Interviews

DC Universe Online

Interview: Create your own superhero

Who hasn't daydreamed about being a superhero at least once in their life? If you're not flying upside down shooting red lasers out of your eyeballs, then you're probably standing next to Megan Fox, invisible, as she takes a long, hot shower. While DC Universe Online isn't that type of game, you do get to create your own hero. Wes Yanagi, senior producer, tells us where the game's at.

How are DC Universe players going to interact with the major DC superheroes, like Super Man or Wonder Woman?

Yanagi: Imagine you're a hero who's just arrived on the streets of Metropolis. Suddenly, you see Superman off in the distance fighting Lex Luthor in his power armour. What are you going to do? What even can you do?

If you help Superman, how might that affect your relationship with the Man of Steel? And what if you decide to ignore the situation? With DCUO we really want players to take part in their own journey of good or evil. How that unfolds will depend largely on the decisions you make and who you decide to help or betray.

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So we can't play as Batman or The Flash, but how robust is your character creator? Exactly how detailed can we get with our heroes?

Yanagi: We're not ready to discuss character creation yet, but if you've seen our demo at E3, the characters we had on display are fairly representative of the level of customisation you'll get from the game. We also know certain characters have mass appeal. Take Batman. You can't be the Dark Knight, but if you wanted to be like him, we'll give you an "inspired by" option that fills out your character options.

How accessible are you making the game? Can a player log on and have a quick 20 minute session?

Yanagi: Our focus is about friends playing together and having fun online. That means different things for different players. If you've got a few hours, we'll definitely have some content that will fill that time frame. However, we also realise not everyone does, so we're intent on providing shorter, meaningful chunks of gameplay, but still allowing them to feel like they've accomplished something.

EverQuest and World of Warcraft have established plenty of MMO clichés generally attached to the fantasy genre, such as levelling up and character classes. Have you tried to avoid these?

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Yanagi: There's a difference between a cliché and a convention. Elves might be somewhat cliché at this point, but there are a lot of MMO conventions that we'll definitely be using because they work.

So as you're blasting your way through S.T.A.R. Labs, you will be gaining experience and cool loot. Everyone loves loot, right? One thing about DCUO that's pretty compelling is how it incorporates so many story genres. I mean, you've got sci-fi, you've got mutants, and you've got some horror elements, just to name a few. The possibilities are practically endless.

You're one of very, very few MMO studios developing on console. Why do you think that is?

Yanagi: The PS3 opens up an entirely new player base for us and it's one that we're incredibly excited about. They may not be familiar with the persistent online side of our game, but they will get the action part immediately. Bridging the gap between these two game genres is something we're very confident we can pull off.

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