If you happen to live in Canada or just know how to make the App Store think you do, you’ve seen your share of mobile games in soft launch. DC Legends is currently one of those games.
Many times, titles don’t change much from the way they’re presented north of the border, as companies are simply looking to tighten up a few things before they unleash their creations on the US. In the case of DC Legends, that would have been unfortunate, because the build that had been live in Canada prior to a few days ago was a bare bones tactical RPG similar to Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes but without its charm or polish.
Fortunately, when Gamezebo met with the game’s design director Sean Dugan at New York Comic Con, he wasn’t kidding when he said the game would look a lot different before it launched. In fact it proved to be true before we even left the Big Apple, with a big update pushing through in Canada that changed everything from the menu screen (aboard the Justice League Watchtower) to the way abilities work to how PvP functions.
We misuse the term “game-changer” a lot these days, but this is one instance where it applies.
Those improvements sit atop what was already perhaps the biggest strength DC Legends had going for it, which is that it was telling an epic story with iconic DC Comics characters. Dugan says that is still the goal, and that the game will present a big event from the comics in a brand new light — no pun intended.
“Essentially you start on Earth, and the Earth is being overrun by Manhunters,” he said. “You have to journey to Oa to find out what’s going on, and you discover that Oa has been overrun by necromantic forces, and Nekron is behind this stuff. The Blackest Night comic book series, we’re kind of doing a different take on it. We’re taking that storyline and doing our version of it.”
With the narrative nailed down, that allowed the team to focus on the nuts and bolts of gameplay. As evidenced by the sweeping changes already evident in the game, the developers learned a lot, including a few things that surprised them.
“In a way, everything is a surprise to some degree,” Dugan said. “One of the things that’s happened in the game business over the last few years is that we can measure everything a lot more closely. It used to be that you make a game and you just kind of throw it out there and hope for the best. These days, because everything is live and connected, we can measure things.
“Probably the biggest surprise we got that made us rethink a lot of things is just how we present the game, the UI. We realized a lot of people weren’t totally understanding, ‘hey, all these characters, I’ve unlocked a few, but I have more available.’ They forget about it, so you have to remind them that your Green Lantern is waiting for you.”
The PvP system promises to be a lot more engrossing as well. Even though it’s not live PvP — you do battle against the “wraiths” of teams of heroes and villains assembled by other players — there’s a lot more information available to you while battling your way up through various leagues.
For yours truly, the most welcome improvement made to date was changing the order in which characters act during battles. Previously, each character simply acted in turn down the line while alternating sides, so it was one of yours, one of your opponents, etc. Now speed matters, as it should — the Flash should always get to attack first, darn it.
All told, DC Legends is shaping up to be a lot more worthy of your time and attention that it may have first appeared if you checked it out early in soft launch. It’s still there on the Canadian App Store if you want to see what’s new, but it’s on its way to a worldwide release on iOS and Android in November, and you can pre-register now to unlock Striker Wonder Woman at launch by heading to its official site.