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Writer Marv Wolfman Talks DC Universe Online

Posted Sat, Feb 14, 2009 by Savanja

Stephen Totilo at MTV Multiplayer had a chance to talk with Marv Wolfman and learned a bit more about his role with DCUO and the story that is forming for this new superhero epic tale.

Last week, I spoke to comics writer Marv Wolfman about his involvement in the DC Comics MMO “DC Universe Online.” (I did so after giving him grief about how he brought Optimus Prime back to life in less than stellar fashion back in the 80s — I’ll get into that later). Wolfman is a highly-regarded veteran comics writer whose most famous work is the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” mini-series that re-booted the DC Universe in the mid-80s.

Here’s what I learned about his involvement in the game and how the story is taking shape.

When I spoke to him, Wolfman hadn’t worked with the developers yet. What he had done is absorbed the high-end master-story for the game, which had been cooked up by fellow comics writer Geoff Johns. Wolfman was brought in to turn Johns’ story into actual missions.

The story itself is a secret still. What Wolfman will say about is that “there’s an amazing story that fits within the DC Universe. It starts in a specific place, where you are told what you have to do and what the outcome may be. There is a goal.”

That’s vague, but it’s the kind of grand and driven story Wolfman said he thinks a super-hero MMO needs. He had played “City of Heroes” when it first came out, and while he enjoyed it, he felt that each super-hero battle he experienced in the game was just an event unto itself. He suggests that the player of “DCUO” will be made to feel that they’re playing a DC Comics epic, a series that goes somewhere.

The player can be their own super-hero. Around them will be DC’s cast of legends. Most are unannounced, but three characters Wolfman does confirm he’s writing in the game are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Superman is the DC character most familiar to Wolfman, who said the publication of his first Superman story for DC in 1969, gives him the uncommon claim to have written the Man of Steel in five decades. Wolfman is also credited with being the main creator behind the modern version of Lex Luthor. Besides writing Superman comics, Wolfman wrote EA’s poorly-reviewed “Superman Returns” game. But don’t hold that against him. He’s optimistic about how he can write Superman in the new MMO. “We can absolutely be on target for the character the way it’s done at DC,” he said. “It’s not the movie character…We can do Superman right.

He’s also excited to pen Batman for the game. “I think, for games, Batman is just perfect, because he can seek things out and link different parts of the story and characters together.”

And Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman has never been given a chance to shine in a video game, he said. “I’m really pleased to be able to deal with her … a lot of people just think of her as Linda Carter, but she’s a Greek goddess, literally.”

Wolfman emphasized that the game is portraying the modern DC Universe. Readers of the currently-published comics will recognize the universe as one that feels up to date, rather than as an alternate version made for the game. “People reading the comics won’t find this to be an alien land,” he said. On the other hand, Wolfman doesn’t think people who don’t read the comics these days will find the game’s story hard to follow.

If you’re checking for gaming credentials, Wolfman has a PS2, Xbox 360 and Wii. He was playing “God of War 2” the day before he and I talked (”I played for an hour and a half until I got stuck on a level.”) He’s got MMO experience from playing “City of Heroes” and “World of Warcraft.” Added bonus: his wife works at Blizzard in the cinematics department.

Wolfman believes that he has ample time to make this video game super-hero script a good one. He and a rep for “DCUO” development studio Sony Online Entertainment won’t clarify the game’s release date for PC and PS3, though Johns had previously suggested was late 2009 or early 2010. Whether that’s still the case or not, the involvement of Johns, Wolfman and creative director and legendary penciller Jim Lee ensures that this game has a great DC Comics pedigree.

Wolfman’s got a new infinite universe in which to play.

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