The Expanse Was Originally Penned As An MMO Video Game

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The Rolling Stone magazine labeled The Expanse the most politically relevant show on television and the best science fiction series since Battlestar Galactica. I have to agree with the first comment, as it focuses heavily on uneasy issues such as social class systems and political unrest, but, I think The Expanse is far better than BSG.

BSG was great at the start. It was classy and gritty at the same time, with brilliant sets, props and a decent cast. You could feel the storylines and you knew the heroes, until they all turned out to be Cylon’s, or did they? I forget. Anyhow, to me, The Expanse feels like it has more potential than BSG and if it gets the correct treatment from its producers, could go further than many other sci-fi shows have done in recent memory. It already has season 3 confirmed, but it could have been very different.

The show is 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. It sticks fairly close to the plot of the books, so if you aren’t averse to knowing the story before you watch the show, I would suggest getting on Amazon and buying yourself the paperbacks.

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The Expanse co-author, Ty Franck, recently spoke to Rolling Stone about how the Expanse came into fruition and how it was originally going to be a video game. I think we are all glad it wasn’t:

 “It was an idea that I had been playing around with for a long time. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the book The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester? It’s one of the most famous science fiction books, winner of the first or second ever Hugo Award. I had read that when I was 11 or 12, which is way too young to read that book because it’s got some pretty adult stuff in it, but it really changed my brain. Part of the setting – and this is not the main plot of the book – but the setting is that the whole Solar System has been colonized and the people who live in the outer planets are fighting a war with the people in the inner planets. That’s all just in the background, none of that really matters directly to the story, but that idea got in my brain at 12 and it just stayed in there. It never went away.”

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“I’m an astronomy geek, so I was doing all this reading about all the various moons of the gas giants, and if people were going to live on them, how would that look and how would that work. I was writing up a lot of this stuff and thinking it would be a cool pen-and-paper game. Then 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. Do you have any ideas that you could pitch to them?” And she said, “Yes, I totally do,” hung up, and immediately called me. She’s another writer, but she just wasn’t somebody that played a lot of video games.”

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“Even in the books, you can still see some of the bones in there. This is how I know World of Warcraft was out because I was aware of it and I knew that in there were two factions. There’s the Alliance and the Horde. I was like, “Oh well, we’ll be better, we’ll have three factions.” That’s why we have Earth, Mars, and the OPA. The idea being that you would start out in one of those locations just like you start out in World of Warcraft as an Alliance or Horde and then gradually become involved in bigger and bigger events as you play through.”

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