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‘The Expanse’ Author Originally Wrote Syfy TV Show as Video Game

Ty Franck, one of the series’ creators, explains the unlikely origin of the sci-fi show and why he hates gaming’s big-space RPG

The Expanse

Sci-fi epic 'The Expanse' returned for a second season on SyFy Channel this week

SyFy / NBC Universal

Season 2 of sci-fi series The Expanse began on Syfy this month, continuing the tale of mystery and diplomacy in space. It’s based on the series of novels by James S. A. Corey which is, in fact, a pen name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Glixel – the new video game site from the makers of Rolling Stone – spoke to Franck about the games he loves, the games he doesn’t, and how a Chinese gaming company was ultimately responsible for the birth of The Expanse.

“A friend of mine whose uncle was a bigwig at a Chinese ISP called and said, “Hey they’re talking about making their own MMO [multi-player online game]. Do you have any ideas that you could pitch to them?” And she said, “Yes, I totally do,” hung up, and immediately called me,” he says.

Fortunately for fans of the novels and the Syfy adaptation, the game was not to be.

“It didn’t get very far – I think what happened was the people who had this idea suddenly realized that delivering a triple-A MMO is like a hundred million dollar proposition. They sort of backed away quietly, but that meant I had never been paid for any of this, which meant it was all still mine.”

He took the notebooks full of material he had created and experimented with, turning it into a role-playing game. In one of the games he ran, Expanse co-author Abraham was a player. Together they decided the notes Franck had made were the foundations of a novel.

As a science fiction writer, you’d expect Franck to be a fan of Bioware’s epic space trilogy Mass Effect, but he has serious issues with the last game in the series.

“I played one through three, and like everyone else, three disgusted me so much I swore I’d never play another Mass Effect game,” he says.

“The first two-and-a-half games promised so much and set up such a fantastic universe, and then the end of the third one, it just… It made everything that had come before irrelevant. It was just a fucking terrible ending.”

You can read the full interview on Glixel.

In This Article: glixel, Video Game

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