Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League 'has fallen short of our expectations,' Warner says

 The four members of the Suicide Squad looking confused.
The four members of the Suicide Squad looking confused.
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Warner Bros. Discovery says sales of the superhero looter-shooter Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League did not meet the company's expectations, a shortfall that's put the company's game division on track for a "tough" first quarter in its 2024 fiscal year.

"We are lapping the release of Hogwarts Legacy in February last year, which saw the largest portion of its very positive financial impact in the first quarter," Warner Bros. Discover chief financial officer Gunnar Wiedenfels said during the company's earnings call (via Seeking Alpha).

"This year, Suicide Squad, one of our key videogame releases in 2024, has fallen short of our expectations since its release earlier in the quarter, setting our games business up for a tough year-over-year comp in Q1."

Warner hasn't released sales figures for Suicide Squad, but the game hasn't performed especially well on Steam. The overall user rating is actually "very positive," but after hitting a peak concurrent player count of 13,459 immediately after launch, the numbers quickly tailed off: Currently just 704 people are playing the game, which is not a good place to be for a live-service co-op shooter. The peak concurrent player count over the past 24 hours, according to Steam Charts, was 888.

That's a tiny fraction of the current recently-released hits on Steam: Last Epoch hit a peak concurrent player count of 194,000 today, Palworld made it up to 338,000, and Helldivers 2 reached a 24-hour peak of 423,000 players—although that number will no doubt go up tonight when I'm trying to get into it.

The pre-launch buildup to Suicide Squad, which included multiple lengthy delays that saw the release pushed from 2021 to, eventually, February 2024, was rough. As the actual launch approached, it didn't appear to be "the disaster some were waiting for," but it wasn't particularly good either. We said in our 67% review that Suicide Squad shows "flashes of greatness," but not enough of them to make up for its shortcomings.

It's quite a turnaround from this time last year, when Hogwarts Legacy, despite concerns about the negative influence of persistent transphobic commentary from Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, was an immediate hit. Hogwarts Legacy sold more than 22 million copies by the end of 2023, making it "the best-selling game of the year in the entire industry worldwide," in the words of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president David Haddad.

Developer Rocksteady has committed to regular post-launch content updates for Suicide Squad that will include new missions, weapons, and playable characters, beginning with Joker and, possibly, Brainiac. An offline mode is also planned. How the game's tepid sales performance might impact its future remains to be seen, but given Warner's willingness to scuttle completed film projects for a tax writeoff, I don't think it bodes well.