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Massively in Metropolis: DC Universe Online concept art sneak peek

Michael Zenke

Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter. Black Canary, Oracle, The Question. The world of DC Comics is populated with amazing characters and fantastic stories. The entire four-color experience is coming to fans of the MMO genre in the form of DC Universe Online, a title in Sony Online Entertainment's stable of next-gen MMOs. Alongside the FPS title The Agency and casual/kid friendly Free Realms, DCUO looks to reinvent the concept of massively multiplayer game for comic book fans. And Massively has had a lengthy first-hand look at this groundbreaking title.

We had extensive hands-on playtime with the game's combat and powers mechanics, and hours of face to face chat time with the developers at SOE Austin. Over the next week, Massively is going to fully explore this dyanmic in-development game. In the words of the developers we'll crack into the studio's philosophy of play and discover the value these developers place on your play time.

To kick things off we've got a fantastic gallery of concept art taken right from the walls of the SOE Austin studios. Explore the work of Jim Lee and the other DCUO artists, with commentary on what you're seeing and hints on what is coming in the next week. Plus! Read on below the cut for Studio Manager John Blakely's insights into 'future screenshots'!

Gallery: DC Universe Online Concept Art | 43 Photos

John Blakely on "Future Screenshots"

SOE Austin Studio Manager John Blakely: At one point when the design started to solidify we wanted to have [the artists] create what we call future screenshots. In your mind, what should this game look like now that we have enough basic elements in terms of environments, vehicles, that sort of thing? Let's put those things in motion and create some scenes from our future game. This one here is "you" at the Watchtower, which is like our player city.

You're getting an alert, seeing things going on, and getting ready to help. Over here this is a scene that's probably pretty familiar. Metropolis with heroes and villains interacting, a car getting thrown down the street. This is the inspiration for the Brainiac event. These were made years ago, and you can see how close we are to realizing these scenes.

There are some assumptions in here that aren't playing out (no destroyed builds, obviously). But we can look at these and everyone can be on the same page with this. You can start to pull apart individual elements and say "we'll need some flying guys, big guys, and pedestrians, and all this ..." It's a great visualization, a great place to start from.

Look at these, they really get across the moments we're going for: hero on villain experiences. Breaking some guys out of Arkham Asylum to go raid the Bat Cave. It's going to be some nifty-cool stuff.

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