The long-delayed Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is finally seeing release in February 2024, and fans just got another look at the game via the first in a series of developer diaries. That new video not only reveals new gameplay footage and the fact that Metropolis will be twice the size of Arkham City’s Gotham map, it also addresses perhaps the single biggest mystery surrounding the plot of the game. Namely, how exactly can a team this small and underpowered hope to defeat the entire Justice League?
Let’s take a closer look at how the new Suicide Squad footage addresses this mystery and opens the door to the wider DC Universe in the process.
The Suicide Squad’s Power Level
The main character roster in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is both sensible and slightly head-scratching, depending on how you look at things. On the one hand, Rocksteady has gone with a pretty traditional lineup in Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and King Shark. These are characters with a deep association with the Suicide Squad franchise. They’ve appeared not just in the comics, but in DC’s Suicide Squad films and animated projects. Alongside Amanda Waller herself, they’re arguably the characters that immediately come to mind when casual DC fans think of the Suicide Squad.
But while the roster may be a natural fit in terms of DC synergy, it doesn’t necessarily make sense in the context of a game where the whole point is to murder the Justice League. Task Force X is going up against the most powerful superheroes in the world, including an invulnerable Amazonian warrior, a godlike Kryptonian and a guy who can run faster than the speed of thought. And let’s not forget Batman, the guy who already took down two of the four Suicide Squad members himself in the Arkham games.
Against a team that strong, what exactly does the Squad have to offer? Neither Deadshot nor Harley Quinn have any real powers to speak of. They’re just very good at killing ordinary humans. Captain Boomerang has his trick boomerangs, but that’s never done much to move him up the supervillain ladder in the DCU. Of the four, only King Shark has a truly impressive powerset, with the superhuman strength and durability the rest of the team lacks.
From the beginning, it was always a mystery as to how this specific team would be able to carry out its mission. Compared to some of the heavy hitters that have served on the Suicide Squad in the past (General Zod, Solomon Grundy, Enchantress), this team is looking fairly puny by comparison.
Granted, the Suicide Squad are usually the underdogs in any given storyline. They get by on a combination of tenacity and luck, and not everyone always makes it home alive. But the conflict in this game is on a whole other level compared to most Suicide Squad projects. How can this team hope to take down even one Justice Leaguer, let alone the whole team? The developer diary seems to provide us with an answer.
The Weapons of the DCU
The developer diary includes footage from an early scene in the game where the newly escaped Suicide Squad members enter the Hall of Justice and promptly begin looting the place. Apparently, no one in the League thought it was a bad idea to place fully functional superhuman weapons behind easily breakable glass and call it a day? But the League’s oversight is the Suicide Squad’s gain, as we see them steal some useful treasures to help level the playing field.
Height and verticality are clearly a big part of the combat in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, with much of the footage we’ve seen showing the characters leaping up and down the skyscrapers of Metropolis and blasting away at Brainiac’s forces. It’s here where we learn how the game makes that verticality possible. Harley Quinn steals Batman’s grapnel gun and Bat-drone. Captain Boomerang liberates Dr. Sivana’s Speed Force Gauntlet, giving him a taste of the Flash’s speed and maneuverability. Deadshot claims Gizmo’s jetpack, transforming him into a much more mobile sniper. Only King Shark rejects these new toys, as he alone has the inherent strength to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
It seems this is how the Suicide Squad will find a way of competing on the Justice League’s level. They’re “borrowing” the tools of more powerful heroes and villains in order to make up for their relative lack of superhuman abilities. For starters, suddenly Task Force X has a speedster of its own, which makes the idea of taking on the Flash a slightly less daunting task.
The question now is just how far the game will lean into the idea of the Suicide Squad repurposing superhuman tech. There are certainly some interesting possibilities here. Will the team track down a Sinestro Corps or Red Lantern ring before taking on Green Lantern? Will Lex Luthor (a villain we briefly glimpse in the developer diary) provide Task Force X with some Kryptonite-laced weapons before the big Superman showdown? Will Harley claim an Amazonian hammer before dueling Wonder Woman?
This new footage also hints that Penguin may play a key role in opening up the arsenal of the wider DC Universe. Following up on his recurring role in the Arkham games, we see that Oswald Cobblepot is now holed up in a bunker in Metropolis. Waller directs her team to Penguin’s hideout as one of their first missions. As a villain with his fingers in many pies, Penguin could be an easy way of introducing more gadgets and weapons into the picture.
Just how many iconic DC weapons will be harnessed by the Suicide Squad in the game? How will they be integrated into the “run and gun” style of gameplay we’ve seen so far? Rocksteady has a lot of room to get creative and break out of the straightforward shooter mold we’ve seen in most of the gameplay footage so far. With any luck, the battles against Superman, Wonder Woman and Brainiac himself won’t simply involve more jumping and shooting, but will instead integrate some of the coolest toys the DC Universe has to offer. It’s all a question of how deeply Rocksteady is willing to dig into this massive toybox.
For more, check out our guide to playing the Arkham Games in order and our reaction to the DCU’s ambitious video game plan.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.
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Author: Jesse Schedeen