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New Daybreak Austin CEO Jack Emmert Talks DCUO

William Murphy Posted:
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Not long ago, the announcement that Jack Emmert had been made the Daybreak Game Company Austin CEO came as a surprise to many. We caught up with Jack to find out his plans for Daybreak Austin and for DC Universe Online. See what he had to say.

MMORPG: Hey Jack! First, congrats on the new gig. As a big comics nerd, you’ve got to be thrilled to be working on DCUO. What are some of your first goals when joining Daybreak Austin?

Jack Emmert: First, I needed to learn the ins and outs of DCUO from the player perspective. So, I picked up my old character and immediately dove into the end game. There had been SO much great content added since I last played – I was immediately blown away.

Second, I wanted to reach out to the current DCUO community and give them a forum to ask questions. I had a Q&A on the forums where we elicited questions and I answered what I could. I plan on doing similar Q&As on the forums in the future.

Lastly, I wanted to get to know the team. I’ve been holding individual meetings with every person since I’ve been hired. There’s a bunch of people, so it’s taking me a while! But I think it’s vital that I understand what everyone here at the Austin office thinks about the studio and the game.

MMORPG: Can you give us a brief (as you can) overview of what the next 6 months of so holds for DC Universe Online?

JE: Coming up, we’ve got the amazing Summer of Wonder – celebrating 75 years of Wonder Woman. We’re providing players with a unique Wonder Woman in-game emblem – which also provides a great XP boost! Plus, we are opening up all of our DLC content for a full month (starting July 20) for all players to enjoy, no matter their Daybreak Membership or purchase status. We’ve also got Episode 26 – featuring Wayne Manor and the bottle city of Kandor – releasing shortly, and the much anticipated conclusion to the Amazon Fury storyline coming at a later date.

There are a few other features that will find their way into the game too, but we are not quite ready to announce them yet.

MMORPG: The TV shows of DC are crushing it, the movies are ramping up – how closely aligned with DC and WB will you be when it comes to content that capitalizes on the major TV and film, even the comics events?

JE: We love being a part of the greater DC Universe, and we like to try reflecting what’s going on in the TV and films. For example, coming soon, we’ve got an amazing PvP map of the Suicide Squad’s headquarters and a cool set of Deadshot inspired gear to go along with it.

My goal is to use the TV and films as inspirations of where to go with the DCUO. Our players can definitely expect to see more!

When I regularly played DCUO, one of the things that kept me from sticking with the game was how at level 30, the entire experience revolved around the token and gear grind. It’s kind of stayed that way over the years, but in Ted’s letter you all express a desire to rework progression. What’s changing and why?

While we’re not quite ready to talk about anything yet, I think it’s vital that we add several different components to progression. Of course, gear is also a huge part of any MMO end game, but there should be other things to achieve above and beyond that.

MMORPG: You’ve decided to move back to larger quarterly updates for the game. What prompted this decision?

JE: We made this decision largely because of the community. Players were feeling rushed with monthly Episodes and wanted to bask in their achievements longer – they wanted to have that thematic experience again. We plan on keeping some of the learnings from monthly Episodes, such as having multiple storylines per Episode and Elite versions of content. 

MMORPG: Can you talk about Water as a power set, how it’s coming along?

JE: I was just in a meeting reviewing some of the Water power effects and left utterly impressed. Now, I can’t say exactly when it’s releasing, but I absolutely promise we are working hard on it and we will be getting it out the door. After all, I’m waiting to create the Xebel character I’ve been wanting (props to anyone who gets that comic reference).

MMORPG: Lastly, what are Open Episodes all about?

JE: First, we wanted to help commemorate Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary with the Summer of Wonder. Second, we just wanted players to have a chance to try out this fantastic content. 

In case you missed the mid-year development update, here is how Open Episodes will work: Members and players that own the content will see no change and retain the standard loot lockout timers. Players that do not own the content will have access to all of the Episodes but will see extended loot lockout timers: 1 day for Solos, 3 days for Duos, 7 days for Alerts, and 14 days for Raids.

MMORPG: Thanks for your time, Jack. One more thing – is there any way you can tell us about the top secret projects at Daybreak Austin (I had to ask….)?

JE: One of the reasons that I joined Daybreak was because it was the godfather of the MMO industry. EverQuest helped popularize the MMO genre beyond the niche it had been in, and Daybreak is constantly striving to stretch the boundaries of the MMO – from the console-centric DCUO, to the wide open PvP shooter PlanetSide 2. Obviously, I can’t comment on anything in particular, but I’m extremely thrilled at what’s going on behind-closed-doors and can’t wait to see what the coming years bring. 


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.