It's been a while since we last heard anything from Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League—it was April, in fact, when Warner Bros. announced that the planned 2023 release had been pushed to February 2, 2024. But if you check your calendar you'll note that date is now less than three months away, and so it is that Warner and developer Rocksteady are cranking up the hype machine with the first "Suicide Squad Insider" video, which takes a closer look at the game's story, "traversal mechanics," and the new game world of Metropolis.
Metropolis is big, weighing in at twice the size of Gotham City in Rocksteady's previous game, Batman: Arkham Knight. To get around, the members of the squad bust into the Hall of Justice and jack some super-hardware that enables them to swing, fly, or run at super-speeds, granting them different but essentially equivalent methods of movement: Deadshot gets a jetpack, for instance, while Harley Quinn makes use of Batman's grapple and glider.
Each character will have a different playstyle, but unlike the Arkham games, in which Batman dispenses justice with flying fists of Bat-fury, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a "third-person action shooter." So while fisticuffs will certainly play a role, guns will be the number-one way of solving problems. The new video leans into that aspect of the game by introducing Oswald Cobblepot—yes, the Penguin—as an "anti-meta weapons" dealer who the Suicide Squad "recruits the shit out of" in order to help with their efforts.
One thing the video doesn't get into (although again, it's the first in a series) is the game's live service features. We weren't impressed with the plan and neither were fans, and while there was a faint hope among some interested players that the delay into 2024 might be a sign that those features were being dialed back, it's not happening: A press release that accompanied the trailer confirms that it's still a looter-shooter alright, complete with a battle pass with free and paid tiers, and plenty of loot and cosmetics to earn including different outfits, weapons, "weapon dolls," and color swatches.
That's really not surprising, though. Even excluding the relatively short time frame of the delay, which was insufficient to allow for major redesigns, Warner Bros. has made no bones about its desire to go big on live-service games, particularly with "blue chip franchises like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Superman." CEO David Zaslav said in a recent investors call that the company is focusing on "more always-on gameplay through live services, multiplatform and free-to-play extensions," with the goal, no surprise here, being "more players spending more time on more platforms."
It still feels a little weird to me that a game that by all appearances should be a superhero brawler is instead more akin to Destiny 2, but setting that aside, this new video is better than I expected. I was not at all impressed with my first look at Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, but a much stronger sense of fun comes through in this one. A lot of that emerges from the cutscene interplay between the game's characters and that aspect of the game will only carry it so far, but if the gameplay can match up—and yes, that remains a bit if—and it doesn't get dragged down into microtransaction hell, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League might surprise us.