As seen in the video above, Routh visited Daybreak Games Company and took DCUO on Xbox One a test drive. ComicBook.com spoke to Routh while he was taking a break from the game and, having just wrapped on Legends on Tomorrow for the season, Routh seemed happy to continue his superhero adventures in a different form.
"I love being part of the DC Comics Universe,” Routh said. “Because we share the same universe and can crossover between shows, I think it really heightens the camaraderie between us as actors, and makes being part of the Universe a really unique and amazing experience. We recently wrapped season one of Legends of Tomorrow, so it was fun to jump into DC Universe Online on the Xbox One and continue my adventures. One of the biggest reasons I got into gaming was to immerse myself into different fantasy worlds and meet people with similar passions. DCUO has this, and it was awesome being able to create my own hero (I named him Earthbawler—he loved basketball and the earth) and take on some of DC’s biggest bad guys like Bane and Scarecrow.”
The Xbox One launch brings all of the content created for DC Universe Online over the past five years, including 20 episodic expansions, to the console. Going forward, all future updates will release across Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and PC concurrently. In 2016 so far, Daybreak has already added new content inspired by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Routh’s own Legends of Tomorrow.
But any MMO veteran knows that the fun begins with character creation, and Routh is no different. He described to me the process of creating Earthbawler in DC Universe Online.
“First I thought maybe I'd play a nature character, and then I realized that it was just going to be a lot of plants, which would be cool growing things, but I thought I went more for the earth, more of the whole earth, the strength of the earth versus just the plant life aspect,” he explained. “You can go a million different ways with hair choices, so I decided not to do any hair and just go with a helmet because it's easier that way. Then you can decide what the powers are going to be like, if you're choosing hero based off Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman. Technology based hero versus magic based hero versus genetically created superhero like Superman, born with it in a way. We ended up going with the tech side, falling in line modeling a little bit more off of the Atom in some ways.
“I was joking about how I could probably spend a week just creating my character,” he continued. “There's so many options, so many abilities. For me, that's one of the most fun parts about any type of RPG or any game that you can create a character is that. Then, just the naming process. We came up with a unique name that was based off of the footwear that we gave. We have to have full concepts for this hero.”
Even just finding a name required some creativity from Routh. “We're making a cool earth-based character,” Routh said. “He's made out of rock and then a cool, Spartan-like helmet. Then, we're looking at the shoes. There were these great low top basketball shoes with almost knee high socks, which is just too awesome. He was made of earth and he likes basketball; he became Earth Baller. Then, there was a problem with the language filter. I couldn't spell it B-A-L-L-E-R. He's a Earth B-A-W-L-E-R. He cries about the Earth and he also plays basketball. Earth is round, it's all kinds of globe metaphors and similes for his style and abilities.”
While creating the look and personality of his character may have been a long process, when it comes to gameplay, Routh knows what he likes.
“When I played World of Warcraft back in the day, I definitely was drawn more to the ‘savior’ type character,” he said. “The tanks are part of the team and taking all the damage and also alternatively being a healer and supporting the team in that way. It's fun to deal damage and stuff, but also just to be having to micromanage and heal everybody, and be a bigger part of the team as a whole, and the leadership aspect of it was always a lot of fun for me and what I find that I gravitate towards. It's the same thing with this game.”
In the video above, you can see that the Daybreak team took to time to create a highlight reel of characters based on Routh’s acting career, including his Superman from Superman Returns, Daniel Shaw from Chuck, Todd Ingram from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and both a classic, comic book representation of the Atom, and version more in line with Routh’s version of the character in Legends of Tomorrow.
You might think that Routh would want to change things up from his day job and avoid playing something too similar to his on-screen superhero persona, but it turns out that’s not the case.
“No, actually, I'm really tempted to play as the Atom,” he said, “or make the character like the Atom, because I get to bring him to life, but I don't get to do any of the actual…well, I get to do some fun stuff. I do get to fight, but it's not really anything but fake fighting. This is a whole different way of envisioning and becoming the Atom. I actually get to learn a few things about how to be the Atom even better through working it out in game, which should be a lot of fun, and fully realizing the character through an avatar on the game.”
Bringing his TV character into the game is one thing, but could that kind of inspiration work in the opposite direction? We asked Routh if encountering any characters in DC Universe Online made him want to see brought to life on Legends of Tomorrow.
“There are a lot of characters in The Flash/Arrow universe already that could make an appearance that are also in DCUO,” Routh told us. “We were going through some of the characters, just looking at everybody that you can model yourself after. There's Captain Atom, which would be interesting to have. Somebody who is challenging, even in namesake, would be interesting to come up against. The thing is there's so many characters to pull from that are in the universe, the amazing amount of choices that our producers have to pull from, to interface them into our show.
“We definitely have only had really one true villain come in,” Routh continued. “There's a lot of opportunity for that. Probably they're not as well-known villains, as most of those are taken from the feature film side. The cool thing about what we're doing on the show, and what a game like DCUO can do, is highlight the lesser known characters and give them a bigger platform so that maybe fans of them can appreciate them and see them given a little bit more daylight. That's one thing that our show's able to do too. The lesser known guys and ladies get to have a bigger, broader stage.”
DC Universe Online is now available and free-to-play on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC.
You can see Brandon Routh as the Atom in the Legends of Tomorrow season finale episode “Legendary,” airing Thursday, May 19 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.