Report: Warner Bros. Execs Thought Suicide Squad Would Make A Ton Of Money Despite Development Woes

Report: Warner Bros. Execs Thought Suicide Squad Would Make A Ton Of Money Despite Development Woes

Anyone who played Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League could probably guess that something went terribly wrong during development. Bloomberg now reports that the multiplayer bomb from a studio beloved for its single-player Batman: Arkham games was plagued by several issues leading up to its repeatedly delayed launch.

According to Bloomberg, there wasn’t a single cause of Suicide Squad’s failure. Instead, the Rocksteady Studios project was hurt by an unclear and shifting creative vision, an ill-fated pivot to a completely new genre, and the “perfectionism” of former creative director Sefton Hill, who left the team prior to release to head up a brand new studio that’s reportedly working on a blockbuster for Microsoft.

Staff told Bloomberg that Hill often created a bottleneck during development of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, with people waiting a week or longer for him to sign off on individual elements of the open-world shooter. At one point he apparently had the idea to introduce an in-depth vehicle customisation aspect to the game, balked at by others on the team since it would seemingly undermine Suicide Squad’s emphasis on its anti-heroes’ own individual traversal abilities. The game does still have (very bad) vehicle missions in it, which might be a remnant of that earlier vision.

Perhaps a bigger issue facing Suicide Squad is that it was modeled after games like Destiny without its chief creative having much experience with them. “[Hill] scrapped big chunks of the script and struggled to convey his evolving ideas, they said, confessing that he hadn’t spent much time with competing games such as Destiny,” Bloomberg reports. These setbacks were compounded by increasing tech debt due to short term fixes for a project that some hoped would ship as early as 2020.

So why didn’t anyone pull the plug or try to right the ship? Well, Warner Bros. executives apparently didn’t see anything to be concerned about. According to Bloomberg, they “kept reviewing demonstrations of the game and sending laudatory feedback, praising the graphics and saying they expected Suicide Squad to become a billion-dollar franchise.”

It’s unclear what Rocksteady’s future is now as the rest of the gaming industry suffers mass layoffs and cutbacks. Bloomberg reports that many at the studio are currently helping with a director’s cut of Hogwarts Legacy, one of Warner Bros. best-selling single-player games ever, while Rocksteady’s leadership tries to return to its roots with a pitch for a new single-player project. Whatever comes next, it certainly doesn’t sound like an massive effort to overhaul Suicide Squad is underway or will ever materialize. Despite several more seasons of the game planned, player numbers on Steam are anaemic and Rocksteady has already abandoned the game’s weekly blog updates.

“Now that both Episodes for Season 1 [of Suicide Squad] are in your hands, our developer updates will change from being weekly to releasing them when we have big news to share about future content,” the team wrote in last week’s post. “We hope this will make the release of each new update an exciting event, while keeping you all up to date on all the happening with the game!”

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