Suicide Squad left a $200 million hole in WBD’s video game division

2024-06-06 13:23

Tech


A screnshoot from Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Image: Warner Bros. Games

Warner Bros. Discovery took a $200 million hit after the launch of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the troubled looter shooter released in February — and now we have a sense of what went wrong. A new report from Bloomberg details some of the studio’s struggles behind the scenes, including inexperience with the multiplayer genre and a “constantly changing vision.”

Rocksteady, the UK-based studio owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, was tasked with developing a Suicide Squad game in 2016. At this time, new Rocksteady employees were reportedly unaware that the studio was developing a multiplayer game, as Rocksteady is known for its single-player action-adventure games like Batman: Arkham Knight. This caused many employees to leave, Bloomberg reports.

The game’s development didn’t go smoothly. Rocksteady’s leaders kept changing their ideas for the game, turning their focus from melee combat to heavy gunplay, Bloomberg reports. The studio struggled with making its battles, levels, and bosses feel less repetitive — one of the biggest issues for live-service titles, where players are asked to retread large parts of the game. The studio also wasn’t accustomed to the level of complexity required to develop such a massive map and the four playable characters, according to Bloomberg.

Rocksteady co-founders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker left the studio in 2022 to start a new endeavor, with continued setbacks like this pushing the game’s release date until this year. Warner Bros. Discovery revealed the game’s $200 million loss during the company’s earnings call in May, with CEO David Zaslav calling its release “disappointing.”

Financial pressure in the gaming industry only continues to mount as studios contend with layoffs affecting thousands of workers. Some major studios have turned to live-service games, like Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, in an attempt to strike a constant source of revenue. But in Warner Bros. Discovery’s case, this backfired. According to Bloomberg, Rocksteady has now turned its attention to a director’s cut version of Hogwarts Legacy and may even start working on another single-player game.


Source: https://www.theverge.com/2024/6/6/24172905/suicide-squad-kill-justice-league-200-million-loss-wbd-rocksteady