MMORPG: Right, so let’s have an overview about this big plague about to hit the world of Defiance. What’s it all about?
Trick Dempsey: The plague is a common virus in many Irathients that is asymptomatic most of the time, but it can manifest flu-like symptoms occasionally. This “I-rath flu” is only minimally harmful to Votans, but it makes the cross-species leap to humans in San Francisco and that will have catastrophic effects on the human population. In humans, the plague is a “viral hemorrhagic fever” that eventually progresses into encephalitis and hardened dermal carbuncles appearing all over the victims. It is incredibly deadly. Most humans die within a couple of weeks of contracting the disease, but some survive to become raging, armored killers as the swelling in their brain and the oozing scabs drive them into insanity. This is “Phase 4” of the disease.
There is no cure for the humans that have reached Phase 4, but others can be treated.
MMORPG: How will this affect the TV show, more than a normal episode story-arc?
Trick Dempsey: The town of Defiance is not equipped to handle Phase 4 of the disease. Their weapons are not as advanced as those in San Francisco, and their lawkeeper forces are not equipped with EGOs. In short, a prolonged outbreak in Defiance would destroy the town. When the first symptoms appear in Defiance, ark hunters in the bay will not have long at all to prevent a phase 45 outbreak in Defiance.
MMORPG: It’s been fun to see stuff from the show cross over into the game, like Rynn’s character for example. But how is the Plague different from what’s been done already with things like the Hellbug
Trick Dempsey: We’ve seen thematic crossovers with the Hellbug event, and we’ve seen characters cross over with Irisa, Nolan, and Rynn. We’ve even seen some cause and effect with the theft of the Libera Nova, but the plague is different. Rather than small private stories which cross between show and game, we are going to see the entirety of Von Bach’s ark hunters invested in saving Defiance. Rather than being solitary adventurers, the ark hunters will become a company of heroes.
MMORPG: What sorts of actions will players have to take to fight off this plague?
Trick Dempsey: Eren NiDen has developed a treatment, a vaccine which can prevent people from developing into the phase of the infection, but it requires nanotechnology buried deep in the terraformed earth to synthesize. Eren has set up vaccine synthesizers in nanotech-rich locations around the bay, but the phase 4 afflicted are drawn to destroy them. Players will be tasked with defending these synthesizers in our new “Siege” open-world gameplay mode. Additionally, the afflicted are attacking and boarding any means of transportation they can get their hands on. The ark hunters will also need to put a stop to this before the plague spreads to neighboring communities.
MMORPG: Are there going to be specific missions or instances tied to the event? Contracts or Pursuits as well?
Trick Dempsey: We have a series of new pursuits dedicated to this event, and a final special instance at the climax of the story.
MMORPG: What will be the rewards for completing this content? How long will it be around?
Trick Dempsey: Players will earn special gear, vehicles, and titles for participating in the plague, but they will not have very long to earn it. This acute outbreak will only last for two weeks, though future sporadic outbreaks may occur later.
MMORPG: Is this part of the new direction the game’s going to take, along with the show, in getting the two to interact? It’s definitely one of the property’s most interesting aspects.
Trick Dempsey: The plague is one of our favorite crossovers, and we will be seeing much more of this kind of event as we move into the second season. Our two favorite kinds of crossovers are when player get to meet and work with characters they will also see on the show, and when players participate in actions that will have a direct impact on the town of Defiance. This is the kind of thing we love to do, it’s why most of us were drawn to the project in the first place.
MMORPG: Thanks much for taking the time to fill us in on the Plague. Is there anything you’d like to add that we’ve missed?
Trick Dempsey: The plague event is our largest event so far. A new gameplay mode and a whole new enemy set are a huge, painful task. It put all of us to the test to produce it, and we’re proud of the results. Good luck, ark hunters... you’ll need it.