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Fabian Nicieza working on ‘world’s first virtual sports theme park’

FunGoPlay

A new “virtual sports theme park” launching later this spring seeks to combine “the most appealing aspects of online gaming with the joys of real world play,” and helping them to do that is Red Robin writer Fabian Nicieza.

FunGoPlay will allow kids to earn medals, points and power-ups in the virtual world by wearing branded sports gear when they play in the real world that apparently keeps track of their activity levels and sends it back to the game.

“Our research shows that kids’ activity levels are determined when they are eight and nine years old. Not coincidentally, this is the time that they are being sucked into the often sedentary lifestyle of video games and surfing online,” said FunGoPlay President David Jacobs in a press release. “We saw an opportunity to combine two leading kid passions—digital entertainment and real world active sports play—so we changed the game by introducing a virtual world that rewards kids for playing and being active in the real world. We see this as a future of online gaming that both parents and children can enjoy.”

Nicieza, the longtime comic scribe who also served as editor-in-chief of the Acclaim’s comic line, is the head of creative for FunGoPlay. He will write all the storylines for the various characters that appear in the game, a spokesperson said. The company also includes David Mauer, former president of Mattel USA and current CEO of EB Brands, and David Jacobs, formerly with Sesame Workshop.


DC Universe Online delayed until 2011

Black Adam vs. Green Lantern in DC Universe Online

I guess it was too good to be true when Sony finally revealed the release date for the long-anticipated DC Universe Online MMO this past summer, as now the game, which was originally supposed to come out in November, has been delayed until “early 2011.”

Here’s the reasoning, from the press release: “SOE is dedicated to delivering the highest quality game experiences possible,” says John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment. “DC Universe Online is the first game of its kind, and a truly massive undertaking — the first action MMO set in the DC Universe, the first MMO on the PlayStation® 3, and the first time the entire DC Universe will be accessible to the millions of fans who are eagerly anticipating its release. As the game heads into external beta testing, this extra time will allow us to address community feedback in a meaningful way. When we get deeper into external beta, we’ll be able to share more information regarding the new launch date.”

The whole point of a beta test is to help figure out what needs to be fixed before launch, so I guess if this ultimately means the game will be better and more complete when it comes out, so be it. While the delay sucks, they did have a bit of a silver lining, as they announced more info on the external beta:

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A teaser trailer for a teaser trailer for DC Universe Online

The PlayStation blog says that Spike TV will air a new trailer for DC Universe Online called “Blur,” plus a behind-the-scenes look at the multiplayer role-playing game, this Friday night. They also posted the above teaser for the trailer, which features Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Joker and Cyborg, among others.

Watch for the full trailer tomorrow night on GameTrailers TV.

DC Universe Online subscriptions to cost $14.99 per month

DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online

We’ve learned a few things about DC Comics and Sony’s long-in-development massive multiplayer online role-playing game over the past few weeks, including the release date (November), whether they’d get Wonder Woman’s costume right (yes) and now the pricing.

DC Universe Online will cost $14.99 per month to play it, in addition to the retail cost ($49.99 for the PC version, $59.99 for the PlayStation 3 version). The MMO blog Massively spoke directly to someone at Sony, who confirmed the price. The spokesperson couldn’t confirm if the game would also have in-game “micro-transactions” built into it that allowed players to purchase in-game items — like costumes, accessories, special weapons, skills or even in-game currency — for real money.

No bundled subscription fees (where you get a discount for buying multiple months at once) were mentioned, but I can’t imagine they wouldn’t offer something like that.


Sony unveils new trailer for DC Universe Online at E3

The big E3 Expo is going on down in Los Angeles right now, and with it comes all sorts of news, announcements and goodies about upcoming video games. Over on the Playstation blog, Sony has posted the official E3 trailer for the upcoming — and long-awaited — DC Universe Online MMORPG that’s due to come out this fall.

“This trailer also shows the tremendous influence Jim Lee has brought to the table working as the Executive Creative Director on this title – his edgy take on the DC Universe has been transformed from the traditional 2D comic book medium into an immersive 3D interactive environment where you become the next legend!” the post reads. “Between now and our release in November, stay tuned for tons of exciting releases from the team – we can’t wait to show you what is up our sleeves!”

Marvel teams with startup for online gaming worlds

Super Hero Squad

Super Hero Squad

Back in 2006, Marvel Entertainment, Cryptic Studios (makers of the City of Heroes games) and Microsoft announced that they were working on a massive multiplayer online game featuring the Marvel Universe. Then in 2008, we found out development of the game had been shut down. But recognizing that only Phoenix and Bucky actually stay dead in the Marvel Universe, it was only a matter of time before we heard the news that Marvel was back in the MMO game, right?

According to VentureBeat.com, online game company Gazillion Entertainment and Marvel have reached a 10-year agreement whereby the startup will “build a series of online game worlds with Marvel’s comic book characters.” Oddly enough, the first one out the gate won’t be a big online Marvel Universe game, but will instead be a kids-oriented one featuring their Super Hero Squad property. It’s due in 2010, and the company has been working on the game for a year.

A giant Marvel game, dubbed Marvel Universe, for both the PC and video game consoles, is planned for the future, the article says. The company also has the license to make an MMO called LEGO Universe.


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