway.

          I have however watched the show from DVD, and found it enjoyable. Not -oh-my-god- enjoyable, but better than most tv-series.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ravenshrike ( 808508 )
      Um, no. It didn't generate the interest because Fox fucked the scheduling. It's STILL in the top 40 for amazon sales. Unless people are buying multiple copies of the box set for themselves, I'm thinking it's pretty damned popular.
    • Come on, you have to admit that Fox didn't really give Firefly a fair shake...showing things out of order, changing it's time slot around and what have you. I would be really surprised if it wasn't capable of generating "more interest".

      That said, there is absolutely no way for me to be impartial when it comes to Firefly. I really loved that show. Hell, I'm not one to get caught up in flights of fancy, but I loved the characters--I actually cried a bit when one of the main characters died. It actually ma
    • I don't think there was a cult following of the warcraft "universe" before World of Warcraft. (and there is not really much of a following now). but it is massively popular. You don't have to be a rabid fan to enjoy a good MMO.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eivind Eklund ( 5161 )
      Firefly popularity was to a large degree messed up by semi-random ordering of the episodes and semi-random playtimes on Fox. So treating the cancellation as lack of interest due to internal issues is not really appropriate; there were external factors heavily influencing this.


  • This could work. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quietude ( 634889 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:57AM (#17158408)
    The show never really clicked with me (I think it was because it took the idea of a "space Western" a little too far) but the universe is perfect for an MMORPG, because there's a wealth of options for character classes.
    • I call whatever class River is :)
    • by CthulhuDreamer ( 844223 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:31AM (#17159024)
      "...because there's a wealth of options for character classes."

      And in true Fox tradition, you start at level 20. When you make 25, you drop back to do levels 5 though 10, then 32 to 37, then back to 11 to pick up your first skill bonus. After playing levels 42-47, 13-18, and 26-31 you finish up with levels 48-59. When you qualify for 60, your character gets dropped back into the tutorial and you choose which class you want to be.
      • by Darth ( 29071 )
        Well, that's the plan but, also in Fox tradition, as soon as your character hits 32 and you start a really interesting story arc, your character class gets cancelled and you have to start over (if they decide to let you keep playing).

        it really amuses me that the word in the image (the one you have to type in when you arent logged in before you post the comment) is satire.
  • by snarkth ( 1002832 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:58AM (#17158410)
    this might live as long as nethack.

      Oh, wait...

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Friday December 08, 2006 @12:59AM (#17158420) Homepage Journal
    I'll happily give you guys money just to float in an empty space that will soon be filled with Joss Whedon goodness. Here's a crazy idea, how about getting him to write the story arc?

  • One word... (Score:4, Funny)

    by SaDan ( 81097 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:03AM (#17158460) Homepage

    This may be the first online life-sucking game I subscribe to.
  • I'm a fan of Firefly. I predict this MMOG is lame.

    A cost-saving MMOG framework just doesn't seem likely to equal "fun".
  • by Jazzer_Techie ( 800432 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:16AM (#17158542)
    I've been lusting after new Firefly content for a long time, but I have to admit that a MMORPG is not exactly the culmination of my homes and dreams. There are so many dangling threads in the Firefly universe (Book, Blue Sun, etc.) that I'd give extremities to see explored/resolved. I just don't think that this kind of gaming experience is going to be able to give that kind of satisfaction. Not that the Firefly universe isn't interesting to explore on its own, but what made Firefly special was its extremely strong characters, and I don't see an MMORPG being able to advance the characters.
  • Firefly's universe would make an excellent MMO, but there is one line here which worries me:

    By standardizing, they can provide a less expensive alternative to the tens of millions of dollars and several years it takes to currently develop an MMO.

    I dunno, but when I think 'standardizing' I think 'making everything the same'. Generic. It's a good thing for some things (like data formats), but MMOs are already widely criticized already for often being the exact same mechanics with a different wrapper over the
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      I dunno, but when I think 'standardizing' I think 'making everything the same'. Generic. It's a good thing for some things (like data formats), but MMOs are already widely criticized already for often being the exact same mechanics with a different wrapper over the top. Surely 'standardizing' that would make this even worse?

      Nothing got the FPS to take off like standardization. One core for all of them to share, then each new game is different. WWII FPS, modernish FPS, futuristic FPS, zombie/demon FPS -
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:42AM (#17158710)
    A game that specifically supports the Chinese gold farmers native language!
  • by Zonk ( 12082 ) * on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:43AM (#17158712) Homepage Journal
    Before anyone freaks out (in a good way), Multiverse [] has yet to ship a product. MMOGs take a lot of time, and a lot of money to produce. While I'm cautiously optimistic about this announcement, it's going to be a while before Serenity flies again.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:45AM (#17158726) Journal
    there will be 21,113 level 60 Inara characters, and everyone else will still be at level 5.

    Never underestimate the stamina, wherewithal, and sheer terrifying focus of horny nerds.

  • ...Failed MMORPG?

    This franchise has yet to succeed in the media it has been developed.
  • Come on guys the sun is shining it's a beautiful day out..... on second thought I just watched the news. Never mind.
  • No matter what one may think of it as a story, a scifi with no aliens doesn't exactly strike me as the best choice for an MMORPG. And it's not like it's been a big success either.
    • by Maserati ( 8679 )
      EVE doesn't have any aliens and it's doing just fine. We broke 33,000 users on the Western server on the 4th (no numbers yet from the Chinese server). Last I heard there were about 150,000 subscribers, a lot of SWG refugees and a lot of browncoats.

      Go check out the new video [] (link is to a .wmv file) and get ready for some serious PVP. The video is one part beauty shots of the new ships and one part a fleet attacking a player-owned space station. And maybe one more part of CCP showing off their explosion effe
  • by The Slaughter ( 887603 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:19AM (#17159270)
    I think I just had a nerdgasm.
  • Paul (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DeadboltX ( 751907 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:33AM (#17159334)
    By standardizing, they can provide a less expensive alternative to the tens of millions of dollars and several years it takes to currently develop an MMO.

    Yay! So instead of each MMO being a drastically different experience we can expect all the MMOs from this company to be horrible rehashes of their prior product with some new graphics. As if the MMO market wasn't becoming flooded with crappy games already, now we can expect this company to churn out horrible MMO's at a rate of 1 or 2 a year!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Augmento ( 725540 )
      they are standardizing the tools for building MMOs. they actually aren't deving the MMO themselves. the part that bothers me is that the multiverse MMO tools and engine are years from being production worthy so the firefly MMO is probably 5-7 years away. the other thing that bothers me is that according to this thread in the multiverse forums. =34&highlight=quad&theme=multiverse [] it is not a very good engine for a space based MMO so it is probably go

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"