DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos – Developer Q&A
While Outright Games and PHL Collective both previously worked on DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace, this is the first time (from our knowledge) that both have worked on a game directly featuring the two-legged Super Heroes of the DC Comics universe. What was it like to craft a game based around such major characters such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman?
Nick Madonna, Founder, and Studio Manager at PHL Collective: You’re correct, this isn’t our first game in the DC universe but putting our creative stamp on the Justice League has been a long time coming. We’ve wanted to make a game with these characters for a very long time and when the opportunity presented itself, we were ecstatic. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are cultural icons, and having the chance to work with characters that mean so much to so many of us is an incredibly rewarding opportunity. From our first day putting the pitch together to the last day of production we’ve poured ourselves into the title. Every corner of Justice League: Cosmic Chaos has been crafted with care and respect for the DC universe and its fans.
From the start of the game’s development, what were some of the goals in making DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos a game that would appeal to a broad range of ages and player types? How have you balanced the game to be accessible for younger gamers but still fun for older players?
NM: One of our goals from the beginning was to present the Justice League in a way that is different than what people have typically seen in media over the last few years. We explored a path that was inspired by Saturday Morning Cartoons, Comic Books, and Toys – an undeniably cute, bold, and colorful vision of the Justice League that mixes humor and action. One thing we emphasized throughout development has been our approach to writing, characterization, and backstory. Our writers focused on story and dialog that allows a new generation of DC fans to learn about the Justice League while giving the hardcore fans tons of depth that connects the decades of DC comic book history.
From the gameplay side, we ensured accessibility was always guiding our design decisions. We made sure that regardless of your age or skill level, you can customize the experience to maximize your enjoyment! This was a hard task because at the core of a superhero game is a power fantasy. That fantasy is reliant on mechanics that level up the player and grow their abilities over the course of the game. For older fans who love Open World Action RPGs, they’ll be at home in our game and enjoy the depth hiding under the cute exterior. Younger fans who are new to the genre will be surprised by how easy it is to pick up a controller and start taking down some bad guys.
What should players expect from the gameplay in DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos?
NM: Players can expect a brand-new Open World adventure and story for our DC Super Heroes. While I don’t want to spoil any of the major surprises we have in our game, it’s safe to say that Cosmic Chaos will mix endless hours of action-packed combat and exploration paired with an engaging story that the whole family will enjoy.
What are the basics of the story in DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos?
Brian Gitlin, Lead Designer, and Narrative Director at PHL Collective: The Justice League is visiting Happy Harbor to celebrate the inauguration of its new mayor, their good friend Snapper Carr. While the League is enjoying the celebration, a mysterious figure from the 5th Dimension shows up on the scene, Mr. Mxyzptlk, or Mxy for short. He declares himself the new Mayor of Happy Harbor and reveals his diabolical plan… to annoy Superman! With the snap of his fingers, using his 5th-dimensional power, Mxy brings into existence the villain that originally brought the League members all together, Starro the Conqueror. The chaos that ensues splits the League up, forcing the Trinity to set out to regroup with the others and devise a plan to take down Mxy.
Players will have the chance to step into the boots of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Can you tell us a little about what unique gameplay elements or abilities each brings to the game?
BG: Each Super Hero has a unique playstyle with a set of upgradable abilities that highlight their strengths. Superman uses his raw power to smash enemies into oblivion, Wonder Woman uses her speed and finesse to fight with grace, and Batman brings his vast array of high-tech equipment to level the playing field. These characters are all very powerful on their own, but the true strength of the Justice League is shown when they work together as a team. So, a strong emphasis of our combat is placed on rotating through the three heroes within every fight to inflict the most damage possible.
Two of the major Super-Villains of the game that we know about are Mr. Mxyzptlk and Starro the Conqueror. What can you tell us about both, and what challenges will they offer up players throughout the game?
BG: Mxy as a 5th Dimensional being can bend reality as he pleases which makes the League unable to fight him like they would a traditional villain. He can create things out of thin air with the snap of his fingers. So, along with Starro, Mxy snaps into existence an army of mutant fish monsters to take over Happy Harbor, which the League must put a stop to. Meanwhile, Starro sets out to do the thing he does best, conquers. But he is but a cute little starfish currently so he’s going to need to get a lot stronger to present any real threat to the League.
We know that other Justice League members such as Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Cyborg will be making appearances throughout the game. Can you tell us more about what roles they’ll play?
BG: The Justice League is always stronger together, so the Trinity must locate the other members and work together to take down a threat as large as Mxy. Once you find a member of the League, they will be able to join you in combat as a support character, each with their own unique set of abilities and upgrades!
DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos has a unique visual style (both in gameplay and story cutscenes) compared to other games based on DC Comics’ properties. What were the inspirations and goals behind that visual style?
BG: We set out to create a unique art style that suited the fun, light-hearted story we were telling. We were initially inspired by the Chibi versions of DC Super Heroes such as those seen in the Li’l Leaguers comic books. We were also really influenced by the vast number of incredible DC artists over the years. We sought to combine our favorite elements of those into an art style that would add something new and special to the storied history of the DC universe.
DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos takes place in a town known as Happy Harbor. What can you tell us about Happy Harbor as a selling point for the game, and what kinds of unique locations will it offer as backdrops for the action?
NM: DC fans will recognize Happy Harbor as the town where the Justice League first set up its headquarters. Happy Harbor is rooted in DC history from issue 28 of “The Brave and the Bold” to when Young Justice moved to town. As we worked with DC to flesh out Happy Harbor, we realized there was a lot of room for our imagination to go wild. DC allowed us to open the doors and make our mark on Happy Harbor so it would feel distinct and unlike any of the other major cities that have been represented in other DC Super Hero games. We approached the design like a theme park and created diverse regions with landmarks and callbacks to DC history. We even got to carve out the side of a mountain to create our own Mount Justice!
What are some of the unique elements of DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Chaos that we haven’t talked about in previous questions, or that you’d especially like our readers to know about?
BG: What makes Cosmic Chaos special is the world and the tone we’ve created. The laid-back attitude of heroes combined with our vibrant art style and awesome soundtrack makes Happy Harbor just an enjoyable place to be in. While combat and story are the core of the gameplay, we tried to capture the feeling of being in a relaxing beach town, with the ability to just float around the ocean, drive around town and relax.