“Space Nation” trailer shows first glimpse inside Roland Emmerich's sprawling sci-fi franchise

“Space Nation” trailer shows first glimpse inside Roland Emmerich's sprawling sci-fi franchise

The director behind "Stargate" and "Independence Day" is launching a new universe, starting with an MMORPG that hits this year before segueing to animated shorts and a TV show.

Roland Emmerich, the director behind Stargate, Independence Day, and Moonfall, is ready to launch his next sci-fi franchise.

EW can exclusively reveal the trailer for Space Nation Online, an MMORPG hitting this year that will kick off a multimedia universe, including planned spinoff games, animated shorts, and a TV series. The footage reveals a first look inside this massive effort, and Emmerich himself sets the stage for what has been described as a space opera.

The main premise of the Space Nation franchise is that humanity fled Earth after an alien assault and now reside within the Telikos Cluster, which Emmerich explains over email is "a distant group of stars in the far reaches of space...It is full of ancient structures from a precursor race hiding secrets that are waiting to be uncovered, occupied planets ripe for human colonization, and lingering evidence of regional conflict."

"We knew they were coming," a voice in the trailer intones as an epic space battle wages. "We knew we couldn't win this fight. Still, those of us who could, fought so that most of humanity could evacuate Earth. In the end, all we could do was buy time."

"We’re not talking about specific characters just yet," Emmerich clarifies, "but players themselves will be central to the narrative. They will join the Parousians, descendants of the human race, working to build a new home in this far-off galaxy by forging alliances and fending off threats."

<p>Space Nation Inc.</p> 'Space Nation Online'

Space Nation Inc.

'Space Nation Online'

There are four primary factions within Space Nation Online, which is powered by the Unity engine and features PvE (player vs. environment) and PvP (player vs. player). The first is the Phoenix Brotherhood, which, Emmerich says, is "made up of the remnants of the military who survived the alien assault on Earth. They have set up bases and defenses in Telikos, and are preparing to defend the human settlements from any further alien attacks."

The second is the Oikos Research Affairs Office, the brains behind the tech that makes it possible for humans to thrive so far from Earth. "Though their work is very important to the survival of the human race, they are not without their controversy," Emmerich notes. "Their collaboration and information sharing with several alien races has gotten them into trouble before, and one of these races in particular is not entirely trusted by the other factions."

The third is the Shepards, which is largely made up of defectors and cast offs from the other factions. They are advocating for humanity to continue on from Telikos, fearing the aliens who attacked Earth are still searching for them and could attack again.

The fourth faction is the Interstellar Ghosts, which is "just a bunch of pirates," Emmerich says. "But a closer look might reveal that there is more to them than meets the eye."

First announced last June, Emmerich founded Space Nation Inc. with Jerome Wu, who previously worked for Blizzard on World of Warcraft; Tony Tang, who hails from Digital Extremes where he worked on Warframe; and Hollywood producer Marco Weber (The Thirteenth Floor, Igby Goes Down). This collective previously expressed their mission to leverage blockchain technologies to support a self-sustaining audience-driven economy in Space Nation Online, while using LLM (large language model) A.I. to enhance NPC-led missions.

"I’ve always been intrigued by the experiences that games are capable of delivering, and that interest has spiked over the past couple of years as I’ve watched the medium evolve to the point that it’s able to deliver narrative storytelling on par with Hollywood," Emmerich says. "Just look at how the same technology that brings modern games to life is also now powering the eye-popping visuals in major productions! As someone who has always had a keen interest in using technology to captivate an audience, I’m energized by the idea of creating connections with an audience in a transmedia environment."

In terms of the larger plans for the Space Nation franchise, Emmerich says the animated shorts will be shared on social media and used to expand the audience’s understanding of the Space Nation universe. "Some will stick to the big picture of life in the Telikos Cluster, delivering a broad view of factional and interspecies relations, emerging conflicts, and the like," he explains. "Other shorts will plug into specific moments from the game’s unfolding story. We’re currently experimenting with the capabilities of generative A.I. to figure out how it can enhance those more reactive stories, since our community will take an active role in shaping the course of the MMO’s plot."

As for the TV show, Emmerich adds he'll have more to share at a later date.

Space Nation Online will launch a closed beta on PC this April 1 ahead of a soft launch on PC later this summer. The global launch is planned for PC and mobile this fall.

Watch the trailer above.

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