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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Superhero news of June

Eliot Lefebvre

June was definitely a month. And things definitely happened during it. And some of them could sort of be seen as relating to superhero games, so that's good. Unfortunately, most of them sort of... weren't.

That's not entirely true, really. There was some news about superhero games all through June; it's just that most of it had very little to do with the here and now. Most of it focused around what will happen, where games will be going, and what players can expect in the future. There was a decided lack of news about what's going on right now.

Still, that makes it no less worthy of review. So let's hop in the not-very-far-back machine and take a look at the news from June, which also featured some sort of gaming convention or another. I can't remember which one, exactly. It'll come to me in a minute.

Steampunk Batman will use guns, because Steampunk Batman something something guns.DC Universe Online is jumping to the next generation

If you like MMOs on a console, you're going to be getting a PlayStation 4. That's just the way it is. Admittedly pretty much everyone else will also be getting a PlayStation 4 because Microsoft and Sony apparently teamed up to sell it, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that this console is going to be absolutely swimming in MMOs, and one of those games will be DC Universe Online.

So how is it different? Well, the client will hopefully be incorporating the PS4's controller touchpad to make the UI easier to navigate, and there should be some upgraded graphical bells and whistles. And a mobile client, but that's not really directly related to the new console. The point is that the game will play a bit better on the new console, but if you're not fond of the controller interface, you'd still be better off playing on your computer, which is already an option.

On the one hand, I'm happy to see that the game is still playable on a new console with some attempts to use the upgraded features. On the other hand... well, I can't imagine that any of this is really compelling if you're already playing happily on a PlayStation 3. Presumably this would be a launch title, but it's hard to really mark it as a selling point when you can turn the graphics up even further on your computer in the event that you care.

More important to me is the fact that DCUO has segregated servers based on clients, and I'm not sure if that will carry over for the PS4. Dividing the userbase has always been a boneheaded choice, one that I'm glad Final Fantasy XIV didn't make. We'll have to see how this gets addressed as we get more news.

Still, it's going to be on the PS4. So that's still pretty cool.

Perhaps they can also get someone who can update the screenshot gallery, while they're updating the game and all.Champions Online gets a new shine

We don't know exactly what it'll be doing, but we do know that Cryptic North's formation means that Champions Online is getting some development. Quite possibly major development. Even possibly the development that the game has kind of been in need of for the past several years. Can we dare to dream?

I really hope so because I have bee hoping for this for a while. I wrote a column on this specific topic. This is a game that has every reason to rock the house hard enough to bring down the roof, and it's languished. The fact that a studio is being formed just to breathe some life into the game could mean good things.

Personally, I'm hoping for something not unlike Star Trek Online's recent expansion, which really did a great job of revamping the game for both new and veteran players. I'm not sure what CO could do that would be similar in scope, but if that's the plan, I think it'd be best to talk about it, and soon. Throwing money into the game is a gamble, and it could pay off quite well, but you need to start playing up the strategy.

Marvel Heroes makes nice

In wake of the launch delays, Marvel Heroes needed to make good with the players who had ponied up a lot of money. And the game did so... by giving these people more money. Considering the limited number of heroes you get at the outset and the number of costumes yet to come, I think this was both a smart move by the corporate side and a good net benefit for people who felt like shelling out for one of the large packs before launch.

Other than that... well, there have been a couple of new costumes added and not much else. Which is fine. There have been minor patches here and there, sales, and so forth. There's a definite sense that some things in the game weren't quite ready for prime time at launch, but at least the game actually launched instead of just opening the store and letting everyone sort out open beta for themselves. And it's a hard launch, at that.

Not that I am naming names.

And the rest?

Infinite Crisis is still coming, and we've seen a few more dispatches from it, but nothing all that noteworthy beyond the fact that it's coming. (Or nothing all that noteworthy by my watch, anyway. It might be bigger stuff if you're really into the MOBA genre.) Nothing big from Plan Z, either. So it's been a quiet month, but not a silent one.

Tune in next month when everything explodes! Or not. For now, you can feel free to leave comments and your own thoughts down in the comment field or mail them along to

By day a mild-mannered reporter, Eliot Lefebvre spent years in City of Heroes before the world-shattering event that destroyed his home world. But he remains as intrepid as ever, traveling to other superheroic games and dispensing his unique brand of justice... or lack thereof.

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