Firefly fans may soon get a video game to call their own. The Facebook page for the MMO Firefly Universe Online has been relaunched with a promise for a Kickstarter campaign. Are fans' hopes about to be crushed again, or is the game actually coming out?
If you're not aware, Firefly was a space western TV series that first aired in 2002. Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the ship Serenity make a living on the outskirts of the galaxy through theft, smuggling and other unsavory work. All the while, they try to avoid the cannibal raiders known as the Reavers as well as the tyrannical Alliance.
A major stumbling block for any Firefly video game is 20th Century Fox. Fox, the company that produced the show, apparently owns all rights to the series. They would need to give permission for the game. DarkCryo has apparently been in talks with the company to secure the license for Firefly Universe Online.
"After numerous telephone conversations, both the Executive and Legal Staff of 20th Century Fox have given DarkCryo Entertainment their well wishes for an inspired - not endorsed - title at this juncture," said the developers in a new Facebook post. They point out that there's a big distinction between an "endorsed" and "inspired" game. Presumably an "inspired" game is more restrictive in some way. Maybe it can't use characters from the TV show?
DarkCryo's website says that a Kickstarter campaign will begin in two weeks. They haven't mentioned what their fundraising goal is yet. Given the passion of Firefly's fanbase, though, I'm sure they'll get a whole lot of money.
Kotaku thinks that the whole thing is a hoax. They point out that the game's website has an endorsement from the Yes Men, an activist group performs hoaxes to promote certain issues. Kotaku has since walked back earlier claims that FUO was a hoax by the Yes Men. However, they say it's "definitely a troll job" and "garbage." Not sure what they're basing that on but there you have it.
Even if Firefly Universe Online isn't fake, it seems highly doubtful it'll ever be released. MMO development is a lengthy and expensive endeavor. Kickstarter has proven to be a great source of funding but I don't know if it's enough to fund an entire MMO. It seems unlikely that an outside publisher would be willing to give any additional funding. It just seems like a risky investment; Firefly is a 10-year-old show and DarkCryo has apparently never released a game before. Unless this MMO is a much smaller scale than everyone's imagining, I don't think it's going to happen.
We're left with two possibilities: either someone's playing a prank on Firefly fans or they're trying to make a game that may never be released. Neither are very appealing options. However, it would be nice to know someone's at least trying to make a Firefly game happen.