Date: October 27, 2018
If you can remember when Joss Whedon was famous for creating the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and not the Avengers, then you’ll likely also remember his other great series Firefly. Firefly told the story of the ragtag crew of the starship Serenity, struggling to survive by smuggling and taking on any jobs they could to keep their ship together, and the crew fed while desperately trying to stay off the radar of the Alliance. The Alliance being an overzealous version of Starfleet.
The series was cancelled after one series, but after much pleading a film was made called ‘Serenity’ which tied a nice bow around the series, and made everyone happy. Well, despite this, fans of Captain Mal Reynolds, Jayne Cobb, River Tam etc. have still wanted more whether this is in the form of new series, comic books or a video game.
Firefly Universe Online was the name of the unofficial game developed by DarkCryo, which Joss Whedon was aware of. But in 2013 at the San Diago Comic-Con, the official online game based in the Firefly universe was announced for iOS and Android, and eventually Windows and Linux, developed by QMx Interactive and Spark Plug Games.
Gameplay footage was shown at the following year’s comic con, and they announced that the original cast would be providing the voice acting. Screenshots and basic gameplay footage videos become available. Everything seemed positive and the fans dared to dream that when it was released in the Spring of 2015, that they would finally get a chance to play the Browncoat of their dreams. Further DLC’s were also discussed where you could play for the Alliance and even meet the sadistically, brutal and feral Reavers.
Now everything is quiet. The keepflying.com webpage, held as the official Firefly Online website goes to a simple “Page Cannot be Displayed”. There has been nothing on Twitter since 2015, and only a Facebook post claiming “We’re still here. We’re still flyin’. Game is still in development. Stay tuned.” posted on March 2016.
To all intents and purposes there is nothing recent anywhere except the continued hope and endless searching of facts from the fans.
So, what happened?
Well, Fox put a gag order on the actors and the studios, forbidding anyone to discuss Firefly Online. This is a fairly heavy-handed approach, no one is really quite sure whey they have acted in such a way. As far as anyone knows there were nothing illegal or under investigation going on.
u/Sybsidian/ in this post on Reddit claims they spoke to Fox and Fox Entertainment Financial Dept and was able to confirm that there were still payroll payments going out to the project on a monthly basis, and that several elements of keepflying.com such as the Cortex link and inner file systems were still working.
However, the same post also had the opinion that “… if it does not drop in 2017 then it’s on ice or cancelled for sure… 100%… due to licensing and a possible reboot to the series planned for 2020 it’s hard to say for sure where we go from here as fox is not the best company for “practical thinking”.
With it now being Oct 2018, and a rumoured reboot of the Firefly series in rumour, it’s easy to imagine that if we were to get a Firefly Online then it would be based on the rebooted series not the crew of the dilapidated vessel we all know and love.
Another example of Fox appearing from the outside to be acting in a confusing way, if they are developing something then why keep it secret. As we have seen, you can rake in so much cash with hype and inflated expectations that the end product doesn’t actually need to be good to be financially viable, so again why all the secrecy?
As much as I would like to see a Firefly Online game, I genuinely don’t think there’s going to be a big enough fan-base to make the game financially viable. Though, if Fox had any financial concerns, then it would have been just plain stopped. Fox have never been apologetic about cancelling things before.
It’s hard to imagine a time nearly 15 years after the original series was broadcast, that a successful and financially viable game based on the Firefly series will be produced. If it was produced, after all the waiting and speculation by the fans it had better be damn good. Personally, I feel it is probably the best that Firefly Online is left to drift in space for the Reavers, while the fans focus on just how good the Firefly TV Series and concluding film, Serenity was instead.