Enter DC’s World of Infinite Crisis

by Marshal Rosenthal

Infinite Crisis is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game for the PC that is coming your way. If you have a favorite character from DC Comics, you can expect him or her to be there as a playable character. Not to mention twisted versions as well. But once you’ve made your selection, you can also bet that there’s someone out there looking to pummel you good. So you need to be the one doing the pummeling. But what makes this game different from others of its kind is best answered by those involved in creating it. That’s why we sat down to demand answers from the game’s creative director, Cardell Kerr, and executive producer Jeffrey Steefel.

Man Cave Daily
So what makes this game fun?

3 Bats for the price of 1

3 Bats for the price of 1

That you can be any character and take on other players; want to be Batman, go ahead. Want to pick up a car and toss it, go ahead. You can just DO things because the game’s about destruction set in an interactive environment. At the core of what we built is the fact that the arenas are the backgrounds for the characters. You’re getting a chance to play a character you’ve known as a kid — or a dark reflection of that character like Green Lantern Arcane or Nightmare Batman — and using the world as your weapon to smash and destroy anything that gets in your way.

Man Cave Daily
Where does the game take place?

It’s set in Coast City, where we had the chance to build a game mode from the ground up. So instead of just saying well it would be cool to control what is going on around you — like knocking down a wall or smashing a car — we give player control over a gigantic Doomsday device (which is at the center of the “map”) that every 6 minutes or so becomes available for the taking and which either team can get hold of. Basically it calls down giant death ray forces from the sky to hit anyone anywhere on the map.

Man Cave Daily
Are there A.I. Characters?

We call them drones, which is what all these units of alien technology you see consist of. They are created at the power cores, and their goal is to defend the core from danger.

Cardell Kerr (L), Creative Director, and Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel

Cardell Kerr (L), Creative Director, and Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel (Photo: Man Cave Daily)

Man Cave Daily
Is it fair to say this game is devoid of humor?

Ah, no!

All the characters have reactions — they’ve got dances they can do when they’re really pulled something off — it’s friends competing with each other so it has that kind of humor. So I beat you, I make fun of you. It’s all about competition and the idea that I can learn a great move and get really, really good at it and show it off and beat others on another team and well, show my excellence basically.

Man Cave Daily
What is different in how the technology is used for game execution?

Our innovation for the genre is the idea of the dynamic environment that is destructive. Generally speaking, in a game like this, the arena is a chessboard, it does not change.  There’s a very important reason for that, in that when you’re learning the strategy for playing, you don’t want the strategy to suddenly no longer have an value, it shouldn’t change so you can take what you’ve learned and be successful.

But with that said, you have superheroes and supervillains and and you expect them to be fighting each other.  And you expect to see the results of their fighting, with buildings being knocked down and things being blown up. So destruction’s a big part of it, but where we spent the most amount of time, I would say, is in how to bring that destruction into this dynamic environment.

Lucky few test-driving Infinity Crisis at E3

Lucky few test-driving Infinity Crisis at E3 (Photo: Man Cave Daily)

Because of this, it basically changes what  one person can do during moments of combat. So on one side you might have Batman, who has set up some proximity mines as an ambush point while on the other side you might have a supervillain who isn’t going to just go walking in but instead pick up a car and smash everything there first. It’s about “Play vs. Counterplay” which is at the heart of every single multiplayer MMP which is very similar to what has gone before. But where it all changes is with this concept of the dynamic map, the dynamic play experience that molds itself to the skills that the players use in order to do the attacks that they want to do in order to win.

Man Cave Daily
But this game isn’t Mortal Kombat-ish, right?

The whole purpose of a DC game to me is that it’s about the characters first. It’s the interplay of the of the characters with each other and how we’ve built them. For example, let’s take a character like Nightmare Batman — we start with the concept that he’s the horror that waits for you in the dark. Batmans’ two things after all; he’s a master detective but he’s also the ultimate urban predator. So with Nightmare Batman we just doubled down and he’s the supernatural force just waiting to disappear people in the dark. We start from that point and then build on what we know the characters will do, because each one is unique, they have their histories and backstories that affect what they do and why. They have their own agendas and goals, despite the fact that the players are controlling them.

Man Cave Daily
So nobody gets killed?

Nope, you’re just defeating your opponents in the most destructive manner possible. It’s fun!

We bet the theme song's playing in your head right now.

We bet the theme song’s playing in your head right now.

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture. Visit his website.

The man. The myth. The album/audio-biography

The man. The myth. The album/audio-biography.

Marshal previously interviewed The Office’s Creed Bratton and Futurama composer Christopher Tyng.

More from Marshal Rosenthal

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