DC Comics has made a notable re-emergence in the media, largely thanks to the massive success of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Today, we're seeing more of DC Comics, be it in the movies or on our videogame consoles as the DC heroes battle the warriors of Mortal Kombat. At E3 2008, Sony revealed that they've been working on an all new massively multiplayer online RPG that is focused around the DC Universe. Simply titled DC Universe Online, the concept of the game is similar to that of City of Heroes that was released in 2004 for the PC.
In DC Universe Online, as opposed to taking control of Superman, Batman, and the like, you actually fight along side the DC characters with your own custom superhero. Sony promises an extremely in depth customization aspect for when you're creating your superhero or villain, which can then be upgraded as you play through the game – just like any other MMORPG. Your adventures will cover the entire DC Universe from Gotham City, to Metropolis, among other prominent locales in the DC world. The story is being put together by a collection of well known DC writers, including Geoff Johns, with Jim Lee behind the project as Executive Creative Director.
Interaction is a big focus behind the development of DC Universe Online, as Sony has put together a physics engine they call state-of-the-art that allows the player to utilize the entire environment as a weapon. Whether or not that means we can rip chunks of wall out and use them to beat our opponents with remains to be seen, but we're confident that it isn't too far off from that. Your use of of the game space will require you to share with both the villains and heroes. That, obviously means, that if you've sided with the villains, you'll be fighting against the heroes of the game.
The game will utilize a system that'll randomly generate missions for you and your crew to embark on, and to the victor will go the spoils. Your created character will fight along and gain the respect of either the heroes or villains you've sided with, who will be controlled by the game's A.I. What I'd like to know is whether or not the game will allow for betrayal, for example allowing a villain to side with the allies and vice versa. It'd probably add a pretty cool twist to the game if they can balance the feature to prevent from people exploiting it.
Now, confrontations will not always be against a group of villains or heroes. As a character within your chosen environment (Gotham, Metropolis, etc.), you'll be able to freely explore your location and fight off random crime on the streets, such as robberies. This helps add a more realistic feel to the game, immersing you into an experience that goes beyond than just being an MMORPG. If you require assistance during a battle, you'll use either your Justice League or Legion of Doom communicator to request some backup.
Below is a list of heroes and villains you can expect to fight along side with in the game:
Ra's al Ghul
Ultra-Humanite (albino ape form)
DC Universe Online does not have a set time frame yet, but we do know that it's supposed to arrive sometime in 2009. If we were to take a guess, we'd predict a summer 2009 release date.