Suicide Squad failed for all the reasons you could have guessed it failed, report says

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A new report in Bloomberg describes the development of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League and the issues which may have led to Rocksteady’s expensive live service game flopping at launch. Staff, talking under condition of anonymity, described corporate owners who pushed for a multiplayer game from the studio known for singleplayer experiences, as well as indecisive leadership and a culture of “toxic positivity”.

In this instance, “toxic positivity” refers to the seemingly common practice of studio leadership reassuring staff that Suicide Squad “would eventually coalesce at the last minute, just as the Arkham games had.” (I suppose they all forgot the PC port of Arkham Knight was so bad they had to offer full refunds. Not a lot of coalescing there.)

Otherwise the story of Suicide Squad’s development hits several familiar notes. Warner Bros. executives travelled to London to convince Rocksteady that Suicide Squad should be a live service game, in keeping with prevailing industry trends. Studio co-founder Sefton Hill (who departed the studio in 2022 and declined to comment) seemingly struggled to communicate his changing vision for the game, and allegedly confessed “that he hadn’t spent much time with competing games such as Destiny.” Nine months were lost to prototyping “an elaborate system” of customisable vehicles that was ultimately scrapped, because the suppervillain protagonists already had innate methods of travel.

Although Warner Bros. apparently lost $200 million (around £156 million) in developing Suicide Squad, the silver lining is that there have seemingly been no layoffs at the studio since. Rocksteady are now assisting with the development of a “director’s cut” version of Hogwarts Legacy, while “according to people familiar, the studio leaders are looking to pitch a new single-player game, which would return Rocksteady to its roots.”

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Hopefully such a singleplayer game comes to pass. Our own Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League review called it “a perfectly average open world action game that plops out when a finance department locks a brilliant developer in a room and refuses to let them see sunlight for nine years.”

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