Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is Probably Finished

Disappointing sales performance, mixed reviews, and player counts in the hundreds paint a grim future for the looter shooter.

Posted By | On 23rd, May. 2024

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is Probably Finished

Remember when Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first announced in 2020? How innocent we were back then? A co-op shooter (totally playable solo) from Rocksteady Studios wasn’t exactly top-most on most Batman Arkham fans’ lists. However, the studio’s pedigree spoke for itself, and there was hope it could offer a compelling experience.

Fast-forward to 2024, and it’s not doing so hot. Despite topping UK sales charts in its first week, Warner Bros. Discovery said it had “fallen short of our expectations” just a few weeks later. You could argue that they were too ambitious to begin (with the expectations, I mean) and that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was a fine enough release on its own. That is if you ignore the mixed reviews, the server problems, the story complaints, the lackluster end-game, etc.

However, earlier this month, WB Discovery revealed that its earnings was impacted by a whopping $200 million for the quarter ending March 31st, 2024. Though Hogwarts Legacy was released the year prior and became a massive success, thus making it difficult for this year’s quarter to measure up, the company specifically called out Suicide Squad’s disappointing performance as the other reason.

Remember that the latter is a live-service game and thus earns additional revenue through its battle passes and microtransactions. You have to wonder just how much it’s making, especially since Rocksteady continues to release new content, work on bug fixes, and, of course, maintain servers because offline mode still isn’t available.

As bad as all of this is, there could have been some value to Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League if it had a decent player base. If it can’t attract prolonged retention from casual players, then maybe the hardcore who indulge in live-service looter shooters (because the market totally isn’t saturated with the same). Unfortunately, it doesn’t. At launch, its concurrent player count on PC via Steam peaked at 13,459, slightly higher than the demo for Manor Lords, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Firefall. Its position on SteamDB’s all-time concurrent player list? 871st.

Naturally, it gets worse as the number of players has plummeted rapidly since launch. It peaked at 331 concurrent players recently, placing it at 1342nd on the charts. Don’t even bother comparing this to Destiny 2, which recently peaked at 109,846 players, or Diablo 4, with its 24,832 players in the past 24 hours.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League_03

One should actually compare it to the likes of Tom Clancy’s The Division 1 and 2. The former has stopped receiving updates, while the majority of the player base for the latter is on Ubisoft Connect (much like Diablo 4’s PC player base being on Battle.net). Nevertheless, The Division peaked at 663 players, while its sequel hit 1,775 on Steam in the past day. Impressive numbers? Not really, but they’re both older and still higher than Suicide Squad.

Utterly pathetic as it sounds, this is not the lowest that its numbers have dropped. That would be on May 17th, when it averaged 121 players. Its player numbers were below 200 for two weeks before it inexplicably picked up again.

Of course, some would argue it’s unfair to base its success on the Steam numbers alone. Though concrete numbers aren’t available for Xbox and PlayStation, the latest gameplay charts from GameInsights – helpfully collated by TrueAchievements and which examines data from over 2.4 million active accounts on Xbox – reveal that Suicide Squad is nowhere in the top 40. Diablo 4 and Immortals of Aveum are there, the former receiving its hefty loot rework to chart in 11th and the latter positioned at 30th place thanks to its recent addition to Game Pass.

Considering this is after the release of Episode 1 of Season of the Joker and Episode 2 is on the horizon, it’s a wonder that Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t pulled the plug already. Leaker Miller Ross, who leaked a fair amount of the game before its launch, was told by sources that Season 5 could be the title’s last. No spoilers, but it’s allegedly coming next year.

suicide squad kill the justice league joker

The thought of this mess somehow persevering until then with such a meager player base sounds impossible, and there’s plenty of blame to go around as to why the game ended up like this. The end-game at launch was barren to the point of absurdity – for crying out loud, one of the missions you could unlock was a rematch against the final boss, who was essentially a carbon copy of the game’s first boss battle. As terrible as that did to retain players, Rocksteady could have delivered something fresh with Season of the Joker.

Instead, it offered a new grind to unlock the new playable character it had been hyping up (though you could also pay for instant access because, of course, you could). Calling the content “new” is a stretch, actually – the Killing Time missions were little more than slaying a set number of enemies in the Elseworlds and then extracting. Wash, rinse, repeat for a mind-numbing experience.

Even the “Strongholds” were little more than existing missions in the base game – just reskinned to match the season. What awaited players at the very end of this grind? Why, another boss fight that was a carbon copy of an existing one from the base game? “Has anyone ever told you the definition of insanity?” and all that jazz?

While Suicide Squad had 3,042 players show up on Steam for the launch of its new season, its utter mediocrity caused that to drop to a peak of 866 in just a week. The first impressions are usually the last, but Rocksteady had the chance to show something beyond that with Season of the Joker. A potential future for this problematic live-service shooter. It failed in that regard and essentially set a precedent for what players could expect from future seasons. Heck, this season isn’t even over yet – Episode 2 is supposed to go live later this month. How much do you want to bet that the spike in players is even lower?

suicide squad- kill the justice league

As much as some may take pleasure in the game’s failure, the fact that there’s almost no hope for redemption is alarming. This is a year where major studios that delivered critically acclaimed titles (like Tango Gameworks with Hi-Fi Rush) and disappointing releases (Arkane Austin with Redfall) alike have been shuttered. Warner Bros. Discovery could pull the plug on Suicide Squad, but it may even opt for layoffs at Rocksteady to save further costs or even close the studio entirely.

It’s a shame because it’s the parent company pushing for more live-service titles above all else. Even if there’s enough backlash over the game shutting down, never mind closing Rocksteady, it could adopt the same games-as-a-service model for the next Hogwarts Legacy and rake in millions. Sadly, it’s all about the bottom line, and developers have to sink or swim. Even if Suicide Squad somehow improves in the coming months, its fate is more or less sealed based on the reports about Season 5. The developers having to continue working on this, even as it fails to attract new players and they may inevitably face layoffs, sounds like a horrible proposition.

A part of me wants to go back to 2020 and still have some hope for Suicide Squad. Expecting it could be a worthy title, maybe one that won’t be a vapid looter shooter with extensive monetization. However, there’s presently nothing to do but wait for its inevitable demise.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


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