WB reveals new DC heroes franchise, ‘Injustice’

New E3 lineup includes 'Lord of the Rings,' 'Hobbit' games

As Warner Bros. readies to release “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Man of Steel” next year, its videogame division is actively prepping its own tentpole titles based on DC’s comicbook characters, with “Injustice: Gods Among Us” set to turn the superheroes into villains.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed the new game just days before the E3 videogame confab kicks off next week in Los Angeles.

Game division hopes to launch “Injustice” as a new fighting franchise that features an original story and large cast of DC Comics icons such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, the Flash and Wonder Woman.

NetherRealm Studios, behind WB’s successful reboot of “Mortal Kombat,” produced “Injustice.”

“We can’t wait to reveal ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ because it will give our fans and gamers an epic experience as they battle like gods as their favorite DC Comics villains and heroes,” said Ed Boon, creative director at NetherRealm Studios.

With heavy levels of blood, gore and violence, “Mortal Kombat” was developed for older gamers and rated M, while “Injustice” leans more in that direction, continuing WBIE’s strategy of taking DC’s more popular characters and creating games that appeal to various auds and age groups.

For Batman, it developed both the lighter, more animated “Lego Batman: The Videogame” and the upcoming “Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes,” both aimed at kids and families, while the darker, grittier “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Batman: Arkham City” were developed for more mature gamers.

WBIE will launch “Injustice” sometime next year on all platforms.

“With ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us,’ we are creating an all-new franchise with incredible battles set in the DC Comics Universe,” said Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Separately, WBIE also used the eve of E3 to reveal “Lego: The Lord of the Rings” and “Guardians of Middle-earth.”

The Lego title, produced by TT Games, will let players explore the world and characters of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. It will be available on all platforms this fall. TT Games also developed the successful lineup of Lego games based on the “Batman,” “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Harry Potter” films.

“We are huge aficionados of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ franchise and are incredibly excited to put our special Lego family-friendly touch on this classic fantasy adventure,” said TT Games managing director Tom Stone. “We’ve taken what fans are familiar with and love about ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films and combined it with the playful Lego style, which makes the story and gameplay accessible to gamers of all ages.”

Game’s launch comes after Lego and Warner Bros. paired to launch a “Lord of the Rings” toy collection that includes seven construction sets, such as The Battle of Helms Deep, based on the films.

“Guardians of Middle-earth” is an original online game, developed by Monolith Prods (“Gotham City Imposters”), that will be released on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in the fall, timed with December’s release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

The multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) will let players become characters from J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world including Gandalf, Sauron and Gollum.

“The MOBA genre is wildly popular with PC players, and we are excited to bring it to consoles through the lore of Middle-earth,” said Samantha Ryan, senior VP of production and development at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The heroes and villains of Middle-earth are crafted in a way that perfectly intersects with MOBA game features, allowing the development team to create guardians with deep skills and abilities for gamers to master.”