Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So the con. Always a fan. Costume weirdness and all. Just fun. Exhausting, but fun. Of all the stuff I saw that I think is noteworthy (and that’s quite a long list?), I’m going to have to go with DC Univese Online as one of the highest on said list of noteworthiness. Jonathan and I had a chance to get a few inside pieces of information about the development of the game, and I suspect our interview with a generous programmer will be online too in the near future. Of course, I’ve been reading up on this game for some time now and was bound to love it no matter what, just on the virtue of seeing the DC Universe brought to life in electronic form. I’m happy to say, however, that it seems like it’s shaping up to be a GOOD game- video game aficionado and resident zombie expert (no pun intended, you dorks) Brandon confirmed as much after playing a very rudimentary demo being demonstrated at the con. Of course, I ended up falling all over myself to drop different names of locations from DC comics on the programming staff to find out the “landscape” of the game. I have no doubt that I seemed like a rather frightening fan, asking about “Oa” and “Qward” to guys who probably just type code and pick up their paycheck. But I’m not going to let a little social awkwardness curb my enthusiasm. In fact, I’m just going to take it up a notch- listed here are my notes and ideas for the layout of the game. That is, all the different places I’d love to see make an appearance in video game form and what I think it might look like. If any DC comics executive is out there and stumbles upon this list, I grant you permission to use any idea I’ve written here. (I know. I know. Dream big, right?) Places you’d want to go: Atlantis- First of all? I think it would be cool if they were really strict about how you can get where. That is, if you don’t have a superpower that keeps you from drowning, than you can’t go to Atlantis. Chances are, they’re going to make the game a lot more user friendly than this. But still, I think it would be a cool gimmick. My thoughts on Atlantis? Make it HUGE- that is, not the actual city itself. But rather the surrounding kingdom. There are plenty of Lovecraft-esque deep, dark places underwater in the DC universe. Weird squid-creatures and shark-people galore. I’d love to really get that feeling that when you’re underwater, it’s kind of like you’re in this Tolkien-like Lord of the Rings feudal kingdom: there are all these different kinds of life, and Aquaman and company’s job is sort of to help everything coexist. What I’m trying to say is this- it would be cool if the underwater segment of the game was so damn big, that it was almost it’s own game itself- you can spend time just playing the game down there, and almost never go up “top” to interact with the surface-dwellers and vice-versa. Bloodhaven- Gotham City suburb, and home to Nightwing. Similar to it’s “big brother” in some respects, and probably a good starting point for most players. On the other hand, the developers might take the opposite route- Dick Grayson has far less resources to work with than Bruce Wayne and is still kind of the new kid on the block, in terms of being an autonomous hero. Maybe Haven will actually be a nastier place than Gotham. Central City- Life is supposed to move pretty fast here- I think several Flash’s have been residents, over the years. Most notably, there’s a Flash museum- I think it would be cool if you could walk (or run) through it, just like any other building. Gorilla City- Home to a bunch of walking, talking, sentient apes. In fact, the apes in Gorilla city are more peaceful and technologically advanced than any human nation on the planet. This is always sort of awesome and somewhat hysterical in the comics. Of course, Grodd will make an appearance. Ivy Town- Long time hang out of the Atom. Hi-tech, very 1950’s super-science horror-movie scene. Could be fun. Star City- Generally filled with dedicated crime fighters like Green Arrow and Black Canary, I know half the city was leveled by Dr. Light and long-time Oliver Queen Rival Merlyn though. Themyscira- I know this is going to go down in history as the dorkiest idea every, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could only go here if you were female? Like, if you’re male, and you step one foot on this island, I would love to see ten to fifteen amazons just run up and curb-stomp you. I’m sorry, I just think that would be a nice touch. Places that it would be hard to get to: New Genesis- It’s destroyed in the current continuity, but I’d love to see Highfather and Orion and that whole crew here. Oa- Green Lantern central. I could easily see this as the connecting point to anything else space-related that you needed to do. I’d love to see all sorts of G.L. Corps characters make appearances- not to mention villains, currently imprisoned by the corps. Rann- This fictional planet is home to a pseudo-Buck-Rogers knockoff in the DC universe called Adam Strange. I’ve actually grown to love Strange in the last year or so, mostly out of 52, although I’d recommend Planet Heist as a good book to pick up. Anyway, Strange moves back and forth from Earth and Rann with Zeta Beams, ridiculously powerful transporter technology that almost always goes wrong in the comics and leaves you stranded someplace you didn’t mean to go. While Rann has it’s own indigenous culture, it’s also overflowing with weird, dinosauresque space monsters that would be a nice challenge for hero or villain trying to make their way across the planet. The coolest (weirdest?) thing about Rann? It’s got this…tornado. Only the tornado is alive. Like, a living creature that the inhabitants sort of live in fear of/have made peace with. I think it’s actually split into two separate beings now- the Tornado Champion and the Tornado Tyrant. The spirit of one of these is now fused with the superhero Red Tornado (who incidentally, has to have the weirdest backstory of any character, ever). I’m not sure how it all works. Still. We gotta see this if we see Rann. Places you wouldn’t want to go: Apokolips- Even if Darkseid and company might have had their last hurrah in Final Crisis, I’m sure we’re going to see him in his prime for the game. You can expect the usual from Apokolips- big, raging fire pits, crazed para-demons, creepy, mindless, zombified workers living in squalor and proclaiming things like “DARKSEID IS THE WAY” etc. Coast City/Ground-Zero- The now legendary Death and Return of Superman story involved Mongul and Cyborg-Superman reducing Hal Jordan’s old stomping grounds to dust. It might be cool to see this tragedy (in all it’s radioactive fallout badness) up close and personal. Mars- J’onn J’onzz home turf, likely to be populated with angry, Nazi-esque “white” martians. The “white” race wiped out the “green” one. The white ones have a nasty habit of coming back from the dead to terrorize the human race, however. Thanagar- The planet has gone through more than one depiction over the years, but what it really boils down to is this- it’s a pretty frickin’ dangerous place to live. Lots of wars, lots of civil unrest, lots and lots of fighting. Hawkman always has a way, in the comics, of being a lot more vicious and badass than you expect him to be, and his people are no exception. Thanagar, if I recall, is a bit like France during the country’s revolution- the rich are very, very rich, and militant, and the poor are angry, disenfranchised dissidents. It isn’t a pretty site. The Thanagarians have some old, wacked out religious beliefs too. Something about them worshiping old gods, who were really horrible monstrosities. So you’ve got that going on too. Cute, right? War World- It’s been reinvented numerious times, but Mongul’s part-planet, part-spaceship, part-death-star gladiatorial arena will probably make an appearance. Places that you’d have a very slim chance of getting to: Azarath- Teen Titans’ fans are likely to know this one. It’s this bizarre alternate dimension where long time Titan Raven grew up. From time to time it has been ruled over by magically-endowed interdimensional demon Trigon, who just so happens to be Raven’s father. I wouldn’t expect this to be a nice place to be. Bizarro World- Tell me it wouldn’t be cool to go to this cube-shaped planet and encounter a Bizarro-version of the character you created. Tell me that wouldn’t be kind of creepy, but cool. Kandor- Really weird piece of Superman-lore, this bottled city from Krypton was shrunken down. Now it’s inhabitants are microscopic. Superman has been trying to protect it from Braniac and the like for years. Again, I think it would be cool if you literally had to have a superpower that let you shrink in order to get here. Olympus/Hades- The Greek Gods and Goddesses live here and frequently traffic with Wonder Woman and the Amazons. Could make for some cool material. Phantom Zone- Do the immortal words “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD” mean anything to you? Qward- The anti-matter version of Oa, Qward is the closest thing to hell in the DC Universe. It’s also now the headquearters of the Sinestro Corps who are, personally, my favorite villains in the entire DCU. I’d love to see a big, towering carcass of the Anti-Monitor here too. The Source Wall- This has got to be the weirdest thing in the DCU. I think it would totally kickass if they slipped it in here. It’s a little bit like God- or at least, the collective consciousness of the entire DCU. You rarely even get a glimpse of it in the comics. But I could see this as kind of the “ultimate easter egg” for players. Time-Travely-places: DC has a line of characters from World War II (Sgt. Rock) and the Old West (Jonah Hex) that are fan favorites. Anything including these guys would be fun. And of course, anything involving the legion of superheroes from the eight hundredth and blabedy-blah century would be frickin’ cool. I’ve always liked the Legion- although, for the life of me, I’ve never really understood why most of them are teenagers. King Arthur and all that jazz was always a big deal in DC comics too- what with Etrigan the Demon set to make an appearance in the game, for example.