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DC Universe Online: We talk post-launch with Jim Lee and Marv Wolfman

Marv Wolfman may not be a big name to non-comic readers, but his impact is hard to miss. While at Marvel he was instrumental in the creation of Blade, and wrote stories for characters as wide-ranging as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Howard the Duck. Once he began writing for DC Comics in the early-80s, he and artist George Perez reinvigorated the Teen Titans series, and went on to completely reshape the entire DC Universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths, which featured the memorable deaths of Supergirl and Flash, among literally billions of others. Since then Wolfman has stayed active in comics writing, as well as penning scripts for television. We were curious to find out what role he played in DCUO’s creation, which he thoughtfully obliged.

GamesRadar: How did you become involved in DCUO? Did you join very early in the development or further along? Were you involved more in the overall plot, the side quests, or perhaps character dialogue?

Marv Wolfman: Geoff Johns had already worked up the Brainiac spine for the game and the concept of Luthor from the future. I was called in to work on the individual missions that would further add to the DC flavor of the game. To make sure that every mission felt like it could be something out of a DC Comic. I wrote God knows how many mission concepts which the Sony folk took and expanded into even more missions. Together we all made the game as DC-centric as possible.

GR: Are you much of a gamer? What’s one of the earliest games you remember playing?

MW: I’ve been playing games since Pong. I had a ColecoVision and most of the game consoles from that time on. I currently have a PS3, Xbox 360 and a Wii and play games on all of them.

GR: Have you played any DC games in the past or were you even involved in their development?

MW: I actually didn’t play too many older DC games; that was my life, the work I did, so playing it seemed like work instead of play. I have played Arkham Asylum and of course now I’m playing the DCUO.

GR: Does creating your avatar in DCUO remind you of creating characters for comics? Do you find yourself crafting a back-story in your head for your new DCUO characters as you make them?

MW: I made it simple for myself and designed a very straight forward hero in order for him NOT be feel like the work I do all the time. I play the game for fun and don’t want work intruding in on it.

GR: How’d writing for DCUO compare to writing a comic script? Was working with a team of developers noticeably different from communicating with an artist or editor?

MW: Games are completely different than regular comics writing. In comics, novels, animation, TV and movies, the writer controls the story, the pacing and everything the reader sees. In games, the player decides what they’ll do, whether they will follow the main story or only do a few missions or completely ignore it. What you try to do in an MMO is come up with some solid ideas that will make the player want to investigate the story, all the while knowing they may not. So instead of telling the story in one place, you sprinkle ideas here and there giving them a taste of the story over a longer time. You’re their guide, not their driver.

GR: Any heroes or villains you wanted in the game that couldn’t make it? Any that you pushed for inclusion that did make it?

MW: No, because I knew if the game was successful they would eventually all appear. We could only use the characters the game folk built, but they built them knowing the DCU better than most anyone. So they were very aware of who they left out and why and where they might appear in the future.

GR: Ever have a moment of helping better define a character in the game? Perhaps telling the devs something along the lines of, “Deathstroke would never say that!”

MW: No, those guys were actually more up to date on some of the continuity than I was. They know their business. Sometimes we’d discuss whether we should use one aspect of the character or a different one, but they were only concerned that each character felt right.

Henry moved from the suburbs of northern Florida to work at GR+, and hasn't looked back once in seven years. When not collecting Mario toys, you can find him constantly checking his Twitter.