That intergalactic jerk Braniac has been bottling the cities in DC Universe Online and stealing Earth's citizens for too long. His attempted take-over for Earth has been the primary storyline in DC Universe Online for the past year, since the game's launch in January 2011. A year and a few raids later, we're finally going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Mr. smarty-pants when the next content pack takes us to Wonder Woman's native island of Themyscira. We've got the exclusive scoop on what players will find there, and where DCUO is headed after its big, bad villain is down for the count.
PCG: Those hydras and architecture seem to indicate that we may be fighting on Wonder Woman's Themiscyra. Is that where this screen is taken? If so, is it a whole new open-world zone, or just an Alert?
Jens Andersen, Creative Director: Yes, this is on Paradise Island, otherwise known as Themyscira. The situation is so dire they're allowing men on the island to defend it, which is unheard of for the most part. The Gates of Tartarus have long been guarded by the Amazons. Suddenly they are taken by surprise as Brainiac emerges from the gates of Tartarus, having stolen the power he sought inside, and is now assaulting Themyscira from within with a surprise attack. It's a bad situation and the Amazons are looking for help from just about anywhere to aid the, in stopping Brainaic's Avator of Magic from escaping the Island.
PC Gamer: Braniac is fighting us directly? I always figured he was more of a “sit back and let minions take you out” sort of bad guy. What is it that finally pushes him to face us personally?
Andersen: As a comic-book cut scene explains in-game, this was actually Brainiac's final push, but Future Lex Luthor knew it was coming—and he hid the truth from everyone, even his past self. So, as history has unfolded, it's only now that we realize we've done little to divert Brainiac's plans. Future Luthor wanted the confrontation to play out as it did in his timeline, so HE could seize victory from Brainiac at the last moment. Thankfully, Future Batman doesn't break his promise that he will be "coming for Luthor," and he shows up at the end to save our bacon… or does he? It's a big cliffhanger to enjoy as we launch a new storyline surrounding these two mysterious iconics from an alternate future.
PCG: Braniac seems to be wielding some sort of demonic staff. Are those tentacles behind him coming from the staff, or is that his other arm doing something crazy?
Andersen: That's the Avatar of Magic. Throughout the fight, he will go through many different phases thanks to the power he obtained in Tartarus—the Flame of Change. It allows him to create Chimeric minions and alter his own form as he sees fit. Those are the Horns of the Bull he has on in the screenshot, and it lets him do some powerful charges.
PCG: It also looks like we might have just fallen in through that hole in the dome above. Will the fight feature changing terrain like that?
Andersen: The hole above is not where the players enter from, they can however look down into it from behind a portcullis at the start of the raid. The whole map makes a big loop around itself and you often get glimpses of what's coming next along with some fantastic vistas.
PCG: Braniac's been the ultimate bad guy of the entire game up until this point, is it time for players to take him out for good? It almost feels too soon for us to be taking him down. Is this the final act in the story arc that started at launch?
Andersen: Well, never count a comic book character out [laughter]. But yes, this is Brainaic's final push, but it will be an ongoing one as he tries to recover from the player's resistance and future Luthor's manipulation of everyone, including Brainiac. The presence of the new heroes and villains, our players, is what made us able to defeat Brainaic so soon in this timeline. The story will then move into a new phase, but Brainiac's actions will always have a lasting effect on DC Universe Online as he gave birth to the exo-bytes which created many of the new heroes and villains our players created in the game.
PCG: Will defeating him affect the bottled buildings around the game world?
Andersen: Once Brainiac's initial plans are thwarted in the raid, he is hamstrung, but not completely defeated. He will continue to try and regain control of the situation to continue his plan to assimilate the multiverse. Now the pressure is on for him to do that before Future Luthor takes his place. He's relentless after all. So the bottles and the actions of the Union around them will always be something players can take part in—an epic battle to save the Earth.
PCG: Will another mega-villain rise up to threaten the world, or will it go back to a semi-normal state? If so, is the idea to rotate the game world through various crises over time, such as No Man's Land Gotham? Roughly one year for every major crisis?
Andersen: We want to provide a many-colored tapestry for our players. Focusing on one storyline isn't needed with the pace at which we release content. So players can look forward to the next chapter in this story, resolutions to some of our launch stories, as well as totally new things in the years to come.