Friday, July 26, 2013

'Firefly Online:' Is the Upcoming MMO Game a Cause for Excitement, Or Concern? [VIDEO]

Last week, I almost lost my mind with excitement.  I was sitting at my computer, near-mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook news feed, when my eye caught a series of key words all grouped together that gave me goosebumps: "Firefly Online Game Announcement."

The "Firefly" TV series is one of a select few pieces of media that I rented first, and had to own later.  When I was in high school, I ordered the series through Netflix, one disc at a time, and watched all the episodes on a disc in one sitting before immediately sending away for the next one.  Sometimes, it takes me several episodes of a series to decide I like it; but I was hooked on "Firefly" after 20 minutes.

Alas, I knew my enjoyment would be short-lived, due to "Firefly" being cancelled by Fox after only 14 episodes.  As I watched the DVD's, I dreaded the inevitable last moment of the final episode, when there would be nothing more to see.  And when that moment came, I was honestly very sad.

So, of course, I had to have the series to own, to experience over and over again at my leisure.  There was no alternative.  I had become a dyed-in-the-wool "Browncoat," and nothing would ever take that away from me.  Unfortunately, being a high school student with no gainful income to speak of, the $30 cost of the box set was out of my reach.  Luckily, I received it as a Christmas present several months later, and all was right with the world.

Then, in 2005, a friend of my college-freshman-self told me there was a movie trailer that I "absolutely had to see."  I walked to the computer, saw the word "Serenity" scrawled across the screen, and my jaw hit the floor.

A "Firefly" MOVIE!?  Eposode 14 isn't the end?  Am I dreaming??

Luckily, no, I wasn't.

I saw "Serenity" as soon as it came out; and to this day, it remains one of my favorite movies of all time.  Though I own it on DVD, I've yet to pick it up on Blu-Ray, which still bothers me constantly; but I'll get it someday, I assure you.

I can only denounce "Serenity" for one reason; and it has nothing to do with the film itself, but rather, the hope it gave me.  Even before the movie was released, there were rumors about sequels and/or more TV episodes.  I tried not to get excited, but I couldn't help it.  This was a franchise that, despite it's short life, was so expertly crafted and executed, that I was very emotionally connected to it (as are all Browncoats).  I wanted so badly for the saga of "Firefly" to continue, at least in some form.  But here we are, eight years later, without so much as a passing phrase about anything new.

That is, until those words on Facebook caught my eye last week.

At San Diego Comic-Con, developers released a very short teaser for an upcoming MMO game set in the "Firefly" universe.  Simply titled "Firefly Online," the trailer boasts a few seconds of imagery and music that would make any fan giddy.  And that's exactly how I felt when I watched it: giddy.

But after looking into it further, I found that the game is only going to be released on mobile devices, at least at first.  Now, I understand the appeal of that concept on paper.  When you have a vast game set in such a popular universe, why not let players constantly stay connected with their smartphones and tablets, right?

But how many people currently play those types of in-depth, time-consuming MMO games exclusively on their phones?  To me, mobile gaming is about easy, simple, and instant fun; not about hunkering down and questing for hours.  Battery life alone would be a huge issue!

Although, maybe "Firefly Online" isn't going to be that type of game.  Maybe we'll just select ships and crews from drop-down menus and send them out on automated jobs that we check back on  later.  I really, really hope there's more to it than that, but it's a possibility nonetheless.

I guess my bottom line is this: they better not screw this up.  Making a game from a franchise with a devoted following is already risky enough; but add in the fact that Fox has broken the Browncoats' hearts at least once already, and that puts all parties involved on very shaky ground.

Right now, I guess I'll just try to stay optimistic.  After all, something is better than nothing, right?

Here's the teaser.  What do you think?