Searches for 'Suicide Squad refund' surge 791% following the game's early access launch 'disaster'

 Promotional screenshot of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League .
Promotional screenshot of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League .

What you need to know

  • Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is an upcoming online action game built by Rocksteady, the team behind the masterpiece "Arkhamverse" Batman games.

  • The game notoriously previewed poorly, with major outlets like IGN posting up negative early impressions. IGN then reported that Warner Bros. has barred them from review copies of the game.

  • The game is now in a paid early access period, but a devastating launch bug has seen the game taken offline.

  • Analytics firm McLuck recently published a meta analysis of search trend data, revealing a near 800% spike in searches revolving around refunding the game, triggered by the game's offline maintenance periods.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League just can't catch a break.

Developed by the legendary studio Rocksteady, known for the Batman Arkham games, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League launched in early access this week.

The game has seen controversy after controversy, going back as far as its initial reveal. There's been backlash against its always-online nature, which is a huge departure from the single-player focused action games Rocksteady is known for. There has been a definitive trend of studios being forced by publishers to pivot to service games, only for them to get shuttered later on. Some of the scepticism may stem from games like Square Enix's Marvel Avengers title which saw a similar development cycle. That scepticism was since compounded by fragments of gameplay and story beats that leaked prior to the game's launch, with fans once again doubting the game's direction. Later on, IGN and other major press outlets previewed the game, with a near unanimous negative tone, which is rare to see occur so broadly. "We didn't like it," said IGN, who then later was reportedly denied review access by Warner Bros. in retaliation.

It's worth noting that Windows Central was also not offered review codes, but it's not entirely unexpected with a live service game. But the game is now available in a paid early access period, and we've still yet to experience the game for ourselves. In any case, it seems that players are discovering for themselves that Suicide Squad might be destined for a rocky future.

After launch, Rocksteady took the game entirely offline to fix a devastating bug that would lead to new players receiving 100% completion of the entire game without having done anything. This led to major story spoilers permeating even further around the web, and considering the story is one of the few positive points from the preview round, it comes in as particularly egregious. As an always-online game, even if you're playing solo for the story, you no longer have access, as Rocksteady continues its maintenance periods.

To gain early access, you need the Suicide Squad: To Kill the Justice League Deluxe Edition, which costs an absurd $100. As such, one of the benefits therein of said Deluxe Edition is no longer available, owing to this lengthy maintenance period.

Analytics firm McLuck just put out a statement that Suicide Squad's "glitch-ridden" launch has led to a massive 791% spike in searches for "Suicide Squad refund," following the game's maintenance period. You might expect that searches for "refund" wouldn't exist before the game had launched anyway, but the spike seems to have been triggered specifically by its 100% completion bug.

As of writing, the game is now currently live again, but it's unclear how long that'll last for. It's also arguably a violation of the game's "72 hours early access" promise considering the game was down for several hours, which has contributed to this surge in refund interest.

If you're playing Suicide Squad on Steam, you can grab a refund via Steam's refund page here. Xbox users will have to explore their purchase and refund options on the Microsoft account page here. But as of writing, it's not guaranteed that these platforms will offer blanket refunds if you've spent a certain amount of time in the game. Often, Steam, Microsoft, and other platform holders will open up reviews beyond the usage period in extenuating circumstances, such as the ones we're seeing here.

Is Suicide Squad fun, though?

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Having not played the game myself, it's hard to comment on whether or not the game is worth it. But anecdotally, some of my friends are enjoying the combat loop, and the story, with some expressing positive comments about its dialogue and acting. I've also heard the opposite, so the jury is well and truly out.

I'm not sure if we'll be able to commit to a full review of the game, but for Rocksteady's sake, I sorely hope the game finds its footing and finds its audience. This is a bad time for games to struggle commercially, as various firms look to cost cutting measures faced with a squeeze on capital and operating margins. Microsoft laid off 1900 gaming staff to that effect just the other day, with various other gaming firms from Riot to Embracer looking to make cutbacks.

Rocksteady is a legendary team, and the Arkham universe of games is among the best Batman media period, including the comics, TV shows, and games. Long-suffering D.C. fans absolutely deserve a win here, and it might end up being Warner Bros. greed — preventing Suicide Squad launching with offline modes, in a polished state — that prevents them from getting that win. Let's see how it goes.