Many doubts existed regarding Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and its live-service components. However, we now have a definite confirmation the game will have a battle pass.
We all saw it coming, but now it’s definitive.
Players tend to worry whenever they hear their favorite developer is working on a live service project (and with good reason). These types of games are well-known for monetizing every little aspect such as cosmetics, weapons, and even missions. That allows for greater profits while minimizing development costs since games can be launched in an incomplete state with the promise of more content to be added in the future. Due to this, many feared Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League would be a live-service game, and it’s now all but confirmed.
Rocksteady’s upcoming project is available for pre-order, and that means we have more information about its different versions. The Standard Edition is… well, pretty standard in terms of the bonuses players can expect from a AAA game. Classic Outfits will be unlocked for every member of the squad if players pre-order the game on any platform, and Rogue Outfits are also available exclusively for PS5 consoles.
The Digital Deluxe edition is where things get… a little bit worrying. Aside from the Classic and Rogue Outfits, players can also expect Justice League Outfits, three Black Mask weapons, Squad Gold weapon dolls, 72-hour early access, and… one battle pass token.
One thing that’s important to notice is the clarification note at the bottom of the image:
"Battle Pass Token redeemable for Premium Battle Pass access (Seasons 1-4 battle passes, subject to availability). One Battle Pass available per season. WB Games may modify or discontinue online services with reasonable notice at any time."
The concept of a live service game isn’t inherently bad. Years of support for a game players fell in love with? Sounds awesome! However, in practice, things tend to go a little bit differently. There are many examples of live service games gone wrong, including Babylon’s Fall, Anthem, Fallout 76, Halo: Infinite, and, of course, Marvel’s Avengers. So let’s talk about the latter.
Why discontinuing support at any time is a bad thing
Marvel’s Avengers appears to be pretty similar to what Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is shaping up to be. A game with multiple main characters that are supposed to play very differently from each other, filled with microtransactions, co-op gameplay, and a developer that promised to release a lot of post-launch content for free.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and most purchasable content in Marvel’s Avengers was unlocked for free for a few days before Square Enix ended support for the game. While giving everything away during the game’s dying breath might be seen as a good deed, it was also unfair for players who previously used real money to buy cosmetics. That’s why Warner Brothers warning regarding discontinuing services at any time for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is something to be wary of.
Anything you purchase in the game to use for online co-op can either be terminated or given for free if Warner decides to pull the plug on Rocksteady’s project. With that in mind a question has to be asked: Is it worth using real money for something that has no guarantee of lasting?
Repeating Marvel’s Avengers’ mistakes
There are a few reasons why Marvel’s Avengers failed. The game launched with an epic yet insanely short campaign, there wasn’t too much to do in co-op gameplay but replay the same missions (which became repetitive way too quickly), and the playable characters weren’t different enough from each other.
From what we’ve seen, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League could also have characters that play pretty similar to each other. Let’s look at Deadshot and Captain Boomerang as an example. Even if the Flash’s nemesis is popular for using boomerangs as his name implies, the game will see him use SMGs and sniper rifles as his main weapons, just like Deadshot.
The problem with the lack of gameplay variety is that it can result in repetitive missions, which was one of the biggest problems in Marvel’s Avengers. As for the campaign, we don’t know how short it’ll be as of the time of writing this. What we do know is that we’ve seen mostly the same missions in trailers and deep dives of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. That could be a way to avoid spoilers, but it could also be seen as a sign that there aren’t many different missions for the marketing team to display.
Finally, Rocksteady already confirmed more characters and missions will be added post-launch. That’s far from an indication we’ll get an “incomplete” game, but it doesn’t sound promising either.
Why are live-service games something to be wary of
AAA video games aren’t necessarily cheap. If players pay seventy dollars for one, they expect to get a complete and cohesive experience from beginning to end. But if developers add “features” such as battle passes (just like in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League) or a store in which you have to use real money, it means there will most likely be content hidden behind a paywall. In those cases, if you truly wanted to experience everything the game has to offer, you’d have to pay more than seventy dollars to do so, which no one is eager to do.
Besides, if developers really want to expand on their projects, they can easily do so with DLCs. Batman: Arkham Knight is the perfect example of a game that features a complete narrative for players to unveil with an optional DLC that came after to enhance what was already there. If you didn’t get to play that extra content, it didn’t matter. You still have a definite ending without the DLC. That’s why it seems strange for Rocksteady to go from creating a regular (and pretty epic) game with Batman: Arkham Knight to using live service components in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Announcing a live-service project that will have extra content added shortly, instead of creating a base game with DLC, is often seen as an indication that the game will be launched in an incomplete state or with very little to do. Most of the time developers hope their launch is accompanied by lots of sales to fund their work on whatever content is missing. However, that usually never comes to be (just like Captain Marvel never appeared in Marvel’s Avengers even though she was being worked on).
Players can determine whether a project was made out of love or just for the sake of winning money, and if they feel it is for the second reason then it never ends well. Let’s just hope that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is truly the result of passionate developers and not corporate greed.