I have been attempting to grind out a good chunk of the endgame for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to give it a fair shot as a live service, but the current loop is starting to run a bit dry, based around repeating three missions an endless amount of times to farm relevant gear and increase mastery rank.
There is definitely a spark of something here, and even if critics (including myself) weren’t vibing with the base game and early endgame, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has attracted some positive attention from players, at least going by Xbox, PlayStation and Steam reviews. But now we head into a “make or break” phase for a live service game, post-launch support.
What I am hoping is that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has learned at least one thing from its dead rivals, that if you lay out a roadmap, you have to hit those dates and release that content without delays.
Both Avengers and Anthem ran into this problem like a brick wall. After launch, Anthem had a month-long roadmap where it missed almost every promise on it. Avengers had big plans for churning out new heroes fast that were massively delayed. Both games had to spend loads of time fixing the game itself, bugs, balance, etc, and by that point, most players had moved on.
Suicide Squad, for its other flaws, is not launching broken. Sure, there are bugs here and there, but there is a level of overall polish in terms of at least its technical aspects that is well above what we saw from launch-window Anthem and Avengers. On top of that, the game doesn’t really have any wild balance issues or massive missing endgame features as things like gear customization, loadouts and a paragon system are already built-in. Sure, maybe fire and Bane sets are a little too strong compared to electric and freeze, and late game Mastery scaling for enemy health gets too high, but these are relatively minor issues in the grand scheme of things. Nothing is a five alarm fire here, and the biggest problem the game has is a lack of diverse content outside the rotating, same-y missions.
But that’s where the next step comes in. The end of the game itself plugs the first major update for the game, which will bring a new version of Joker to the team and include new missions and storylines. This is supposed to arrive in just a few weeks in March, and there are no indications that there will be any sort of delay, and that it will miss that mark, based on how launch is going. Then after that, a supposedly regular cadence of new characters and content for at least the next year.
Consistency is everything in games like this. Destiny, the most successful live service in this genre, has been generally very good about hitting its content roadmaps the last few years especially. Expansions get delayed, perhaps, but seasons, in general come around like clockwork. You know what’s coming and when.
If Suicide Squad can hit that cadence and not flounder around with fixes and delays for promised content, that will already put it several steps above the failures of Anthem and Avengers. And while a game like Outriders wasn’t “live,” it was still in the shooter genre and had one of the most technically disastrous launches I’ve ever seen. Suicide Squad has simply not had any issues anywhere close to that.
This, of course, isn’t the only key to success. If Suicide Squad does not build up the requisite mass of players, none of this will matter, as it will not be viable to support it with too few people playing and spending (and seasons are free, only selling cosmetics). And I bet WB has a pretty low tolerance for that, given recent events. We don’t know precisely how Suicide Squad is doing in terms of console playercount, but its Steam numbers are dismally low. Half of Avengers’ peak, so console needs to be much, much better.
I am not at all confident in saying this is going to work. But I do think Suicide Squad is poised to at least release its post-launch content when it says it’s going to, which is better than 90% of live services these days.
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