Jack Emmert isn’t sure Daybreak will publish his next MMO, says DCUO is as big as it was four years ago


In January, Daybreak finally announced the fruits of its “realignment” that we’d been covering since last summer: It was splitting off new substudios for the DC Universe Online, EverQuest, and PlanetSide franchise teams, all still under the Daybreak banner. Now the company’s dropped a Jack Emmert interview on Wccftech, always your first stop for MMORPG news.

Emmert reiterates the claim that the spun-off team he’s heading – that is, Dimensional Ink, which operates DCUO and is developing an unnamed title on the side – maintains “total independence,” in that Daybreak is publishing DCUO while the substudio “controls every aspect of its business, in terms of hiring, in terms of game development.” As with Standing Stone Games, however, the actual ownership status of Dimensional Ink remains completely opaque in spite of this answer. (It’s long been rumored that Daybreak owns some or all of Standing Stone, and we haven’t been given any reason to believe anyone but Daybreak still owns the three new substudios [yet], so “total independence” is a weird way to phrase “not total independence.”)

That said, Emmert does strongly hint that Daybreak might not be the publisher for the other MMO his team is working on, and he won’t rule out the potential for crowdfunding, either: “Whether Daybreak is the publisher or not, we don’t know yet. We want to choose the best partner for the game. What’s going to make that franchise succeed? And when we come to that point where we need investment, we’re going to take a good hard look at all of our opportunities.”

He also dances around the subject of the new MMO quite a bit; even in some of his no-comments, there’s some utility:

  • The game is in development now, but we’re “a few years away from seeing anything live.”
  • He wouldn’t comment on whether it’s a licensed IP; he says “anything is possible” when asked about whether it’s another comic-related title.
  • DI is targeting “platforms of the future” and “gameplay and systems that make better sense for the future” rather than retreading old MMOs. That includes things like cloud streaming and next-gen consoles. Yes, consoles are in, but that’s probably no surprise, given DCUO’s strength there.
  • He name-drops Red Dead Online and Destiny when dodging a question about sandboxes, specifically in regard to instances vs. open world content.
  • He won’t commit to free-to-play, but it seems likely given that he’s a “big believer” in the model.
  • He won’t even ballpark how many people are employed within his team right now, but he says he’s “hiring like mad” in Austin and is targeting fans of his past MMORPGs, which you all already know about since we cover them heavily: DC Universe Online, City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter.
  • DC Universe Online isn’t being abandoned. He wants the game to hit 20 years like EverQuest and says upgrading the engine to UE4 is a “consideration.” That said, he’s cagey about numbers, even after the game’s launch on the Switch in 2019.

“I can tell you that basically the game is as big today as it was when I arrived. Now, whether that means revenue or player count I’m not allowed to share, but I can tell you that we have had an astonishing run the past four years. And like I said, we have not changed the size of our development team one bit.”

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