Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League | “Fallen short” of expectations, says Warner Bros

suicide squad kill the justice league live service
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Weeks after its release, live-service videogame Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League has “fallen short” of Warner Bros’ expectations, one executive has said.

After years in development and multiple delays, Rocksteady’s much-anticipated Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League finally emerged on the 2nd February. A multiplayer action game with a cracking pedigree behind it – Rocksteady being the studio behind the Batman: Arkham series – it cast players as DC Comics’ famous anti-heroes, with Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, King Shark and Harley Quinn available to choose from, while dozens of other familiar faces pop up as NPCs.

Reviews have been middling, however, and the game’s slow sales have been confirmed by Warner Bros Discovery’s chief financial officer, Gunnar Wiedenfels. Talking on an earnings call with shareholders (via IGN), Wiedenfalls admitted that Suicide Squad had “fallen short of our expectations,” and added that it was going to be a “tough year” for the videogame arm of the business.

Things were looking shaky for Suicide Squad for a while, not least because Rocksteady had little experience in developing multiplayer, live-service games of its ilk; its Batman: Arkham games were almost entirely single-player focused.

We saw a similar situation last spring, when Arkane Austin, a respected developer known for the terrific Dishonored games, put out the live-service vampire shooter, Redfall. Reviews for that game were similarly gloomy, such that Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer made the unusual decision to step forward and apologise for “disappointing the Xbox community.”

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League’s critical response hasn’t been as bad as Redfall’s – there’s been praise for its story and writing, and criticism for its repetitive design – but at the time of writing, the number of players delving into the game have been notably low.

Warner Bros have previously been bullish about the live-service sector of the videogame market, where players are coaxed back to a title week after week via a rolling schedule of new missions and updates. But while these sorts of experiences can be hugely lucrative – see Fortnite and Apex Legends as two success stories – they’re also time-consuming to make, expensive to maintain, and vulnerable to the changing whims of players as they’re tempted away by rival titles.

The response to Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League may cause Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav to reconsider his strategy laid out in another earnings call last November: “Our focus is on transforming our biggest franchises from largely console and PC based with three-four year release schedules to include more always-on gameplay through live services, multiplatform and free-to-play extensions, with the goal to have more players spending more time on more platforms,” he said.

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