Firefly Online started out as a game no one thought would really happen. Surely, Fox would brandish its sword of mighty licensing rights and slice the thing to ribbons. But it didn't. In fact, Fox has given the game its blessing.
Thursday night at New York Comic-Con, we got a good look at where the game is headed, and it ain't too shabby. In addition to the cast regulars all returning to reprise the roles we know so well, Alan Tudyk will also be playing a mysterious and terrifying villain (less Wash, more Alpha). The game will also feature Kelly Hu as a replacement for the sadly absent Badger (Mark Sheppard) and Worf himself, Michael Dorn.
Speaking of the cast, to go along with the game there will also be interviews, 14 in all, wherein Morena, Nathan, Adam et al. reminisce about the show. We saw Morena's already and were promised an especially funny one starring Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion.
More on Morena specifically: She was very insistent that Mal and Inara's romantic plot be rekindled in the game, although she admitted that "if they ever did get together, I don't think it would end very well."
As for the gameplay, it's a bit of a sandbox affair. Lots of planets to visit on the map. Yes, Miranda is on the map, but developers were tight-lipped on whether your crew can actually go there. You will be your own captain with your own crew and, more importantly, your crew will learn. So if, for example, you're not a terribly nice leader (one funny bit of gameplay involved a player accidentally shooting one of their own in the butt), they'll be disinclined to stick around.
The actors are all game to come back should Firefly Online find success. Alan Tudyk, in particular, wants more prequel stuff involving him with a ridiculous mustache. From your lips to the gamer gods' ears, Alan.
QmX CEO Andy Gore talked about the importance of diversity in the game. When the need to replace Mark Sheppard arose, it became clear that a non-white non-dude might be a good call, which was a small part of how Kelly Hu landed the gig. But also there's a clear desire to let your own character look however you want them to look. And, yes, your character can be gay or straight.
Before the panel, I confess I was ambivalent and skeptical about Firefly Online, but, having seen some gameplay and hearing what the creators want to do, I'm cautiously optimistic.