All of which brings us back, finally, to the 'screenshots of the future' that several of the artists have created. <a href="http://www.massively.com/2008/10/09/massively-in-metropolis-dc-universe-online-concept-art-sneak-pe/">Head back to our original post</a> for SOE Austin Studio Manager John Blakely's take on this unique initiative. And keep your eyes on Massively in the coming week for more from Metropolis!
And here are their concept art representations. If anything Bruce looks more intimidating as a pencil sketch than as a fully-formed figure. Above, Green Arrow looks on.
And, of course, the two biggest names in the DC pantheon are right next to each other. Here are their in-game representations, complete with Superman's trademark hair curl.
The greats, meanwhile, are all clustered together on one board. The original members of the Justice League share wallspace well.
Metamorpho, Jim Gordon, and 'Fire' all make appearances on the walls showing some of the bit players of the DCUO.
In another part of the office, we begin to see ink and paper become digital representations. Here is Zatanna (again) along with her digital render. Below you can see the stalwart Captain Atom as he'll appear in the game.
The streets of Metropolis, too, are more airy, enlightened, and pristine than the trash-strewn sidewalks of Crime Alley.
One whole board was taken up by concept designs for the minions of the Lexcorp Corporation. Lex Luthor's hand-picked street soldiers are a bit more 'high tech' than the thugs you're likely to be fighting in Gotham.
Some concept art is obviously intended for more ... esoteric environments than either Gotham or Metropolis. It will be interesting to see how many locales actually make it into the game at launch.
Every single one of these images bears this stamp, with some much more recent than others. All of them, though, <a href="http://www.massively.com/2008/07/22/e308-massivelys-chat-with-dcuos-jim-lee/">had to go past the head of Image comics</a> to make it onto these walls.
Everything has been concepted out, from the tight lines of the Batmobile to the image of the Joker on one of his trademarked cards.
Here again, the streets of Gotham city are instantly recognizable ... even without the cape-and-cowled protector hanging from a roof's edge.
One of the developers' major goals, as we learned back at E3, is <a href="http://www.massively.com/2008/07/17/e308-dc-universe-online-roundup/">to make locations in the DC Universe instantly recognizable</a>. Which of the two major DC cities does this abandoned housing complex remind you of?
Who watches the watchmen? In DCUO <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Question_(comics)">The Question</a>, one of this blogger's favorite characters, does the watching. We note that Question will be portrayed as 'Vic', the well-known authority-figure tweaking conspiracy theorists. In the modern comics Renee Montoya has taken up Vic's mantle after his death in the '52' series.
No character seems to minor to include amongst the august visages. <a href="http://www.massively.com/2008/09/16/agdc08-jim-lee-and-the-artwork-of-dc-universe-online/">As Jim Lee noted in his AGDC talk</a>, everyone has a favorite character. They're trying to bring the entire length and breadth of the DC Universe to life with this game.
This wall of villains encompassed nearly every psycho and nutcase that Superman, Batman, and the Justice League has ever faced down.
It's not all heroes on the boards. Cold beauties like Killer Frost glare down from the walls just as readily.
Meanwhile, they're working to bring even minor characters up to the same standards. Here we see concept art for <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zatanna">Zatanna</a>, the mystical maven that sometimes joins the caped crusader in his exploits. You'll note she's not wearing her trademark top hat - apparently a bone of contention among some of the artists. Getting between the pro- and anti-hat factions is dangerous.
... One which the digital artists have responded to in-kind. This is the same image rendered inside the game's engine, a testament to the veracity the team is trying to bring to the digital DC look. It's important to the team that notable and instantly recognizable characters like Batman be 'true to life' for his millions of fans.
This guy, you probably recognize. Jim Lee and the amazing concept artists working on the project have thrown down a fairly daunting gauntlet to the digital artists. This backlit image of the dark knight is one such gauntlet ...
"Future screenshots", the team likes to call their concept art. A vision of what the DC Universe will look like when transformed from pencil and ink to digital flesh. The evocative imagery like this villain slug-out is everywhere on the walls of the SOE Austin studios. Providing both reference materials and inspiration for the team, every vertical surface in the DCUO half of the studio is peppered with printouts like this one. Here we see Mr. Freeze leading a group of villains on a breakout of Arkham, but all around the offices familiar and ... perhaps ... not-so-familiar faces smile or grimace down from on high. Let's go on a walking tour of the SOE Austin studios and see if we can't recognize anyone.