SAN DIEGO — Marv Wolfman is old enough to have been playing games from their inception. After spending a career writing stories for popular DC Comics characters, Wolfman has been putting his gaming expertise to good use as the writer behind Sony Online Entertainment’s DC Universe Online. Of course, he still writes comics, including the God of War comic based on Sony’s popular game franchise. Wolfman talks about his love of games and his latest project in this exclusive interview.
What’s your videogame background?
I’ve been a gamer since the very first arcade games. I was getting my consoles from day one. I had a Colecovision, I had all the consoles after that, currently I have the PS3, the PS2, the Wii, and the Xbox 360; I play games on all of them. I’m an actual gamer beyond being a comic book writer, so I love the connection.
How did that help with writing DC Universe Online?
Well, it meant that I understood the concepts and the process. If you only are a comic book writer and have never either played games or written games, because I have written games as well, you may not know the full ability of what you can do. Not that you won’t write a good story, but you may not know what a video game is capable of doing, or what an MMO is capable of doing, why an MMO is different from a console game, all of that. So, I think the knowledge of coming in as a game player, as well as a writer really did help.
What’s unique about DC Universe Online?
Well, the unique thing is that you’re playing with the iconic characters from DC. Sometimes you’re fighting with them, sometimes you’re fighting against them, sometimes you’re just joining them on a mission. They’re right next to you, or they might send you off on a mission, you may not want to go on that mission, so the player aspect is what you choose to do with the heroes or with the villains depending upon what you are. You certainly have the right to change what they tell you to do. MMOs are controlled by the player.
How does that impact the story?
We offer the opportunity to play a story that we’ve come up with, with full knowledge that you’re going to make it your own, and the trick that I had as a writer was the stories could not be generic. They had to be very DC centric, so if I was writing a Flash story, it’s the type of story that I would do in The Flash comics; not just a story that The Flash was in. It had to be accurate. Or, if I did a Teen Titan story and I created the Teen Titans from the comics, it would be exactly the type of story that I would do in the comics itself. And then, you have to think about how does the player fit in, how does the player control it, because it’s not the iconic characters who are controlling the story, it’s the player. So, you’re thinking about multiple things, and some of those things are not what a non-game player would understand because if you’ve never played an MMO you don’t realize sometimes where it is, and you may center too much on having the major characters do things and forget it’s not about them, it’s about the player and it’s about playing.