DC Universe Online

Sept. 19, 2011 | 6:19 p.m.

DC Universe Online will be free starting in October

Want to join the forces of evil? Feel free. Sony Online Entertainment will be throwing open portions of its massively multi-player online game, DC Universe Online, to players for free, starting next month. The game lets players become virtual heroes or villains in an online playground that took Sony more than five years and $50 million to build. Sony launched DC Universe Online in January as a subscription-based game that charged players $15 a month. The game, along with other traditional MMOs, had been feeling the heat from a different breed on online games — free-to-play social games that make money by selling virtual items and power-ups. Think Kingdoms of Camelot, Mafia Wars and Maple Story — they’re not exactly free because players can only get so far without spending cash. But Sony isn’t quitting the subscription games business entirely. […]
Jan. 14, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

VIDEO: Jim Lee finds the faces of DC Universe Online

Even though dozens of artists worked on the new DC Universe Online game debuting Tuesday, the goal was to make it look as if the game was illustrated by one person. That job fell to Jim Lee, one of the most popular artists in contemporary comics and now the co-publisher of DC Comics. For the last five years, Lee devoted about a third of his time to poring over thousands of drawings and 3-D renderings depicting more than 100 of DC’s heroes and villains that are featured in the game developed by Sony Online Entertainment. Lee made adjustments to nearly all of them. The arch of an eyebrow, the curve of a nose, the shape of the haircut — Lee had the sharp and merciless eye he says is needed for true qaulity control on a $50 million project. To […]
Jan. 12, 2011 | 7:28 a.m.

VIDEO: Jim Lee, artist at work, explains why eyebrows matter

In the world of heroes and villains, eyebrows matter. Just ask Jim Lee, the 46-year-old DC Comics co-publisher. Lee, arguably the most popular comic-book artist of the last 25 years, creates images that combine polished power with crackling energy in a style that possesses fierce majesty and dynamism.
Jan. 11, 2011 | 6:23 a.m.

DC Universe Online: Five Easter eggs in Metropolis, Gotham … and Smallville?

DC Universe Online, Sony Online Entertainment’s massive multi-player online game debuting Tuesday, features two cities, Metropolis and Gotham City, each spanning more than 1,000 city blocks. And they’re full of insider references to the DC Comics mythos — for those who know where to look. Comics nerds will be able to wander for days on end in the game’s virtual world and still not catch every detail — or the Easter eggs that were crafted by the game’s developers at Sony. Here are five to find: The Ace O’ Clubs — A dive situated in the seedier parts of Metropolis, the bar is where Superman meets, and befriends, the belligerent character Bibbo “Bo” Bibbowski. A former boxer, Bibbowski later buys the Ace O’ Clubs from the proceeds of a winning lottery ticket and begins to help the down-and-out. A rose and playbill dropped […]
Jan. 11, 2011 | 5:00 a.m.

DC Universe Online: $50 million gamble aims for audience that World of Warcraft ‘can’t touch’

In creating an online video game based on Superman and the others in the DC Comics pantheon, it was no problem giving the characters the power to stop a locomotive or leap tall buildings in a single bound. They just couldn’t run faster than a speeding bullet. The developers of DC Universe Online encountered an unexpected problem when they set about creating the video game: Superheroes and villains that shared the Man of Steel’s velocity could also outrun bullets and dodge missiles fired to eliminate them. Players would quickly grow bored. “If people are always running away,” said Chris Cao, the game’s director at Sony Online Entertainment, “it makes the game less fun.” That hiccup, along with a multitude of others, added to a development process that was itself epic in proportion. Players create their own hero or villain and […]
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