DC Universe Online (DCUO) has been giving players the chance to explore the DC Universe in a way other games have never managed. Across multiple systems and platforms, the game has allowed players to create a completely customizable super-heroic (or villainous) avatar, and save the DC Universe from the forces of Brainiac. A staple of modern free-to-play gaming, DCUO has grown over the past decade, with its newest and most exciting evolution to date coming this summer.
Originally launched in 2011 on PC and the PlayStation 3, and later updated for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the game has been steadily expanding for almost a decade, becoming a truly massive MMO. Now, a new generation of players will get the chance to play the game on an entirely different platform, as Daybreak Games officially DC Universe Online to the Nintendo Switch.
This is the first time the game has ever come to a Nintendo system, and its developers hope that having the portable capabilities of the Switch will be a great asset to the game. DC Universe Online has incorporated small element changes for the move to the system, and even though the online game won't have cross-play, the free-to-play game will give players across all systems access to a near decade of the franchise.
In an exclusive interview, CBR spoke with SJ Mueller, the DC Universe Online Creative Director, and Leah Bowers, the game's Executive Producer, about what they've learned from the last nine years, how the game plays on the Switch and what it's like to be coming to Nintendo.
With so many unique episodes and numerous missions, bringing the world of DCUO to a portable system like the Nintendo Switch was a daunting challenge. "A hand-held device, a fully built world... even I had my doubts," Mueller recalls." And she wasn't alone.
But for Executive Producer Leah Bowers, coming to the Switch, while seeming like an imposing jump, remained an important one to make. The decision to do so came when she and Daybreak Austin CEO Jack Emmert began discussing the challenges of bringing a game the size of DCUO over to a platform like the Switch, before recognizing that it could and definitely should be done. "Bringing the game to the Switch was something that's very close to my heart," she says. "Nintendo was the first console I really connected with; and yet, I associated the brand with first party or platform games. But when the switch came out, it blew my mind and highlighted the possibilities that were there."
Along with recognizing the brand parity between DC and Nintendo, as well as the possibilities of the Switch itself, addressing the inherent challenges of the move was alleviated thanks to what is perhaps the most lauded aspect of the game, at least from a developer's perspective: the open fan community. "Listening to the community about how to improve the experience - as both a fan and a creative director - has been invaluable," Mueller says.
"You have to listen to [the players] to know if you're hitting the mark, if you're achieving what you set out to do. I feel like that has made us even better at making content, making an experience where you're not battling the UI, but fighting villains alongside Superman! I think that was a huge difference in our original launch versus our launch now."
"It's very important to me that all of our communities stay the same and up to speed," Bowers adds. "I didn't want the Switch to be in a book all to itself; I wanted the other communities to benefit from the improvements that we were making and vice versa."
Mueller goes on to say that coming to the Switch has breathed new life into the game, championing it as a fantastic jumping-on point for new and old players alike. "It doesn't matter what level you are, just press the button and suddenly you're in Gotham, where everything's happening. On the Switch, fans get to try it again... for the first time!"
DC Universe Online, by Daybreak Games, will come to the Nintendo Switch this summer.