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

Warner Bros. Discovery incurred a significant financial setback of $200 million following the launch of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, shedding light on the challenges faced by the video game studio Rocksteady.

Rocksteady, a UK-based studio owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, encountered internal struggles, including inexperience with multiplayer game development and a shifting creative vision, leading to employee departures.

Initially tasked with developing a Suicide Squad game in 2016, Rocksteady's new employees were reportedly unaware of the multiplayer focus, contrasting with the studio's reputation for single-player action-adventure games like Batman: Arkham Knight.

The development process faced hurdles as Rocksteady's leadership altered the game's direction from melee combat to heavy gunplay, grappling with issues of repetitiveness in battles, levels, and bosses typical of live-service titles.

Departures of key figures like Rocksteady co-founders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker in 2022 delayed the game's release, contributing to its eventual launch in 2024.

During Warner Bros. Discovery's earnings call in May, CEO David Zaslav acknowledged the disappointing performance of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, revealing the $200 million loss incurred by the game.

Financial pressures in the gaming industry, coupled with layoffs affecting thousands of workers, highlight the challenges faced by studios striving to maintain revenue streams.

Some studios, including Warner Bros. Discovery, have turned to live-service games in pursuit of sustained revenue, but such endeavors can backfire, as evidenced by the failure of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

Rocksteady has redirected its focus towards projects like a director's cut version of Hogwarts Legacy and the potential development of another single-player game, signaling a shift away from live-service titles.