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Defiance was a Massively Multiplayer Online Third-Person Shooter developed by Trion Worlds, released on April 2, 2013 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and serving as a tie-in for the TV series.

In an Alternate Timeline where Earth was devastated in a nine years-long conflict between humanity and a collection of alien races known as the Votanis Collective until a truce between a group of human and Votan soldiers during the Battle of Defiance in San Francisco ended what would be later known as the Pale Wars.

Thirteen years later, the United Earth Republic (a nation formed in north-eastern U.S following the war) hires a number of Ark Hunters — heavily-armed adventurers and scavengers of Votan technology that surfaced shortly after the war — as part of an expedition sponsored by Von Bach Industries to the ruins of San Francisco in search for lost Ark technology and to establish a foothold in the region. You, one of the many hired Ark Hunters, are given a combat enhancement E.G.O implant just before the expedition goes into disarray fast upon entering the Bay Area, and you end up teaming up with an Irathien scavenger named Cass Ducar, renowned technology C.E.O Karl Von Bach and Lawbringer Jon Cooper, as you travel across San Francisco trying to stop a xenophobic alien faction — believed to have dissolved after the Pale Wars — trying to assemble and activate an Ark in order to wage a war against humanity and those willing to co-exist with them.

In July 2018, the game was relaunched as Defiance 2050 with better graphics, rebalanced gameplay, items, weapons and events, and was also released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, this version co-existed with the original game, which received the retronym Defiance 2013.

After 8 years, Trion Worlds shut down the servers of both the original 2013 game and the 2050 version on April 29, 2021, citing the games' low playerbase making the games no longer being profitable enough to keep going.

Defiance provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Season 4 only had one episode which introduces the Neo-Votanis Front as the successors of Dark Matter, and the revelation that the Shrill have a Hive Mind, with the episode ending with Captain Grant believing that the destruction of their base was not going the last they would see of them.
    • 2050 was advertised to have a new storyline set in 2050 — four years after the original campaign — that was going to take the place of the original game's post-launch story missions. However, it never managed to actually begin due to Trion Worlds' reduced workforce and the game not being profitable enough to justify the investment yet the advertisement still mentions this aborted storyline.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Earth Republic is portrayed as The Federation, if albeit flawed and over their heads, rather than the anti-alien, authoritarian and expansionist empire from the TV show.
    • Though they do occasionally show that side, such as the Piper Project questline. The Votanis Collective also gets their chance at this in Season 4, as Torc Mok's old unit, the Ekaru Kome, shows up to kick some Neo-Votanis Front ass alongside you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: All events will have an ammo station appear with them, meaning that players don't have to leave the area to find ammo.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Dark Matter. They essentially are on par with Ark Hunters, with their own Energy Shields, tougher than most armor, and even squad-like tactics. If a Nano-Effect lights them on fire, they dodge roll until the fire is snuffed out. If a sniper tries to shoot the front of the head instead of the back, they will immediately run and duck for cover. They will even throw grenade to flush out an enemy from their cover spot.
    • More specific on the topic of Dark Matter, the Bulwarks. Ridiculously difficult when trying to fight them solo, they will go around your cover for an open line of fire. If that's not enough, they will launch grenades and even set your position on fire. Also if an enemy is too close for comfort, they will stomp on the ground, launching them away and repeatedly fire at said enemy, cutting down health rapidly.
    • The Dark Matter enemies know they outnumber you, and know how to use it against you. If you're inside, they'll use their numbers to drive you back and into a corner where you can't escape. Outside, they'll circle around you and get you in a crossfire.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Pretty much the only way you can damage bigger enemies apart from massed fire from several Ark Hunters.
    • Played completely straight in the case of "Boss" enemies like Dark Matter Monoliths (Knees, then Tachmag Drive), Hellbug Hellions (Armpits, acid-spitting maws on Mature ones, then the Symbiote for both) or Scrapper Progenitors and their Armatures (Internal Core, Glowing Vents on the Armatures).
  • Attack Drone: Starting ability of the Engineer class, Armed to the teeth, and rather fittingly named "Fury."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Often part of the last step of a Major Arkfall involving Hellbugs, Dark Matter or Scrappers, involving, respectively, Hellions, Monoliths, or Progenitors.
  • Auto-Revive: You have a self-revive that recharges over time.
  • Arkfall Breaking Bug: A current problem that can come up is that sometimes, during major Arkfalls, one of the smaller ones won't complete despite the objective being completed, therefore making the Arkfall unable to be completed, making everyone's efforts useless.
    • Can occasionally be solved through liberal use of explosives, such as the Engineer's Minefield, as an enemy who spawned under the floor/ground is often the problem in question.
  • Barrier Warrior: 2050's Guardian class has a few fitting abilities for this trope. On the enemy side, most notably Dark Matter Monitors, and the occasional Shielded Grid Sentry.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Arkfall system turns players into this. During major Arkfalls the first stage is four or more smaller events, it's quite common for a single or pair of players to be trying to hold the line at one and be reinforced by two dozen players riding in on ATVs, dune buggys, and Dodge Challengers.
    • Can also be a subversion as well: One player who knows what they're doing is easily capable of beating a minor Arkfall challenge. The two dozen cavalry who ride in to the rescue then subsequently turn all the enemies into outright bullet sponges with orders of magnitude more health than they used to have. Of course, the subversion itself can be subverted if a particular contingent of Ark Hunters just showed up with the proper ammunition type to cut through them like butter.
  • Big Freaking Gun: Light Machine Guns, Sniper Rifles, Those massive energy miniguns you occasionally get to use...
    • Special note probably goes to 2050's Archimedes' Wisdom, which is what looks to be a Vehicle Mounted Railgun that's been turned into a Sniper Rifle.
  • Big Good: Shared more or less by Noah Grant and Ara Shondu, being respectively the leader of all E-Rep troops in the area, and Paradise's political representative. Both prove to be a Reasonable Authority Figure to the Ark Hunter, and provide assistance when needed.
    • By the time Season 3's rolled around, they've also turned Alcatraz Island into a refugee camp for survivors and those displaced by the Kaziri's terraforming attack.
  • Body Horror: The result of getting hit and killed by an Infector. Or honestly just being shot with one at all, given they spawn massive cysts on your that burst into flesh-eating larvae that proceed to dogpile you.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Goes with the standard "this is a weak spot for humanoid targets in games" route. Rather satisfyingly coupled with Your Head Asplode in the case of most humanoid enemies when headshot with a high-caliber weapon, but oddly averted with the Raider faction in both the original and reboot.
  • Broken Bridge: What's left of the Golden Gate Bridge. And pretty much every other pre-Arkfall bridge in the area.
  • Bug War: Anytime a large Arkfall occurs with the primary enemies being hellbugs. Expect battle zones to be filled with car sized bugs duking it out with literally dozens of ark hunters.
    • And they can show up in the bonus waves of other factions' Arkfalls. Good News: they also attack the enemy faction. Bad News: when both factions fight you, they synergize VERY well (sticky tar throwers + rocket launchers = trip to the hospital).
    • Exaggerated when fighting the Shrill, who're both this and The Assimilator.
  • Crapsack World: The game and show both take place after an apocalyptic event called the Arkfall wiped out or mutated most terrestrial life and kicked off a series of global wars.
  • Car Fu: You can kill most low level enemies by running them over. It even levels up your driving skill with that vehicle type!
    • Encouraged even with the "Hell on Wheels" EGO perk, which boosts your vehicle's health and ramming damage to the point you can easily make Roadkill out of any non-elite enemy (and a few Elites for that matter) once it's maxed out and you have a decent number of driving levels.
  • Charged Attack: Some weapons can be charged up to make their next shot deal more hurt (better chance of elemental debuff, multiple bullets in one release, etc.)
  • Cut Short: Defiance 2050 only lasted three years before the servers were closed. That said, it was a very stripped down version of the original game, leaving out two entire zones (Alcatraz and Silicon Valley), several enemy types (Shrill, Neo-Votanis Front and The Pilgrims of the Guiding Light), and a lot of background information on the more mysterious enemy types like the Grid, as well as a continuation of what happened to Von Bach Post-The Stinger. This likely happened due to a portion of the primary voice cast not being able to return for later "Seasons" so the storylines were removed/replaced in favor of VA continuity.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: 99ers, a group of miners, turned psychotic and started replacing more and more of themselves until they were over eighty percent machinery. It's implied the original psychosis came from an external third party, however.
    • Despite looking it, averted in the case of Nim Shondu. He was already an asshole long before he needed them.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Grenade launcher using enemies can do this to you if you're not careful and stand still when fighting them.
    • Enemies can knock you back or knock you off your feet. Repeatedly.
    • Of course, you're quite capable of dishing these out yourself too with the right equipment.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Hellbug Monarchs expose their vulnerable underside when rearing up to attack. But if you don't stun or kill them...
    • Raider Rioters as well occasionally do this, leaving them open to shots not deflected by their shield.
  • Drop the Hammer: The 2050 Crusader Class can summon a rather massive Warhammer to smash enemies with.
    • the 99er "Motherlode," a cyborg the size of a house that served as a boss for the Motherlode Dungeon, and 99 Problems Arkfalls also carried one longer than it is tall. And capable of launching dozens of Ark Hunters into the air with one swing.
  • Enemy Civil War: "Mutants" are former EMC soldiers driven insane by... something. Hellbugs are mindless giant insects that attack everything that isn't a Hellbug. Raiders can be of any human or votan species (except Volge), and will steal anything that they can sell for scrip and attack anyone they can steal from. Dark Matter is a rogue Votan supremacist faction still fighting a war that ended 15 years ago and then reform into the Neo-Votanis Front after Nim's death and try to start a new one (for about the fourth time at that point, if it hadn't been for you). The 99ers are former workers of Mine 99, who have gone insane and begun turning themselves into cyborgs for the lulz. The Volge are ten-foot-tall mercenary bruisers with thick energy shields who like setting up roadblocks for no particular reason. There's an obligatory zombie faction in The Afflicted. The Scrappers are basically robotic Hellbugs, and the Grid are Hive Mind nanomachines possessing the bodies of members of the other factions (usually raiders or 99ers). You've got every type of basic enemy and they all hate each other almost as much as they hate YOU.
    • And that's not even bringing the Shrill into the mix, who just want to assimilate everyone and everything.
  • Energy Beings: The Gulanee, both in friendly/neutral flavors with the Ex Inanis and their leader Py'Numbra, and the Not-So-Friendly Leader of the Raiders, Dy'Dekuso.
  • Fading Away: Most enemies' corpses do this eventually, but you can also cause it on kill by using Quantum-specced weapons/ammo.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Let's just say that the people who worked on the show and the people who worked on the game didn't communicate quite as much as they should have, leading to enormous differences in the portrayal of E.G.O. Implants, Bio-Men, Varus Soleptor, etc.
    • though at least in the case of Bio-Men it can be argued that the two met in the series weren't mutated like Mount Tam's EMC contingent. and Varus is still a slimy bastard in both the game and series.
  • Gravity Barrier: The hills around San Francisco are set up in a way that guides you through the main storyline. A decent vehicle will help you get past them later, if you're interested in scaling them.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: While this trope is implied to be possible in the show, the game outright confirms it with the introduction of William Parraba; the first person conceived between a human and a Votan (an Irathient, to be precise).
  • Hand Cannon: Unsurprisingly, given what Ark Hunters have to deal with on a constant basis, most ingame handguns are this, especially the M212 Demon, which is easily recognizeable as the preferred weapon of both Jon Cooper and Joshua Nolan of the Defiant Few. Of course, it's pretty much implied this is true of all of them, given Pistols share most mod choices with Sniper Rifles.
  • Healing Shiv: The Bio-Magnetic Gun, or BMG, an entire category of weapons with some interesting traits, one of which is that they heal the user. Their other interesting traits are that they always hit, never run out of ammo, and can link to additional players/enemies.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: All players can carry up to 35 weapons/shields/mods by default, and you can buy additional inventory slots with real money.
  • Insufferable Genius / It's All About Me: Von Bach all the way. From his introductory scene he paints himself as an arrogant know-it-all, and imposes himself as future savior of Earth due to him having a Ark core. He also repeatedly hits on various female NPCs like Cass Dukar and Ara Shondu, in a manner that suggests they owe him for having the Ark core and being the possible savior of Earth.
    • Actually a cue that something is up with him during the intro to Silicon Valley when he DOESN'T act like an asshole. Of course, once you get LOCI's Ego out of his head, he's right back to being one again.
  • Interface Screw: Electric-element attacks disable your friendly nanomachine AI. This doesn't kill her, but it prevents you from using the HUD while it's active, including weapon zooming for some reason (Probably to prevent lock-on weapons from doing so, such as guided rocket launchers).
  • Invisible Wall: The dark areas on the map edged with a yellow line are this. Sometimes they don't quite match up.
  • It's Up to You: Justified when you fight Nim Shondu; his EGO augmentation makes him superhuman (he combo-killed 18 men at the Battle of Defiance with a SWORD.) and you are the only one with an EGO while everyone else has to hold off Dark Matter.
    • Also justified in Season 2's Boss fight with LOCI-possessed Yorgad Gorhash, as Karl locks you in the Tachmag Drive room with him, essentially for the same reason, LOCI basically being a rogue EGO Device to begin with.
  • Kill It with Fire: No shortage of Incendiary ammo or weapons for Ark Hunters, ofc. For enemies, Raider Igniters with Molotovs, Fire-breathing Hellbug variants, and the 99er's aptly named "Smelter" Miniature Cyborgs.
  • Les Yay: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment (during the Human-Irathient hybrid quest), you'll see Rosa and Eren hold hands.
    • Pretty much confirmed in Season 2's questlines that they've become a couple.
  • Marathon Level: The Solstice Strike major arkfalls. Like most majors, you do four minors before doing a final, boss one. They're already tough because they use the Volge and love to spawn several Viscera, already bullet sponges on their own; however in place of a Boss Battle the final one is simply wave after wave of Volge, likely to be at Ark level due to the number of players doing them. The final arkfall alone takes around ten minutes. Add to that the ten minutes you likely spent clearing the minors and this is one grueling arkfall.
    • Season 2's final dungeon is also this, given the sheer amount of Grid and Pilgrims you'll have to fight through, and a pair of hard boss fights on top of that.
  • Mirror Boss: Nim Shondu has the same four action skills that the ark hunter can use, only better. During the first round, he'll use blur and cloak in tandem to get close to you and perform well-timed charge attacks. During the second round, he'll cloak and deploy multiple decoys that can deal actual damage; his limit breaker is to surround you with decoys across the room and have all of them charge a ranged attack at the same time. During the final round, he'll lose it and go into permanent overcharge, which looks like a cyberdemon; he spams ranged attacks. To make things fair, he uses a force blade and his ranged attacks are non-bullet.
    • Same is true of Season 2's penultimate boss as well, Yorgad Gorhash.
  • Monumental Damage: The broken Golden Gate Bridge is shown in loading screens, and eventually, seen in person. Also, there's the fact that San Francisco is now a square island, which means that the Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge, SFO, etc. are all simply gone.
    • Averted with Alcatraz Island, as it's more or less intact, apart from a few Terraform-caused Vine tearing through the stone. There's also a small Refugee camp and Pale Wars-era Bunker added, likely because it's one of the few landmarks to remain intact post-Arkfall.
    • Silicon Valley somehow survived... the land, that is. Almost every building and road is in RUINS, made more emphasizing by the lack of ecological damage.
      • By that, we mean there's a piece of land that survived, and it's called Silicon Valley. Roughly maybe about a kilometer and change long, and about 600m wide. The other 95% or so of what used to be Silicon Valley is now underwater.
  • Mood Dissonance: Due to the basic use of stock audio for every sidequest, you could do a mission that has a jarring and disturbing end, yet the quest giver will remain positive and cheerful. Example: Rosa's friend went on a 45-day spirit quest only to get burned and hanged by bandits. Rosa's response?
    Rosa: Oh yeah! This is the news I wanted to hear!
    • One of the notable fixes in 2050 was her no longer using that response.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The Player Character is always an Ark Hunter but you are a allowed to chose one of four origins; Veteran of the Pale Wars, Survivalist, Outlaw and Mechanist.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: More or less the reaction of the Defiant Few who chose to set off the terraspire and wipe out both the EMC and VC forces at Fort Defiance to the point many were Driven to Suicide, and the rest became The Atoner.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: There's a zombie faction, the "Afflicted". Grid Revenants also count.
  • Projected Woman: The Ark Hunter's female Implanted AI, E.G.O., Very much an Adorkable Genki Girl most of the time whilst also acting as the Ark Hunter's Mission Control and Ms. Exposition.
  • Random Event: Everything from Arkfalls to enemy roadblocks.
  • Random Number God: The above-mentioned Random Events make the RNG very unforgiving during racing. Since the races take place on open terrain, the random events can interfere, potentially screwing up a Gold Medal time by dropping a Hellbug in your path.
    • Events will also appear in areas where an open-world PVP Shadow War is occurring, even right on top of one of the control points being fought over.
  • The Reveal: The final bad guy is someone that we assumed had been dead for years
  • Really 700 Years Old: Sensoths are noted to live up to two centuries, and Torc specifically mentions he's been a soldier most of his life. He likely wasn't exagerrating when he told Von Bach he's killed more people than Karl's ever met. And that's on top of using the Terraspire at Fort Defiance, which is saying something.
  • Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink: Alien immigrants bring such nifty things as starships, terraforming, Nanomachines, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, energy weapons, Energy Beings, a plague that turns people into not-zombies, Mutants of both human and animal origin, genetic engineering enough to create Super Soldiers, and more.
  • Sentry Gun: One of the Engineer Class's Tier 3 abilities is to summon a rather massive one of these to lay waste to their enemies.
    • Most of the sapient residents of the Bay Area also have these in abundance tied to solar powered generators, both friendly and hostile. Not terribly surprising, given the hostility of the local wildlife.
  • Shock and Awe: Electric-specced weapons and, for 2050, ammo mods. Unsurprisingly quite effective on shields, and satisfying High-Voltage Death electrical death spasms.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played straight and averted depending on the type of shotgun. Some are slug based and give up straight damage for a considerable range increase, whereas others are effectively useless beyond five feet but kill almost anything dead in one salvo. Still others are essentially misnamed grenade launchers.
    • There are a LOT of weapons that are a certain type in name only, from machine guns that fire rockets to pistols that function like submachine guns.
  • Shout-Out: If a weapon looks like it's inspired by District 9, it probably is; according to one of the concept artists, the art director was a huge fan of it.
  • Stat Grinding: Using weapons/vehicles increases your stats for using weapons/vehicles of those type. This transfers over to the mini-challenges, which is REALLY useful for winning an insanely unforgiving time trial.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Speciality of the 2050 Demolitionist class. The Engineer's left-side Tier 2 choice Minefield is also this, especially if you land it on top of a horde of enemies.
  • Unflinching Walk: Subverted and lampshaded. You, Jon Cooper and Torc Mok walk away from a Dark Matter artillery base as it explodes. Torc turns around to look.
    Cooper: Torc, I thought you of all people would know you don't do that.
    Torc: Pow Shit. I always look! What's the point of causing an explosion if you're not going to enjoy it?
  • Was Once A Woman: Season 2's questline reveals that EGO's personality is an Indogene Scientist named Reh Valamm. She was the actual creator of the EGO Device, whereas the credited creator, Yargad Gorhash, lied about personality conversion tech used to make the Implants being "perfectly safe," having it kill her and take the credit for himself. EGO is understandably troubled and angry about this revelation, and mentions she's been looking forward to the inevitable boss encounter that happens.
    • Ironically also true in Yargad's case, as LOCI resurrects him as a puppet, EGO actually expresses sympathy for this, and you, Cass and her sit with him as he draws his last breath, much to Von Bach's annoyance.
  • Wham Line: Cooper revealing to Ara that the Defiant Few chose to set off the terraspire at Fort Defiance.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It's heavily implied at least some 99er Smelters are cyberized children.
    • Kind of obvious in Dark Matter and the Raider's case, as the former hate ANYONE who associates willingly with humans, and the latter are cannibalistic homicidal maniacs.