There was a story circulating this week that the release of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League had sparked resurgent interest in the Arkham series, particular the final game in the trilogy, 2015’s Arkham Knight. That led to a 50% or so spike in players around Suicide Squad’s launch.
Kind of neat! Always good to revisit a classic, and clearly Suicide Squad got some nostalgia cooking for many. However it is…somewhat less neat when now Arkham Knight has actually surpassed Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League in terms of overall number of players. At least at the time I’m writing this.
Last night when I looked the gap was about 1,300 with Suicide Squad ahead. But now Arkham has jumped even more, and at the time of this writing, Suicide Squad has 3,737 players and Arkham Knight has 3,922. Arkham Knight is nine years old. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League launched less than two weeks ago, and is meant to be an ongoing, grindable game once you reach the end.
I do keep harping on the performance of Suicide Squad, where despite decent player scores, the actual numbers appear to be exceedingly poor. I think this is a larger picture, which raises concern not just for Rocksteady’s future live plans for the game, but I would say Rocksteady as a studio, given how much time and money was invested into this specific game. And I would also argue it speaks to the larger idea of giant, AAA investment in live looter type games if something like this can launch after so many years so flat, and have 4% the playercount of Helldivers 2 less than two weeks after launch.
The caveats here are that Arkham Knight is cheaper, $20 to Suicide Squad’s $70, and that there are no doubt many more Suicide Squad players on console than Steam. But there is no real way to spin this, and I think this generates serious questions about longer term support of the game and Rocksteady’s future as a studio, whether that’s continued support like they had planned, or if WB will trust them with a budget this big again. And again, I do feel like we are going to see a dramatic shift away from at least large-scale, PvE based live games like this.
I was waiting to see if this new weekend would bring a surge of Suicide Squad players after actually pretty positive player word of mouth, but that does not appear to be happening. Friday night’s peak was 3,800 players. Today and tomorrow will be higher, but still. This is dire, there’s no way around it.
You know, I actually do kind of want to play the Arkham games again now.
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