Nearly two years ago, Warner Bros. revealed that Wonder Woman would finally get to star in her own solo game, courtesy of developer Monolith Productions. Since then, there’s been no mention of the title, and the only real piece of information about it would be that it’s a single-player open-world game (groundbreaking, right?) and employ the procedurally generated Nemesis system of Monolith’s Middle-earth: Shadow series.
But a recent job posting on Monolith’s website called for a lead software engineer with previous experience in live-service games: titles like Fortnite or Destiny 2 where the game doesn’t end. Instead, the developers support it for years (or months) with new, often seasonal content and feature microtransactions. While it’s often employed in multiplayer games like those mentioned above, there’ve some single-player games that run on a similar model—namely, modern Assassin’s Creed games like Odyssey and Valhalla. Many took the posting to mean Wonder Woman would be a live-service game, but WB Games later told IGN the title was “not being designed” as such.
Why does this matter? Earlier in the month, WB Discovery head David Zaslav said the company was aiming to turn its biggest franchise into live-service titles. NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat and Injustice franchises have functioned as such for years, to the frustration of those who play them. The live-service trend has hit a hard downturn this year, with numerous online games having their support ended and many getting delisted, and there’s been a larger distaste for them overall. But WB thinks there’s still opportunity to be had in this market: 2022’s Gotham Knights was a co-op game with live service elements, and is Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is looking like another of those as.
Funnily enough, Rocksteady put out a developer video for Squad earlier this week. For the most part, it was focused on highlighting the four members of the antihero team—Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang—and how they’re meant to do as the title says when the League is controlled by an invading Brainiac. The game’s had a rough 2023; it was originally meant to come out this past spring, but its appearances at online showcases were widely derided due to the appearance of live-service staples like gear with slight number and status effect differences, an in-game store, and so on. For a studio best known for the single-player offerings of the Batman: Arkham games, which Squad is said to be a sequel to, this can’t help but feel like a far cry from the studio’s wheelhouse. And it doesn’t help this game contains the final Batman performance from the late Kevin Conroy, whose passing had its one-year anniversary just last week—so if and when WB delists the game, Conroy’s performance goes with it, preserved only by YouTube uploads.
Rocksteady delayed Suicide Squad back in April, but the developer diary indicates the game remains a live service. One of the developers mentions the studio aims to support the game for years to come, and its deluxe edition features a token for the in-game battle pass. All this puts the Wonder Woman news in a different light, and whatever that game ends up being beyond the basics, it’ll surely be talked about in relation to Suicide Squad or other superhero games waiting in the wings.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League comes to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on February 2, 2024.
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