Jim Lee Weighs in on DCU Delay

Jim Lee Weighs in on DCU Delay

For fans of video games based on comic book properties, 2010 wasn’t exactly a busy year. After “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” the only other major release scheduled for the year was “DC Universe Online,” Sony Online Entertainment’s upcoming game that allows players to create their own heroes or villains and interact with Superman, Batman, and the rest of DC’s stable of characters.

All that changed last month, though, when “DC Universe” was pushed back to a 2011 release date. Citing a need to “address community feedback in a meaningful way,” Sony delayed the release of the much-anticipated MMORPG and has yet to announce a new date for the game to hit shelves.

I recently spoke to veteran comic book artist and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, who also serves as Executive Creative Director for “DC Universe Online,” and got some details about the delay — as well as some interesting thoughts on how the DCUO team developed the in-game look for popular characters.

“It was pushed back to early February, I think,” Lee told MTV News of the new release schedule for “DC Universe Online.” “The main driving force was to make the game better. The more time you have with these games, the more polish you can put on them.”

“It wasn’t putting in more additional content or anything major,” he added. “It was more tweaking and polishing of what existed. You don’t want to ship something that’s really buggy, and I think the goal was, by giving ourselves several more months, we’d have the ability to do a final polish and do a longer beta and get more feedback from the players. We’ll also see how the game performs with additional players running around.”

According to Lee, there’s also work being done to some of the storytelling elements of the game that trigger after players beat a boss. And while he acknowledges that missing the holiday release window isn’t ideal, they’re betting on the game having a much longer life than a single gift-buying season.

“We definitely missed that great Christmas window, but a game like this is something that is going to last for many, many years,” he said. “It’ll last 5-10 years, so I’d rather start strong and keep the players involved in the community and the game, and just keep adding content to it as we add expansions and downloadable content, and other parts of the DC Universe.”

And on that last note, Lee hinted that players’ adventures could eventually take them well outside the Earth-based game environment — and possibly through time.

“You can go intergalactic with it, you can go into the future with Legion of Super Heroes… There are so many cool things you can do,” he said.

As for the characters themselves, Lee offered up some thoughts on how the DCUO team decided on which versions of popular characters to use in the game, and how it relates to the costume-designing element of character creation.

“It’s interesting — the iconic DC characters look very idealized in their classic simple costumes, and then you have all these other crazy, very modular costumes, with all sorts of doodads and gloves that glow and tubes and all this other crazy stuff,” he laughed. “To me, that’s more of a modern take on costuming, but then again, we allow you to have that kind of classic, clean, Golden Age or Silver Age look, or looks that are more anime-influenced, or something that’s very tech-influenced.”

“In terms of working with the iconic characters, it wasn’t that difficult doing the costumes — we just had to decide which era of costume you went with,” he explained. “For the Teen Titans, do you do the costumes from the cartoon, which seemed like a good draw for the game, or do you do something that’s completely inspired by the comic book? In the end, we kind of did a fusion of the two so that people who had seen and grew up with the cartoon would recognize the characters, and people who had read the comic book would hopefully see that it was influenced by what was in the comics, too — but not necessarily a 100% translation.”

“DC Universe Online” is currently scheduled for release in early 2011.

Source: MTV Splashpage

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