On Monday, Sony Online Entertainment invited members of the press to a special sneak peek of the new DLC for DC Universe Online. Any good superhero saga needs alternate realities and general time-and-space-mucking, and that’s at the heart of this new content, which Creative Director Jens Andersen said had been among some of the original conceptual material for the game, envisioned seven years ago.
Appropriately titled Origin Crisis, the DLC pack offers a new power set, new raids, new operations, and a new type of solo PvE content, called Iconic Anomalies, which were the focal point of our guided tour.
Batman and Lex Luthor are conducting simulations to see what would happen if origins of various superheroes and supervillains were altered. In these Anomalies, you’ll take on the role classic DC characters – for the first time in PvE – and explore these possible realities.
Jens ran us through a simulation involving the creation of Superman’s demented clone, Bizarro, utilizing his awesome combo of super strength, ice vision, and heat breath. Next, we got a look at an Anomaly involving the Huntress, which even came with a few moral choices, like do we let the villain live or kill him?
(I know what you’re thinking, but there are no significant consequences to your actions, since this is only a simulation of reality. Sorry, no SWTOR-esque Light/Dark side points, here!)
The end boss in this case was Killer Croc, but Jens explained that that wouldn’t always be the case, specifically mentioning the Scarecrow as another possibility. That adds a nice bit of randomness to the encounter and eases the grind factor.
The group encounters further reinforce the “alternate realities” concept, as players will travel to alternate Gothams and Metropolises to find things very different. For instance, what if Bruce Wayne’s parents had never been murdered? Then Thomas and Martha Wayne would have cleaned up Gotham, making it a virtual crime-free paradise.
No self-loathing villains could stand for that! So it’ll be up to them to see not only that the Waynes meet their grisly fate but to see that young Bruce is brought up by Lex Luthor, who turns the Batman into his corrupt tool.
No self-respecting heroes could stand for that! So it’ll be up to them to “fix” the timeline by making sure young Bruce is never orphaned in the first place… and thus the wheel turns. Similar stories set in Metropolis see Superman as Luthor’s evil pawn or a “good” Lex Luthor buddying up and working alongside the Man of Steel.
Finally, we got a brief peek at the new power set introduced with this DLC: quantum powers. Based around the manipulation of time, space, gravity, and other fundamental forces – with F/X inspired by images of of colliding subatomic particles at CERN – some of the powers warp reality in ways not often seen in video games:
Quantum tunneling is a blink-like power that teleports your character several feet ahead Gravity bomb creates a singularity that pulls enemies toward it A throw power tosses enemies that are behind you in front of you And you can increase the bad guys’ gravity so much that they can’t even move
The expansion is now live on the servers and free for VIP players while $9.99 for all others. I haven’t checked into the game for a while, but this might be enough to get me to take another look – how about you?
By Jason Winter