An image purportedly leaked from a pre-release build of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (opens in new tab) has revealed that the game will feature both a battle pass and an in-game store, and some followers of the game are not happy about it.
The image, which initially appeared on 4chan, clearly shows “Battle Pass” and “Store” dropdown menus, as well as what appears to be multiple types of in-game currencies. That’s fairly standard stuff for competitive free-to-play games, but Suicide Squad is a solo joint, with support for drop-in/drop-out co-op play. Pricing hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it’s expected to be in line with conventional premium game releases: UK retailer Game (opens in new tab), for instance, is currently offering Suicide Squad for preorder for £70.
What appears to be contributing to some of the furor is the lack of information about how Suicide Squad will play. No substantial gameplay footage has been released; for players who were expecting a singleplayer campaign in the style of Arkham City, having a monetization scheme announced via leak has challenged expectations.
“It’s not a PvP game, right? How are they planning to keep players in to capitalize from the battle pass?” redditor ElvenNeko (opens in new tab) asked, cutting to the heart of the problem with battle passes in PvE games. “People will just finish the story… And then what? Play some challenges where they just farm mobs? Well, that can last me a couple of days… and then what? Unless they plan to release a new story mode every month or two, i don’t see any reasons to stay and even bother about skins and stuff like that in a PvE game.”
Redditor Get_Fucked17 (opens in new tab) expressed a more emotional, but widely held, perspective on the matter. “How the fuck are they planning to get away with a battle pass on a $70 game?” they wrote. “[Call of Duty] gets away with it because they offer Warzone/DMZ for free. How does Rocksteady think this is going to work? Is the game going to be free? No? Then get fucked.”
Several redditors predicted that Suicide Squad would end up like Marvel’s Avengers (opens in new tab), Square Enix’s ill-fated superhero game, which delivered a strong singleplayer campaign but failed in its quest to establish itself as an ongoing live service game. That seems a bit off-base to me: If Suicide Squad was expected to be a campaign-based experience anyway, the success or failure of the post-game live service elements are irrelevant.
But the objections to the Suicide Squad battle pass seem less focused on the practicalities of the thing than on the principle: Why does everything these days, even a premium-priced singleplayer game, seem to need a battle pass? A tweet (opens in new tab) from YouTuber Sclmof captured what seems to be a widely-held sentiment: Regardless of the presence or quality of Suicide Squad’s campaign, “something just feels weird about Rocksteady, known for their story games, making a GAAS game.”
It’s just crazy to me that every single game has to be a level-up, looter shooter game with a battle passEven the studios KNOWN for their single-player game story modes are pivoting to this model. Every game studio is making the exact same game reskinned w/a different IPJanuary 17, 2023
Of course, all the discontent presumes that the leaked images are accurate. So far that hasn’t been confirmed, but VGC (opens in new tab) said a “development source” told it that a battle pass, focusing on cosmetic items like skins, is planned for the game. At least some of the apparent currencies at the top of the image are actually XP used to power up and customize each character’s skill tree.
I’ve reached out to Warner Bros. to ask about the leak and whether Suicide Squad will offer a battle pass, and will update if I receive a reply. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is set to launch on May 26.