So, let’s look at the way a MOBA like League of Legends works. Every few weeks, a new champion is designed. They have to be colourful. They have to have a special power. They have to be bold enough to capture the hearts and wallets of players with a single piece of concept art, but compelling enough to sink hundreds of hours into. Once that works and the community is behind them, that champion can be tweaked and upgraded in ways that alternately surprise, horrify, and delight their playerbase.
I could be describing the history of any of DC’s comic book powerhouses. That’s why today’s announcement makes so much sense. Batman, Superman et al are to be the backbone of a MOBA built to challenge LoL and Dota.
Infinite Crisis is a competitive PvP “battle experience” set in the DC Multiverse – the publisher’s favourite excuse to pull together characters from all of its comics in a convenient alternate existence. It will feature a wide variety of DC heroes and villains, including Green Lantern and The Flash, who will fight alongside or against “twisted incarnations” of other favourites – Nightmare Batman, for instance, and Gaslight Catwoman. Apparently, a number of DC’s more familiar characters have been reimagined in this way.
It’s developed by Turbine, them of two very accomplished licensed MMOs: Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons.
“We are thrilled to bring Infinite Crisis, a truly competitive experience featuring the DC Comics lore and characters, to the MOBA genre,” said Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president Martin Tremblay. “Turbine is a pioneer in online gaming and combined with the amazing world of DC Comics, they are executing on a game concept that expands the MOBA genre.”
“The Turbine team is very excited to reveal Infinite Crisis to the world and extend the MOBA genre with new features,” said exec producer Jeffrey Steefel. “We are utilizing years of experience in the online game space to deliver innovations to the MOBA genre with a game that features fast-paced action, a major story arc, destructible environments, catastrophic events and a deep roster of iconic DC Comics characters.”
The announcement of Infinite Crisis makes an awful lot of sense in the context of the comic book haus’ more recent video game signings. While Gotham City Imposters wasn’t the TF2-threatening success it might have been, it was a brave and hilarious use of its parent license, developed by a studio with pedigree.
Turbine were the first to make the jump to free-to-play with LotR, and managed to multiply their winnings without sacrificing the happiness of non-paying players. With all available fingers and toes crossed, I say they can do right by DC’s finest.
Infinite Crisis is scheduled for release in 2013 on PC. You can sign up on the official site for a shot at its beta.