Interview: Challenges In Bringing DC Universe Online To Nintendo Switch

Back in 2011, Sony Online Entertainment mounted a huge task with bringing a comic book universe to an MMO structure. That project, DC Universe Online, would become a huge hit with fans of both gaming and comic books alike, attaining an audience of millions across PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Years later, now owned by Daybreak Games, it would continue to grow on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 front, as servers shut down on older platforms.

DC Universe Online Interview

Now, that audience is set to grow again. The game is set to make its debut on August 6 on Nintendo Switch, becoming the first full-on massive multiplayer online game to launch on the platform. Granted, it does come with its challenges – it’s huge in size, clocking in at 24GB at initial download, and it also has to keep up with Nintendo Switch Online’s limitations. However, the team at Daybreak is more than ready for what’s coming this week, with a brand new server dedicated to all its players.

We recently had a chance to chat with the game’s executive producer, Leah Bowers, about the challenges that came with bringing DC Universe Online to the platform, as well as what players can expect from it. And judging by early impressions, there’s a lot to look forward to.

First off, Bowers dove into the general excitement of creating the experience for a new platform in general, something that hasn’t been done since the game debuted on Xbox One back in 2016.

“It really is a special opportunity for us to be the first to bring a true MMO experience to the Nintendo Switch,” she explained. “Players will love the action combat play style that DC Universe Online brings to the console — it’s a natural fit!”

Of course, there’s the Nintendo Switch Online infrastructure to go around, since it isn’t your typical online gaming network like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. But Bowers says her team was more than up to the task.

DC Universe Online Interview

“We’ve been working on this as a team since October of last year. This was a huge challenge for us to take on, and the team really met it head on. The most important thing was handheld performance. That first time we were able to walk around the office playing DCUO handheld on the Switch was awesome.”

So, yes, you can take the system with you to San Diego Comic-Con and enjoy playing it while you’re waiting for the next panel – provided you can find a strong enough Wi-Fi point to connect to, obviously. Mueller said there’s a big plus in taking the game on the go.

“As a Nintendo Switch user, having a game of this magnitude with so much to do is extremely exciting to me! I think it’s going to really blow players’ minds when they can use a mobile hotspot to run a raid with their league mates. When I was traveling for Comic-Con I definitely fantasized about doing my DCUO dailies at the airport,” added creative director SJ Mueller.

For those concerned about whether or not you need a Nintendo Switch Online membership, good news – you don’t. “DC Universe Online is free-to-play and does not require a Nintendo Switch Online membership to play,” Bowers explained. “Just download and start making your very own customized Super Hero or Super Villain right away!”

Some players, however, may feel the need to have to get “caught up” with everything that DC Universe Online has had to offer over the years. But Bowers reassured that isn’t the case, as all the content that has been released thus far will be there, with more to come – which we’ll cover below.

“Players will get to experience all the episodes!” Bowers explained. “Everything is available from day one and mirrors what is currently available for our PlayStation, Xbox and PC communities. It’s very important to us that we welcome Switch into the DCUO fold and give them the best heroic experience we can.”

That will come in the form of Dark Nights: Metal, a new expansion based on the comic book series of the same name. Fans may recall that this was the introduction of a league of new Batmen, including The One Who Laughs. While Mueller didn’t go into too much detail about what this will bring, fans have a lot to look forward to.

“The next episode, out in September, is inspired by the Dark Nights: Metal storyline from the comic. That arc was a TOTAL TRIP and when I read it, all I could do was imagine it as a video game. I’m so excited to get to bring that deep, dark, meaningful storyline to life in our game,” said Mueller.

And the team is working very closely with DC Comics to assure that the vibe behind the comics continues to flow smoothly into DC Universe Online, so it isn’t lost in its events.

DC Universe Online Interview

“We work very closely with our partners at DC on all updates to the game,” Mueller said. “It’s a wonderful and collaborative relationship. They are very open to ideas from our end, and we love it when they share what they are excited about over at DC. Metal has been a big deal for them the last couple years, so they are absolutely thrilled that we’re making it a part of the DCUO universe too.”

As for what the future will hold outside of Metal in the months ahead, Mueller didn’t have a detailed schedule available.

“We are constantly updating the game with weekend events, seasonal events, episodes, or just crazy ideas we want to try out and get feedback from our extremely passionate community. Our biggest updates coming soon are Metal Pt. 1 in September and Metal Pt. 2 in December. And, of course, the Halloween and Winter events are coming too, and for Switch players, it’ll be their first time tackling those.

DCUO is a living, breathing game and we look forward to growing it for years to come.”

Fans will be able to discover what DC Universe Online has in store when the game goes live on Nintendo Switch starting on August 6. Again, it’s going to require a lot of space, so make sure you get a big enough memory card to hold it all, and get yourself a strong Wi-Fi connection before you do anything else. Also make sure that you’ve got a good hero picked out, and have a few friends in tow to help you save the day, just in case.

DC Universe Online Interview

We’ll have a review of this game around the time of the game’s release, so be sure to check back!

DC Universe Online is also available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

(Thanks to Joy and Daybreak Games for the interview!)

 

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