At Time Warner’s Future of Storytelling event, DC Entertainment revealed the next stage in their digital comics platform: DC2 and DC2 Multiverse. Both concepts are designed to bring comics into the digital age by capitalizing on the potential of touch-screen technology and the wider acceptance of digitally formatted comics. We got a chance to see DC2 and DC2 Multiverse in action and we have to admit, the future is looking bright.
DC President Diane Nelson took the stage to give us a rundown on DC’s history with digital publishing. As pioneers of same-day digital releases and digital first series, DC’s learned a thing or two about the ever growing online marketplace. Co-Publisher Jim Lee explained that the next step in the evolution of digital comics was in looking at the way we experience media. Reading comics is a passive activity – not in itself a negative thing – but DC is interested in pushing at the boundaries of comic books by incorporating interactive elements into the experience.
The first title we saw for DC2 was a digital first inspired by the campy yet classic 1960’s Batman TV show. Batman ’66 is a technicolor dream of interactive storytelling. We got to experience the first issue on an iPad, and the integration of touch-screen technology into the reading process was a treat. With a tap of your finger, the comic moves forward, revealing different elements of a story at your own pace. A speech balloon pops up here. An explosion bursts forth from a panel there. Even if you’re without a touch-screen device, you’ll still be able to experience DC2 on your computer, though Lee and Nelson were tight-lipped on specifics regarding platform launches.
DC2 Multiverse takes interactivity to a whole new level. The platform’s inaugural title, Batman: Arkham Origins, is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure book on steroids, although Lee said they purposefully avoided that term because of its more juvenile connotation. Like DC2, the Multiverse side of this digital venture allows users to set their own pace for revealing the story’s visual elements, but the addition of sound effects and a soundtrack elevates it from passive reading to a more dynamic experience.
When we brought up the similarity between the Multiverse format and choose-your-own-adventure novels, Lee said, “This is a digital version of that analogue experience. Not only do people make choices, but we can actually collect data about what choices are made, what’s more popular, and that gives us feedback in terms of what storylines to develop, how to take the direction of characters’ storylines. People can even vote through their choices of who survives, who doesn’t survive.”
Shades of Jason Todd much? When we mentioned that parallel to Lee, he only smiled slyly and said, “There are ways of making it interactive, not only on the screen, but between the publisher and the consumer/reader.”
Part motion comic, part interactive game, DC2 Multiverse allows the reader to determine what direction the story will take. For example, when confronted with three different baddies, you can choose to tackle one of them to initiate a sequence of events particular to that character. The story branches out like a tree, with different paths leading to different outcomes.
As with any choose-your-adventure, some decisions provide more desirable results than others. Lee hinted that DC believes that people should be rewarded for making good choices, but stayed mum on the nature of those rewards. There will be goodies tied in to the comic, but we’ll have to wait to find out what those are, just as we'll have to wait to hear more about pricing, platforms, and availability.
Both DC2 and DC2 Multiverse represent a promising foray into the possibilities of digital comics. That being said, both Nelson and Lee told us that DC is focusing on mass market appeal. On the one hand, it’s always good to bring in new readers, but it could also mean DC is limiting the scope of its offering on those two platforms to larger franchises that will see their DC2 content as supplemental offerings to the main event, like video games and movies.
The technology is interesting enough that one would hope to see DC expand its usage to original content, but according to Lee, there are currently no plans in the works to do so.
Source : ign[dot]com