DC Universe Online devs bracing for big bang

Comic-Con 2010: Creators and developers of Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG reveal the backstory behind the PS3 and PC game.

Who was there: Comic writer and artist Jim Lee, Joker voice actor Mark Hamill, creative director Jens Anderson, game director Chris Cao, and writer Marv Wolfman came to Comic-Con to detail the backstory to the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game and pass out beta keys to a room full of eager fans.

What they talked about: Like many of the panels, the DC Universe session kicked off with a Comic-Con-exclusive trailer. The clip started with Lex Luthor talking about his master plan to take out Earth's true enemy once and for all.

DC Universe will let players step into the tights of their favorite characters, but only in an in-game simulation mode.

The action picks up with a massive battle scene featuring Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Batman taking on the likes of Luthor (in power armor), Deathstroke, Black Adam, Joker, and Harley Quinn. At one particularly catastrophic moment, Black Adam calls down lightning by invoking the power of Shazam at the exact moment Green Lantern's ring goes critical and a sprinting Flash collides with the pair. A massive explosion levels multiple city blocks.

After a momentary pause in the fray, Batman and Deathstroke get to their feet and continue fighting. Joker, who survived by using Quinn as a human shield, tosses her aside and sees Deathstroke readying the killing blow on the caped crusader. "Nobody kills the bat but me," yells Joker as he disrupts the execution with some high explosives.

A defeated Wonder Woman calls out to Superman, who shows up with red glowing eyes and takes out Black Adam. Decidedly crueler and darker than usual, Superman disposes of Adam and Luthor with contemptible ease, yelling, "You don't deserve to live." He goes to check on Wonder Woman but is run through from behind by Luthor and his giant spear. The evil genius appears to have finally emerged victorious and wiped out the heroes. That's when Brainiac shows up to mop up the remaining heroes.

It's revealed that the whole sequence was part of a dark future, and the Luthor of that dark future is visiting the past and telling current-day Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman about what he has seen. In that future, Luthor was able to get his hands on the technology Brainiac used to steal the powers of Earth's heroes. Having brought that tech (with the stored powers) back in time with him, Luthor releases them on the world, causing an abundance of new, super-powered beings to arise in advance of Brainiac's invasion and providing a handy excuse for why there are so many new heroes with all the DC Universe Online player-created characters.

The extended trailer draws a huge round of applause from the crowd, which is standing-room-only around the outside of the auditorium. Wolfman said that he saw the trailer for the first time last night and that even though he has been working on the game for years, he's finally thinking, "It's better than anyone ever thought it could be!"

Lee said it's "a little surreal" to see the game nearing its release date, since he has been plugging away on the project since 2005. It's also rewarding that he can finally tell people the game is set to launch November 2.

On reprising his role as the Joker, Hamill said it's "fun to get behind the wheel of that crazy car." Acting for an animated feature is liberating in some ways, Hamill said, because it lets him take more chances knowing nobody can actually see him. He also added that he has been pleased with the sporadic nature of his work as the Joker over the years, likening it to an excellent seasoning in a stew. Doing a few episodes and projects here and there has helped keep the character special, he said.

Hamill isn't the only familiar voice in the game. Kevin Conroy is also stepping under the cowl of Batman once more, and Adam Baldwin is taking up the role of Superman. Gina Torres rounds out DC's heroic big-three cast as Wonder Woman. While the game does feature iconic characters like those three, Lee said he's happy the game features Ambush Bug, Egg Fu, and other lesser-known characters that fans of the comics have never seen in games before.

While players are stepping into the role of created characters, they can still take control of the big-name heroes in an in-game battle simulator. Those heavy hitters will also interact with players through the actual game, offering them mentorship or becoming entangled in their own quests.

There are other limits as well. When asked if players would be able to join the Green Lantern Corps, Cao pointed out that the Corps is a very special thing, and the last thing the developers wanted was to all of a sudden have 50,000 Green Lanterns running around on Earth. It was pointed out that there's a Green Lantern film coming out next year, and Lee teased that it would be a great cross-promotional opportunity.

When asked about reports that the upcoming Arkham Asylum 2 would be Hamill's last turn as the Joker, the actor mused, "I keep saying that…" He actually hadn't wanted to do a sequel after the original Arkham because he takes the character seriously and wants to go out on a high note. But in a number of ways it's not up to him, he said.

Quote: "I think he'd have a real connection to so many people here. Because you are all insane."--Hamill, when asked what the Joker would think of Comic-Con.

The takeaway: After five long years of development, DC Universe Online is nearly here, and Lee, Wolfman, Hamill, and company have done their best to bring the flavor of the comics to an MMORPG in a way that pleases both fans and gamers.

Who knew?: The PS3 game will not require a PlayStation Plus subscription, a revelation that drew a nice round of applause from a relieved audience.

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72 comments
pzculture
pzculture

Too bad . . . I will never have enough time to play to make the 15 bucks a month worth it. But what bugs me . . . 60 bucks, and then 180. What the heck am I paying the 60 bucks for? the opportunity to pay 180? make it 60 bucks and four months free. . . then at least it feels like we are getting an actual game for our money . . .oh, but chances are we will cancel after four months because many of us gamers (the ones who buy games new . . often . . . the ones you are trying to sell to here . . .) will be playing another game ( or games ) in four months. . . but hey, isn't that what you want us to do? Really bummed. Been looking forward to this game for years . . . but now november will come and go as just another month. You won't find me at the game store for this one.

Human-Pheonix
Human-Pheonix

Sweeeeeet Counting down the days can't wait. Might as well increase my fees for the PSN I'll probably buy $100 worth of PSN Cards so I can pay the monthly fee.

Monktom
Monktom

I can not wait for this game, and am counting down the days until i get. If you don't get it for the PS3 you will not be playing it right. This game is going to be the best mmo for consoles. I Hope i get into the beta!

nurjra
nurjra

love the game and hate monthly fees

InfamousPhilthy
InfamousPhilthy

I agree with Azorean269 100%. why would I pay for a game and then have to pay again just to play it throughout the year. Somewhere and somehow Sony forgot who makes them who they are. It's us. The gamers!!! I wouldn't pay throughout the year just to play a game. Why would you people give Sony more money. They don't need it. How about this Sony. Charge us $100 for the game and then we play for free from then on. Stop pissing us off. The bigger you get the more and more you forget !!!

Azorean269
Azorean269

I'm about to piss a lot of people off but how stupid are you guys. You pay between $40.00 and $50.00 for the cd then a monthly subscription that will total $180.00 a year, assuming $15.00 a month. But then you get mad when people say that it doesn't make sense. Any mmo that charges a monthly subscripiton is just abusing you gamers for money. And your all stupid enough to pay. If they wanted to make extra money they could have exclusive pay for items or something like that or a storage fee to house your item but not a mothly subscription to just play the game. If PS3 goes this way than I gotta say I would lose a lot of respect for the company!

gaubanrei
gaubanrei

about 95% off all mmo's have a monthly sub and yes dcuo will have one as well the only major mmo i know of that didn't have a monthly sub was guild wars. sub's are there so they can pay the team that works on the updates and add-on after release.

Zartan3000
Zartan3000

@Jrock7 Thanks! That's great news!

Jrock7
Jrock7

@Zartan3000 Marvel MMO is still being worked on. Actually for all systems now. It was a 360 exclusive being developed by microsoft studios. They cancelled, but another developer is working on it now and it's being put on all 3 systems now. PC, PS3, and X-box 360. I can't wait for DC Universe. This game is going to be really fun.

Ravnarock
Ravnarock

@wahyudil I agree it would probably make more money if it was on the 260 as well, but I dont see Sony doing that anytime soon! lol I keep seeing people talk about this monthly fee to play, with cost ranging from $14 to $15 a month, but I can't find proof of anyone saying that there even will be a monthly fee... Now maybe I'm just not looking hard enough, but where are you guys getting this information?

wahyudil
wahyudil

I believed this game will show more money if they ported it to xbox 360 too ...

Dark_Arkitect
Dark_Arkitect

The game play looks pretty horrid for a MMORPG IMO.That's just IMO.Graphics look pretty nice though.

darthwarmonger
darthwarmonger

@issizots Plus is $50.00 a year. The DC Online subscription is $180.00. I don't think plus members will be getting this for free. A discount would be nice. Right now I need details about the game. Like: how many levels, what are the powers, how do powers level up, can I become a Green Lanter, or join the Justice League.

akuya32
akuya32

I might be wrong but aren't all the good mmo games have a monthly fee? If thats the case I do not see why it would be a big deal here. if it as good as it sounds I will be paying the fee and someone to play. If people don't want to pay then don't play, but to stay its going to flop because of it is just a weak approach.

issizots
issizots

it WOULD be smart of sony to use plus as an equlibrium between members whom do pay for plus to get it free compared to members whom don't own plus and have to pay the $15, I basically see that as the BEST marketing strategy they could do im partnership with sony being it's an exclusive console game to the ps3 and if they don't implement this strategy then I also fear this game will be zapped of all its energy within months of launch from departure of gamers going to other new(er) games and being this is a very time consuming game I think it would be smart to not charge overall because this is really a test for the ps3 mmorpg community as its real first true mmo is launched they could use this as information as to know if success is even there in the first place, but the $15 monthly tag reminded me of why I mainly quit old school mmorpg pc games ex. eq2/aoc/vg/swg/warhammer/cih/cov.. to name some.. anyway, not like the publishers will care to listen to me anyway :)

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

willywonkamusic no being a PS+ member will have no affect on the pricing it will be $15 a month either way. I can see this game flopping hard on PS3. I know I lost interest when I found that information. I can't see myself having enough interest in one game to pay that money. I play lots of games not just one.

willywonkamusic
willywonkamusic

Is it true that you can use PS+ for the monthly fee instead of the $15? correct me if i'm wrong

michaelpaoletti
michaelpaoletti

15 a month..Hmm, Ill cancel one of my XM Radfio subscriptions and it should help. Im dying to play this.

Zartan3000
Zartan3000

Wish the Marvel MMO hadn't got canned :(

Guntrotingidiot
Guntrotingidiot

Will this be out on Mac? And what is the Batcave doing with machine gun turrents when he hates guns?

Guntrotingidiot
Guntrotingidiot

Graphically this game has gotten better and the gameplay looks better too.

jpsaply
jpsaply

I dont know what the big deal is about paying to play a MMO. Being that I am a big MMO gamer (WoW, Champions Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Ever Quest 2 to name a few) $15/month is average and worth it. Sounds like most are comparing it to multiplayer online games like Modern Warfare, Halo or others similar. The difference is that MMOs have a larger environment, and is not limited to your average 16 to 32 players per server. Typically a MMO server will host a few thousand players per server. So paying for the game and the $15/month to pay for server upkeep, paying for bandwidth, and using whats left to deliver future content is worth it as long as the MMO is one you enjoy and want to see go further.

tehepicpwnzor
tehepicpwnzor

This is ten times the cost of Xbox Live, and Xbox Live has a few hundred games, and this has only one. No freaking way am I buying this!

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Mark Hamill as the Joker ??? This, then, is a game to watch out for given his amazing performance as The Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum !!!

fadersdream
fadersdream

weren't we led to believe that there would be no monthly fee for the past few years? was that only so they could tank the marvel MMO?

metalpumpkin
metalpumpkin

Looks like it's gonna be a great game, but there's no way I'll pay $15/month to play it.

zidan4000
zidan4000

this game has been a mystery to me, as i cant imagine an MMO that is not an rpg at the same time ,let us wait to 2 novemebr and see , also if you didn't notice , the game is gonna launch at the same day with GT5 , not a good thing.

Bofish
Bofish

@ Fightingfan Yeah bro It's an MMO for the PS3 and PC. The PS3 will charge $15 a month so you'll have to pay $60 and then $180 for a year membership. I'd rather hold out for Arkham Asylum 2. It looks way better.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

It looks too much like a beat-em-up button masher. The battles look tiresome and I haven't even rolled my first toon. The GUI slightly makes me want to cut myself.

ekultus
ekultus

So $180 a year for subscription or a $50 PS+ yearly membership.... hrrmmmm....let me think.....hrmmmmm

Fightingfan
Fightingfan

so.., will it be free for PS+ members?

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

No PS+ membership required but is there a monthly fee? If so I'm out. Never been a fan of MMO's but I enjoy action games and love DC so I'll pick it up if it means not paying $15 a month. That's 4 full games a year I could be buying with that money. PC nerds might like playing 1 game and 1 game only day in and day out but I have a wide spectrum of gaming tastes so paying over $200 a year to play any one game just seems stupid to me.

huskerman34
huskerman34

Im a Marvel man myself. Grew up on Avengers, X-men, and ect. Im looking forward to this mmo. Its cool because Ps3 is going to mmos. Finally some mmo that come out on ps3. Lets hope they dont choke out like 360.

LAboy06
LAboy06

Thats my 21st birthday lol, I'm not big into MMOs so I might be getting drunk at a casino on release day.

Tornado_Volcano
Tornado_Volcano

This game sure looks promising, and actually, if it's good as it sounds, I'll only have one major problem with the monthly fee, which is that I don't play for more than 6 hours a week and if my math is not wrong, I'll pay 30 days and will not even play 1! Well, I hope I get in the Beta so that I can see if it's truly worth it...

VengfulOne
VengfulOne

@Bofish Dude it's an MMO. Of coarse you have to pay a monthly fee. It's not a single player game with the OPTION to play online, it's only playable online. Hence Massive Multiplayer Online. This "scheme" has been around for a long time on PC. You should be happy that consoles have the OPTION to play these kinds of games now.

VengfulOne
VengfulOne

Hamill and Conroy? I think you just sold me!

ultima012
ultima012

I can't wait!! I registered for the beta on Friday. I really hope to get in. This game is going to rule!!

Malminos
Malminos

Very much looking forward to this! Already have my hero planned out. Cyborg clown = win

finalstar2007
finalstar2007

Amazing to know that PSN+ members will not pay any subscriptions

TrinityChica14
TrinityChica14

@Bofish That's not true...besides its an MMORPG...its like the DC Universe version of WoW only it is 10 times better because we get to play it on our PS3 Not to mention...the Xbox users pay for Xbox Live, if this happens, it was only a matter of time till this happened. But I still think you are wrong, this is happening because of how big this game is attempting to be With that said, totally Pre-ordered this game and CANNOT WAIT!

Bofish
Bofish

If us PS3 gamers get this game for $60 and pay $15 a month for a subscription we are doomed. Next thing you know all games with multiplayer online we'll have to pay monthly fees for. Please don't buy this game.... I'm a huge batman and dc game fanatic but if we suck into there scheme this will be the new thing for every multiplayer online game.

JasonGamer101
JasonGamer101

I Really kant wait for this game. this game is goin to be epic im going to reserve it right away.

SSJ4CHRIS
SSJ4CHRIS

I would prefer to be in the Marvel universe, but I'm excited for this game. I want to be a member of the Captain Marvel Family or a Firestorm like character.

Kajiuro
Kajiuro

I have high hopes for this game; I just really hope it's not like City of Heroes/Villains.

Jrock7
Jrock7

@ToughCritic28 Yeah playstation network is still free. But they now have playstation plus that is a subscription service where if you pay for every 3 months, or a year (I think 60 a year). You get discounts on some of the stuff on playstation store. You get even more downloaded content than just the regular store. You also get 3 free games a year. And they're not stupid little games. I think WipeoutHD was the first free game. Maybe some other stuff but i can't remember. I think its a good service since I buy a lot of stuff off the store, but if you don't buy regularly then its not worth paying for right now. Not until they add more stuff to the playstation plus store, Still new. Back to the subject, can't wait to play this freakin' game!

elbert_b_23
elbert_b_23

i will say that i am not a big mmo fan or dc fan but all the news and videos and stuff i have seen for over the past year makes me excited to play it

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

Hopefully there will be a online demo.

Sw1tched
Sw1tched

looks ok, but i can see my $2,500 plasma being destroyed with the busy HUD and no transparency.

kittygus
kittygus

i preordered it yesterday!