DC Universe Online is an odd yet exciting game. When it launched back in 2011, it was an MMO that boasted the ability to bring the DC Universe to an MMO and allow everyone to be a part of the experience. It had a story that included you, the character, in a global battle with your favourite heroes and villains. It had the backing of Sony behind it and featured many people that worked on the DC Comics including Jim Lee. Since that time the game has changed, evolving to meet the new demands of the industry. Dropping a monthly subscription, moving to a free-to-play model, and even transitioning away from Sony and moving over to Daybreak.
These changes have not diminished the quality of the experience. The team at Daybreak has been working hard to bring players new experiences for them to explore, and even morphing the game as time goes on to appeal to a changing market and demographic. In one of their latest updates, Age of Justice, the team has introduced time travel to the game. This allows Daybreak to break down the walls they have set up so far and bring some beloved Golden Age DC characters and settings to the universe.
Talking to SJ Mueller, Creative Director at DCUO, we ask about what this drastic change to the DCUO will mean for players and how it will fit the overall DCUO experience. “Traveling through time and space is not a strange occurrence in the DCU, and DCUO is no exception,” Mueller says. “However, we’ve never taken a map and sliced it in half to represent two different dimensions in space and time. This was a challenge, but our incredible art and design teams put their heads together and came up with a cool area for players to explore.”
He isn’t wrong; the DC Universe is known for its exploration of alternate realities, with Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Flashpoint Paradox both exploring what could be in the universe. With alternate reality and time travel such a key aspect of the DC universe, the fact Daybreak is looking to incorporate it more deeply within DC Universe Online is a sign they care about the subject matter and want to further what fans look for from DCUO and DC comics in general.
Things did not stop there though, with so many new stories playing with time including “What if” tales, it was only a matter of time before some of these aspects would leak into DCUO. This has never been more true than with Bombshells, a story where the DC heroines guard the homefront during WWII. Started as a figurine line, and later turned into a series in 2015, it has grown very popular within the DCU.
“Bombshells’ Wonder Woman makes an appearance, voiced by the talented Susan Eisenberg. She has a very powerful scene with her mother, Hippolyta, played by Beth Broderick. Since this episode features time travelling and other universes, we couldn’t resist traveling back to the DC Bombshells universe too,” Mueller explains.
Sadly this is the only Bombshells character making her way to DC Universe Online, at least for now. But Daybreak is working on including more of the Golden Age of the DCU along with aspects from comics touching on WWII. “Most of it came from actual Golden Age comics and WWII comics from later years. We were inspired by the Justice Society and All-Star Squadron, and even War comics like Creature Commandos and Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. This DLC is our love letter to the Golden Age,” Mueller says.
Daybreak plans to further explore the world of the Golden Age by visiting “a war-torn European village circa 1944, right in the midst of a battle,” along with touching on many of the Justice Society’s most infamous villains including such notable people as Degaton and Baron Von Savage. For players of DCUO this is an exciting event and one that looks to be a sign of where they want to take the game into the future.
CGM also spoke to Nicola Scott, a comic book artist who is lending her talents to Episode 28, the Age of Justice. Known for her work on Birds of Prey and Secret Six, she is currently working on Wonder Woman, adding a level of knowledge to the project that DC fans should appreciate. For more on Scott, her process, and what she’s bringing to Wonder Woman and Age of Justice, check out the full interview in our June/July issue.