DCUO’s SJ Mueller talks Teen Titans: Judas Contract and the future for the DC brand

Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO -- Acquired via Triple Point PR
Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO -- Acquired via Triple Point PR /

DC certainly made waves at SDCC 2018. The same can be said for DCUO, and Creative Director SJ Mueller shares the latest Teen Titans episode to Daybreak Games, the future with Aquaman and more.

SDCC 2018 was all about DC. With trailers like Aquaman and Shazam coming out, fans of the brand stopped in their tracks to keep up with the news. That hype was certainly something DCUO’s Creative Director SJ Mueller found while there, launching Teen Titans: Judas Contract with Daybreak Games and talking about the next episode to come.

Here’s everything Mueller had to share about Comic-Con, making Teen Titans fresh but connected to the old at the same time, and what’s to come in the future.

Hidden Remote: What was SDCC like in the end?

SJ Mueller: Exhausting but very exciting, especially for DC.

HR: Yes, there was a lot of hype about DC online overall.

SJ: Yeah, with trailer drops and lots of excitement around Teen Titans. Exciting for DC.

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HR: And perfect timing with Teen Titans at the movies. I have two girls super excited about seeing it. My daughters are super excited and my six-year-old had a request of a question before I got started. She wants to know who your favorite Teen Titan is.

SJ: Oh my gosh! That’s so hard. I grew up reading Teen Titans. I have an older sister who introduced me to comic books and she was way into Teen Titans in the 80s. Of the cast she would be familiar with, probably Nightwing. I love him. He’s such a good leader. He’s so strong and kind to everybody. Well, at least in my experience.

Teen Titans, SJ Mueller
Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO — Acquired via Triple Point PR /

HR: Sometimes. My daughter was telling me she hopes it’s Raven because that’s her favorite, but she does love Nightwing.

SJ: Everyone adores Raven and there’s so much Raven cosplay these days. She’s really popular.

HR: We were at C2E2 back in April and she wanted photos with every Raven we came across. So, now that I can tell her I’ve asked that question, the Teen Titans have evolved so much over the years. How have you managed to connect to the old but still make it fresh?

SJ: That was one of the main goals for this episode, because we deal with a lot of younger players. We tried very hard to keep that whimsy comradery that you see in the television shows and a lot of the comic book specials but still include those darker themes, like Deathstroke infiltrating them and making them question each other’s loyalties to the team. I think we nailed it. We really did.

It’s really resonated with our players. They’ve called this the best we’ve ever made and that’s coming from all.

HR: And it can’t be easy to connect with every single fan. There’s usually someone who says you’ve missed the mark.

SJ: That is usually the case, but this was one of our main goals.

Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO — Acquired via Triple Point PR
Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO — Acquired via Triple Point PR /

HR: What were the conversations like to nail it?

SJ: There was a little bit of a conversation about Terra and what we do with her, because there’s been so many different versions of her throughout the ages and different levels of maturity that she had. We towed the line on some of the more mature themes and kept it more like primetime TV if you know what I mean.

A lot of the original comics in the 80s were pushing boundaries to make people think about what it would mean to have special powers; what would it mean to be a teenager with these abilities. We wanted to keep that theme but make it age-appropriate for everybody. There were a lot of conversations about that.

HR: Did you have a lot of a mix in the creators to bring it together?

SJ: We are a very collaborative team. I pitched the idea of doing the Judas Contract because for comic book folks it’s the definitive Teen Titans story. They did do an animated feature that was very successful. They’ve kind of done it in the more kid-friendly stuff.

We have an entire team of artists and designers who some of them have kids who love the show. We also just hired a new artist to build the tower and he’s a huge Teen Titans fan. That was his first job when he came on the project and he was like “am I in heaven?” You could tell it was a labor of love. You can go into all the Titan’s rooms and see they’re different. You can go into Beast Boy’s room and then there’s Raven’s room that’s a little more like a sanctuary.

We poured our hearts into it.

HR: There sounds to be a lot of creativity involved in the whole creation.

SJ: Absolutely.

HR: So, you say a lot of your players are younger, but you’ll likely have a lot of parents, too. I know we sit with our girls to make sure they’re watching or playing suitable things. How did you create something that would be entertaining for both kids and adults?

SJ: Oh, in our heart of hearts, the same thing can be entertaining for both. There may be a few jokes that go right over kids’ heads. Everything family friendly is usually like that. We’re geared to slightly older but we do have younger, and then there are people there to guide them.

And we’re an MMO, a massively multiplayer game. A lot of our people will play with their kids. If you play the Playstation game, you can play alongside each other and we have two-player games. Something I definitely wanted to let people know is you don’t have to be super high level. A lot of MMOs are “Come play if you’re level 300.” You don’t have to if you want to play the Teen Titans content. You only have to be level 10, which you can get to in minutes in our game and then you can jump straight into the Teen Titans content.

I encourage anyone who is a fan of Teen Titans to jump in. It’s free to play on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. All it takes is a few minutes to download and you could be playing with the Teen Titans by the end of the day.

Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO — Acquired via Triple Point PR
Photo credit: Daybreak Games/DCUO — Acquired via Triple Point PR /

HR: What has the reaction been like for this at SDCC?

SJ: Overwhelmingly positive for the brand as a whole. Especially when we announced that our next big episode is going to be Atlantis. That just exploded. That news made a splash.

HR: Finally, so, trying to make this modern. There’s so much geek pop culture around. How did you go about modernizing Teen Titans to bring in this new pop culture?

SJ: So, we’ve been fortunate that Teen Titans and Aquaman have both evolved a lot over the last 20-30 years.

HR: Aquaman definitely has.

SJ: For sure. He’s one of those who has always been part of the starting lineup but never the breakout star. He wasn’t the guy running grand-slams and home-runs. We’ve been doing recent content with him, giving him the lead role, and it went over great. I think the world is really ready for Aquaman and Mera to really step up.

Recently, we saw a question: who would win a fight between Wonder Woman and Mera. And I just thought we’re all winners because we actually have these discussions now.

Next. Will the original Teen Titans animated series return for Season 6?. dark

Check out Teen Titans: Judas Contract at DCUO available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC for free now.