For years, comic book fans, shamed into practicing their dork arts in the secret of Barnes & Nobel’s farthest-most section, have always been able to take some measure of jock-like comfort in being less nerdy than massively multiplayer online gamers. Attempting to bridge the dork divide, Sony Online Entertainment and Warner Brothers have joined forces to create DC Universe Online, a World of Warcraft for people who think orcs are gay, but that a shirtless winged Thanagarian wielding a mace is fucking badass.
We know. We got our hands on a very early version of the game and had an instant vision of our reclusive future the moment we touched the controls. Comic book legend and co-creator Jim Lee took us through the U…
Jim Lee: The DC Universe [of the comics] is run by hundreds of different creative minds and everyone’s taking different characters and storylines in different directions, and it’s impossible to tailor a game that mirrors exactly what’s going on in the DC Universe of the comic books at X moment in time—it’s trying to hit a moving target. What we’re doing is looking at all of the different characters and going, “When was this character the coolest? When was this storyline the coolest?” So, to me, DC Universe Online is going to be the ideal DC Universe at launch.
JL: You can’t go back and lift characters from the 1940s and say, “Oh, here he is in the present day.” There’s a lot of stuff that was done, even with costumes that we just think are lame. [Much like] what I would do if I were working on the DC Universe comic book, any time you take on a title, you’re going to look at the characters, say, “That’s lame,” and change it. That’s how change happens in this fictional universe, and we’re just doing that across the line in the game.
JL: We really wanted to emphasize that you would get the superhero experience right from the get-go. So you’re going to be fully empowered from the start. You don’t have to work your way up to being, say, Kid Flash. You bought this game to be part of the DC Universe, and you’re going to get that right from the start.
JL: We really wanted to present the DC Universe that everyone knows. If you’re a comic book fan, you’re going to love this game because it’s going to have all of the stuff you love about the DC Universe. And if you’re a video game fan, hopefully you’ll be introduced to a lot of other cool DC characters that you’ve never seen on film, cartoons or in video games. We’ve got a lot of secondary and tertiary characters that have never been realized in 3-D form and once you meet them, you might go, “Hey, that’s pretty cool,” and go to a comic book store. We have hopes that we’ll get more readers out of this, but I’m not working on this video game just so we can squeeze in extra readers. At the end of the day, we want to produce a kick-ass video game.