With Aquaman set to hit theaters next month, it makes sense that DC Universe Online wants to, ahem, ride the wave of success with some Atlantis-themed content of its own. And so it’s gotten it, with the release of the game’s biggest expansion to date, enabling players to dive right into Aquaman’s world with a variety of heroes.
To get an idea of just how much work went into this enlarged expansion to the DCUO world, we sat down with the game’s creative director, S.J. Mueller. There are a number of topics here, including the toughest challenges in bringing Aquaman’s world to life, as well as what could be next for the popular DC-licensed adventure game.
First off, congrats on the launch of DCUO's new expansion. We figured the timing's gotta be pretty good with the forthcoming Aquaman movie, right? We assume it was planned that way?
Thanks for the congrats! And it’s certainly no coincidence. Aquaman’s REBIRTH storyline in the comics was a standout arc and what with the films, he’s becoming a huge icon in pop culture. He’s the talk of the town. And not just him. Mera’s surged in popularity too. We were thrilled to introduce her to the game earlier this year.
If we understand correctly, this is the biggest expansion we've seen for DCUO, correct? How much time did this take to put together?
I’d say in terms of effort and scope, it’s one of the biggest endeavors. We added a huge new open world map for Atlantis and it’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever created. The art team did an outstanding job bringing Aquaman’s kingdom to life. Even the ability for players and NPCs to swim in these underwater maps was a cross-discipline effort for design, art, and engineering. One of the most impressive spectacles of all was the giant Sea Beast, which we spent several months designing and developing.
What was the biggest challenge in making a world like Atlantis work for the DCUO mold?
Definitely swimming. Movement powers are a huge part of the superhero or supervillain experience. Luckily, we already have flight in game, so we’re used to having to design open worlds and boss fights around spaces with verticality. But this time, we knew everyone would have the ability to move up and down in the maps, so we were extra careful in designing the swimming experience and the Atlantean content.
Tell us about the content included with the Atlantis expansion. There seems to be something here for everyone.
One of the best parts about our new content is that the event portion is available to everyone level 10+! You can download our game for free and be playing the latest content within hours of starting. There won’t be any trouble finding folks to play with – which as you likely know, can be an issue with some MMO games.
How has the reception for Atlantis been so far? Are there any "fixes" you guys are looking to apply down the road, or are you pretty happy with how it's turned out?
Atlantis has been a huge hit! From casual players to the more hardcore, my Twitter notifications have been blowing up! I love hearing how awestruck players were when they first arrived in Atlantis and were swimming. It warms my heart. As for any changes, we proudly serve the community and approach game development as a live service, so we’re ready to respond to any feedback, especially in regards to improving the player experience.
We also have some plans for some additions so be on the lookout for new rewards and maybe even something special in December to celebrate the film.
Are there any interesting bonuses players should keep an eye out for while they explore this new world?
With the arrival of Atlantis, we introduced four new and very powerful Artifact items to the game. These are iconic items from the history of Atlantis that players can earn and level up to unlock awesome abilities and cool FX all inspired by Atlantis and the Aquaman family.
Finally, where do you see DCUO going from here? Obviously you can't tell us about stuff that's under wraps, but will players have a lot to look forward to past Atlantis?1comments
Obviously, we’re well underway on the next Episode and it’s going to be such a romp. It’s something a lot of folks have been asking for so it’s always a pleasure to deliver. 2019 is going to be a huge year for DCUO and we look forward to sharing more soon!
Thanks to SJ Mueller for chatting with us! DC Universe Online is available now for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.