Nerdscreen: It’s all about the fans

Appealing to a strong fan base is a hot discussion topic with content creators, as was evidenced earlier this month at the Whistler Film Festival.
DC Uni Online

Appealing to a strong fan base is a hot discussion topic with content creators, as was evidenced earlier this month at the Whistler Film Festival.

But they’re on to something, and a lot of it has to do with giving the fans what they want. Few are more intense than fans of DC Universe. So when Sony Online Entertainment was in development on a new MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game – think World of Warcraft) DC Universe Online (pictured), the last people they wanted to upset were the fans. Fan input became an extremely valuable asset to building the game, so much so that the title was in development for a whopping five years because SOE wanted to get it just right.

Team members were in Toronto earlier this month and studio art director Michael Daubert noted there was a usability lab for fans to come in and give DCUO a test-drive – everyone from MMO players to comic book nerds to die-hard gamers were brought in to give valuable feedback.

“This is a fan-based game,” Daubert told Playback Daily. “The biggest thing is listening to the fans. We didn’t want to box ourselves into what we thought was cool, and the balance comes down to keeping an open environment.”

DC Comics were also required reading for anyone coming on board. Daubert added that every Friday, there was a team meeting in which the DCUO was projected onto a theater-sized screen (where nothing can be hidden) and everyone from the most senior execs to the junior designer could yell out what they liked or didn’t like. The game is slated for release in January 2011 for PC and PS3.

While not quite the same type of hardcore, the fact that Glee fans have their own term – Gleeks – tells you something about their passion for the brand. The series has proven to be a ratings hit for Global and game publisher Konami is looking to hit the same high notes with Karaoke Revolution Glee, capitalizing on the music-driven elements of the IP. The exclusive Nintendo Wii title includes 30 songs from the show’s first season so stars-in-the-making can sing along with fellow Canuck Cory Monteith and the other members of the misfit glee club.

Karaoke Revolution features clips from the series and as a special bonus to appeal to big-time Gleeks looking for some extra fan love, it also includes video montages with unreleased Glee footage that only those who own the game will be able to see.