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Warner Bros' live service ambitions marred by fumbled Suicide Squad launch

Early access, early problems.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 29, 2024

2 Min Read
Harley, Deadshot, King Shark, and Boomerang in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Image via Rocksteady/WB Games/DC Comics.

At a Glance

  • WB wants to further embrace the live-service game model, but Suicide Squad's launch bugs are putting a wrench in those plans.

Rocksteady's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League comes out on Friday week, but its early access release is already causing problems.

Players who bought the game's deluxe edition got 3-day advance access. But within an hour, Rocksteady took it offline to fix a bug that saw the game's story mode instantly complete itself.

Games offering early access usually cost extra money (Suicide Squad's is $100), and are often a double-edged sword. At worst, this release method can highlight a game's flaws faster than desired.

At time of writing, Rocksteady said it's aiming to get Suicide Squad back online "as soon as possible."

Warner Bros. needs its live-service gamble to pay off

On its own, the game's issues would be a quirk of an online game coming in hot. But Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a WB title, and the company has already said it's leaning into live-service.

Last year, WB Discovery head David Zaslav confirmed WB Games would lean harder on that game model as a monetization method. Multiversus is expected to release this year as another live-service.

His statements came as the genre was openly struggling in 2023. And while Rocksteady has danced around Squad being that type of game, its post-launch model makes clear where it stands.

However Suicide Squad shakes out, WB seems determined to put its faith in ongoing games. A recent Variety report reveals the company wants to "build out" its franchises.

Game of Thrones was listed as an example. Game-wise, the series has primarily thrived with mobile titles like Game of Thrones: Conquest.

That game, said WB global streaming head JB Perrette said, kept the show's momentum going between seasons. And with House of the Dragon, the hope is to make something equally sustainable.

WB's "constantly looking to see" how to its biggest properties. As Perrette notes, games are "always-on," and can help the company achieve its goals.

However, those plans are clashing hard with the industry's current challenges. And with WB's most recent successes being premium titles like Mortal Kombat 1 and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, it probably shouldn't go all-in on live service yet.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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