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Suicide Squad Boss Downplays Live-Service Elements Of Obviously Live-Service Game

In a new interview, Darius Sadeghian, studio product director at Rocksteady, danced around the obvious fact that Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is an online live-service game, instead claiming it’s “still full of the DNA that infuses the Batman: Arkham series” and adding that no “label” fits it.

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Since the moment Rocksteady and WB Games announced Suicide Squad in 2020, fans have been suspicious of the co-op, open-world shooter starring famous DC supervillains like Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang. Many wanted another Batman: Arkham game and this wasn’t that. Things only got worse as players learned more about the game’s live-service elements including a battle pass, emotes, seasons, and an always-online requirement. That last one got so much pushback that Rocksteady is planning to patch in an offline mode sometime after launch. But that bit of goodwill hasn’t been enough to convince players that the oft-delayed Suicide Squad--originally planned for 2022—isn’t a live-service game, even as Rocksteady keeps (weirdly) pretending otherwise.

As reported by GamesRadar, Sadeghian spoke to Play Magazine about Suicide Squad and how the team at Rocksteady, who previously worked on the Arkham trilogy, didn’t set out to make a game in a “particular genre” but wanted to make a four-player co-op adventure.

“For us, it wasn’t so much about making a game in any particular genre,” Sadeghian told Play Magazine. “Rather, the focus is on creating a sense of flow and trinity between all our gameplay systems. That’s reflected in the way the traversal, melee, and shooter elements all blend together when you’re playing.”

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The director further explained that Rocksteady wanted to create a “community” around the game and let each player “feel like they’re part of the Suicide Squad” and that larger “global” community. Sadeghain claimed that this has been a key part of the development of Suicide Squad and that the co-op shooter has been built “from the ground up” as an “experience that can be shared with friends.” This includes a bunch of online features like leaderboards, taunts, and emotes.

The Rocksteady director also told Play Magazine that Suicide Squad players will get content added post-launch, including seasonal battle passes, new missions, characters, locations, gear, costumes, and “more.” All of this content will be free to unlock.

Okay, so this Suicide Squad game is totally a live-service thing…

Taking a step back, it’s pretty obvious that Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad is a live-service video game. I don’t think that’s controversial to suggest. Yet, once again, Rocksteady seems unwilling to concede that, yes, they are making an online live-service video game with seasons and multiplayer gameplay. During the interview, Play Magazine noted that Sadeghian refused to refer to the upcoming co-op shooter as a live-service game.

“We don’t really think of our game as fitting with any particular label,” said Sadeghian. “[Suicide Squad is] still full of the DNA that infuses the Batman: Arkham series.” We shall see.

So why is Rocksteady adamant about not calling Suicide Squad a live-service game? Likely because that term has become linked to a string of failed games, flops, angry fan reactions, and negative reviews within the last several years, after companies worldwide began adopting the approach in tons of games, even shoehorning it in where it doesn’t belong. 

Even if Rocksteady won’t say its new game is live-service, WB is happy to confirm it has plans to make more of these games, regardless of how fans feel.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League launches February 2, though its publisher is holding the game hostage for a few days unless you pay extra to play early on January 30.

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