While there is at least a little bit of a divide between critics and early players of Rocksteady’s Kill the Justice League, some key metrics are coming out unfavorably for the live service looter shooter.
With review codes not given out until literal launch day, scores are now trickling in where after two dozen reviews, Suicide Squad has a Metascore of 62. And then on Steam, even if user reviews there are very positive, 85% positive in fact, the overall concurrent playercounts are extremely low. It topped out at 13,459 players yesterday, and while I expect it to get past that today, as Sundays are usually the highest in the three day weekend, that is very, very poor for a game this high profile.
To put these numbers in context with other similar looter shooters or superhero games in terms of Metascores:
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – 62
- Marvel’s Avengers – 67
- Anthem – 59
- Outriders – 73
- Gotham Knights – 67
- Marvel Midnight Suns – 83
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – 80
- Destiny 2 – 85
- And of course, the original Arkham Trilogy, 92, 94 and 87 for Asylum, City and Knight, respectively.
A 61 is dismal, there’s no way around it. Especially in the context of the Arkham trilogy being rated so highly before this. It’s true this is a live game with more content to come starting in a month, and continuing a year after that, but you have to review what’s in front of you (disclosure: I gave it a 6.5).
And while it’s true that Steam users are scoring the game quite positively, as of yet that has not translated to playercount. This is a bigger problem than the Metascore unless consoles are wildly higher. For context, more comparison of Steam concurrent peaks:
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League- 13,459
- Marvel’s Avengers – 31,165
- Outriders – 125,143
- Gotham Knights – 24,138
- Marvel Midnight Suns – 15,500
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – 10,989
- Destiny 2 – 316,750
Every game on that list outside of Destiny 2 is considered a relative failure in the industry in the longer scope of their lifespans. And Suicide Squad being that low? Half of what Marvel’s Avengers launched with? After seven years of work by Rockstar and years more content planned? It’s a disaster, there’s no way around it.
What has to happen to turn things around? A few things, if they’re even possible at this point:
- The console playerbase has to be orders of magnitude higher than what we’re seeing on PC here. It will certainly be higher as this is a “for console” game mainly, but it needs to be…dramatically higher.
- If players really are having a good time, they will have to spread that to friends and across the internet to convince people to play and get these numbers up, but rarely do we see the kind of huge surges Suicide Squad would need here.
- Post-launch content has to be so good and so attractive it creates the whole “no, you should check it out now for real” narrative that has helped other “turnaround” games over time. But the game is fighting a certain amount of live service exhaustion at this point in the industry.
I said I was concerned about the future of Rocksteady after I played Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and I stand by that. While it’s certainly not some all-time terrible game, it is both not good enough and not being widely played enough to suggest it can be a successful live service, much less have what would be considered a successful launch. Players need to get on board, and fast, but I fear it’s already too late.
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