Having been around for more than a decade, DC Universe Online has amassed a sizeable playerbase and fan following, and stands as one of the more successful MMOs in the market. And as you’d expect from an active, successful MMO, it’s got plenty more left up its sleeve. Next month, for instance, it’ll continue to add new content and tell more stories with Episode 46: Justice League Dark Cursed, inspired by the popular DC crossover event The Witching Hour, while later in the year, the MMO will also be seeing a native launch on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. To learn more about what players can expect from the game on those fronts and beyond, we recently reached out to developer Dimensional Ink Games with some of our questions. You can read our interview with executive producer James Nance below.
"Our players love the worlds and characters of DC. We’re our own version of this universe inspired directly by the comics, so what we do resonates with everyone, from the most casual fan to the experts."
DC Universe Online has been around for over a decade at this point, and is continuing to go strong with its playerbase and content updates. What has been the biggest reason for the game’s enduring success, and what are the most important lessons you’ve picked up along the way that have helped the process on your end?
Our players love the worlds and characters of DC. We’re our own version of this universe inspired directly by the comics, so what we do resonates with everyone, from the most casual fan to the experts.
We put you in this world as your own character, standing right next to the greats like Batman and Wonder Woman, so you really feel it. The visceral nature of the combat reflects that classic super hero aesthetic, too, so the whole game opens up into this fantasy I think everyone has shared at some point.
As developers, we have learned to embrace this unique mixture unapologetically in everything we do, and then turn it over to our players to live in and explore.
What are the most significant technical and performance upgrades players can expect from DC Universe Online on current-gen consoles?
Being a networked game, we have to be careful about balancing new machine power with player experience across the different platforms. We certainly do not want to encourage a “pay to win” experience where the new platforms have performance gains that become required to experience the game at its fullest. At the same time we are looking at improving the visual and audio fidelity where we can.
The game’s current-gen launch will also bring a number of quality-of-life improvements over the coming months. Can you tell us about the key areas that you’re prioritizing with these improvements above others?
Our focus will be on aspects of the game pretty much any player bumps up against, with emphasis on how players get their characters created and get immersed into the game world. We don’t have a lot of details to share quite yet, but a new character creation experience is definitely something we are working on.
Holistically, we want to make impactful changes to how the game feels, with the current generation of consoles and gamers in mind. We are a game with over a decade of content, and we want all of it to be accessible and feel engaging, whether you have been with us for all that time or whether you just created your first character yesterday.
What can you tell us about Episode 46, and what served as the primary inspirations for its main story and setup?
Episode 46: Justice League Dark Cursed, is such a fun story where we join Wonder Woman, Circe, Batman, Constantine, Zatanna, and more to solve a mystery: what is this new magical curse? How can we stop it? The Justice League Dark leads the investigation, and when we discover that the Amazonian goddess of magic, Hecate, is trying to actually destroy all magic, we jump from the Cursed Gotham and occupied House of Mystery to confronting Hecate in her Olympian ritual. Of course, nothing is ever simple when you’ve got double-dealers like Circe, Etrigan the Demon, and even the sneaky John Constantine, so be prepared for a few twists along the way!
Our main inspiration was a DC storyline called The Witching Hour, a really fantastic cross-over event. In it, Hecate activates 5 Witch-Marked heroes (like sleeper agents!) as part of a ritual to change magic itself. The original story ends with Zatanna unleashing an even more dangerous threat on Hecate, and while we didn’t quite want to go in that direction, we did like the idea that our actions might lead to an unforeseen threat. Possibly something that will have major implications for the following episode, stay tuned!
"We are a game with over a decade of content, and we want all of it to be accessible and feel engaging, whether you have been with us for all that time or whether you just created your first character yesterday."
What was behind the decision to build Episode 46 as a direct follow-up to Episode 34?
DC has so many wonderful teams, but it’s hard to find one that’s more fun to tag along with (or fight against!) than The Justice League Dark! So we always knew we wanted to revisit them, but when you combine that team with Wonder Woman, Circe, and Batman, it really is a dream cast.
This new Justice League Dark story is not just an opportunity to revisit fan favorite characters, but an opportunity to add some new mechanical twists and amazing styles with all of Hecate’s curses. I can’t wait for people to see all the fun things we managed to add into this newest update.
What should players expect from Justice League Dark Curse’s scope as an update, in terms of how much content it will be adding to the game?
Episode 46 hits all the top notes we strive for with any of our large episode updates – an open world to explore (this time a portion of Gotham City, with Constantine’s House of Mystery teleported right into the heart of it), with small and large group instances to tell the story.
We will also see new styles, a new artifact, and the full course of new rewards for players to go after.
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?
The frame rate is 60fps, we are still evaluating performance at 4K.