DC Universe Online • Page 2

SOE Austin's John Blakely.

Eurogamer: Did they mind that they couldn't play Batman?

John Blakely: I think they understood why. That will continue to be the most asked question about this. I think once we explain that this shared world exists, and we're going to open a door to this world and let you step into it, Batman is already living in the world - you can't play him because he's already there. Once you realise you can fight alongside Superman and Batman, people get it. And it makes the world more persistent that he's out there doing things.

Eurogamer: Are you ready to talk about a payment model?

John Blakely: We haven't decided on one. If you look at all of SOE's products, we have several ways of charging people for content. We have a good idea internally of what we're going to do, but we're also going to watch the console market and see how that evolves, and how PC evolves. We're looking at stuff like Free Realms, which is free, but you're going to have a subscription, which will allow access to certain areas, and then you can also buy cosmetic items.

Eurogamer: How early in development do you have to decide on the pricing structure?

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John Blakely: I tell my team: make a great game. There are different ways to pay for things, but fundamentally people won't pay for things if it's not worth it. We wanted to make a superhero game which is fun to play moment-to-moment, and then people want to play tomorrow with their friends. We took that kernel first and hopefully got there, and now we're looking forward to integrating those business cases into the product.

Eurogamer: Has SOE's approach to licensed products changed after Star Wars Galaxies?

John Blakely: It's changed a lot. Serving the license is our top priority. Early on, a lot of early license games, we were holding stuff back. You're not going to see Darth Vader until you've worked your way through a lot. That doesn't pay off. If this is DC Universe, when can the player get to see those characters? We really wanted to not try and force-feed a game type into that IP. Rather, we took the IP and tried to think what you'd want to do within that, and then integrated the MMO parts that work with that.

Eurogamer: Do you have any idea why Microsoft's Marvel MMO didn't happen?

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John Blakely: These games are hard to make. They're hard to run and hard to develop. It takes a lot of things going your way. I can't speculate on what happened, but I do know this isn't easy. With SOE, we've been able to execute on that, sometimes better than others and we've certainly taken our lumps and learned our lesson. We have a lot of tools and infrastructure dedicated to making these products, so hopefully we understand what kind of risks we're taking. It's no less risky, but we're better prepared.

Eurogamer: With consoles, you have a migratory audience. How do you keep people coming back?

John Blakely: You have to make sure there are reasons to come back. They can be content. They can be that there's nothing else like that, or that you've gained a skill and can show it off. We're trying to show all those reasons. It is a very competitive landscape, so the players win, because ultimately we have to work harder to get their attention.

Eurogamer: With DCUO up on stage at E3, what has being integrated into Sony's Worldwide Studios rather than reporting to Sony Pictures been like?

John Blakely: It's a level up, certainly. It is exciting, because it's a worldwide audience, and a very recognisable brand. I take it very seriously, because we want to deliver the quality that they've established. Sony first party have always had a high bar of quality, so there's a lot of pressure, but there's also a lot of attention. A lot of people are aware of us now.

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