Editor’s note: Toby’s done it again. He’s scored another developer interview. This time, Toby grills the senior producer of DC Universe Online. I’ve always found the heroes of the DC Universe more “heroic” than the rather emo whiners of the Marvel universe. Regardless of how you feel about the respective characters of each comic-book empire, the real question is whether you’re ready for a superhero console MMO. Do gamers want MMOs on their consoles? -Jason
Some of the most beloved superheroes — and reviled supervillains — are under the DC Comics’ banner. Just think of the influence characters such as Batman and Superman wield over our culture; they remain compelling decades after their creation.
DC Universe Online gives players a chance to crafter compelling stories of their own in the world of The Dark Knight and the Last Son of Krypton. Senior Producer Wes Yanagi, who’s overseeing development of the game, tells some of the things players can expect when they log into the game for the first time.
Toby Davis: You’ve announced a number of DC Comics heroes and villains that are in the game. Do you plan to include cameo appearances for characters who haven’t been announced yet?
Wes Yanagi: That’s a good question. For launch, we’re focusing on the characters our mainstream audience would like to see. Most people are familiar with characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, so they’ll play a major role in the game. However, since this is an online game, there will be plenty of opportunities for lesser known characters to make an appearance as the game evolves over time.
TD: What’s the game sound like? Does it have full compositions and pieces, or does it have repeating snippets of music or other sound effects? Or does it have something else?
WY: From day one, our goal was to bring the DC Universe to life. All the areas in the game have their own personality and have their own unique feel in terms of both sights and sounds. Both sound effects and music scores are critical to this effort. Our primary goal is to use all available opportunities to heighten the experience for our players and create the feeling that you have stepped into the DC Universe.
TD: How did you select what locations to use from the DC universe?
WY: Similar to our character choices, we wanted to build locations that people wanted to visit in the DC universe, the places fans would recognize from the comic books, movies and television shows. How cool would it be to explore the Hall of Doom, fly past the globe at the top of the Daily Planet in downtown Metropolis, or walk down the alley where Bruce Wayne became the Batman?
TD: How did you create the events for DC Universe Online?
WY: The events in the game were based on the story concepts that were written by Geoff Johns and Marv Wolfman. Geoff developed the over-arching storyline, and Marv flushed out the ideas into different arcs. From there, the DCUO designers developed the moment-to-moment missions and events currently in the game.
TD: Do you plan on holiday-specific events in the game, like a New Year’s Day event?
WY: It is possible to bring real world events into the game since this is a real world in its own way. However, at this time we are still concentrating our efforts on the core game content.
TD: Many games have noticeable loading times. How long are the load times in DC Universe Online? Are they noticeably long?
WY: It is difficult to predict at this point what our loading times will be. The only thing we can say is that we want to optimize the game to make them [load times] as short as possible.
TD: I’m a dedicated stat-watcher. How can players monitor the stats of their characters and their friends outside of the game?
WY: It is still too early in development to go into any specifics since our content and systems are still in production, but we will definitely have ways for you to brag to your friends outside of the game.
TD: What’s been the “biggest win” of DC Universe Online’s development?
WY: I think [the biggest win is] anytime we’ve shown the game to the public, especially at events like Comic-Con. At Comic-Con, the fan reaction was overwhelmingly positive. People loved the fast-action combat, the awesome artwork, and the fact that they were playing out their superhero fantasy alongside other people in Metropolis.