After the 2016 film was widely panned, DC’s ragtag task force is having a bit of a comeback with the release of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the upcoming Rocksteady game, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The creators of the popular Batman: Arkham games are moving on from the cowled detective and taking their talents to another DC city – Metropolis, where Brainiac has taken control of the Justice League. The game is offering the opportunity for four player supervillain co-op, but The Suicide Squad presents a potential issue for Kill the Justice League‘s upcoming roster.
[Spoilers for The Suicide Squad follow]
Putting players in control of Task Force X for a co-op action-adventure game is a great idea, but a Suicide Squad game entirely playable with four people clashes with a fundamental part of the group’s identity that is well depicted in The Suicide Squad: their expendability. Each member of the Suicide Squad is recruited from incarcerated villains, implanted with an explosive device, and sent on a deadly mission. Failure to comply with any given order results in remote detonation of the explosive.
The first scenes of The Suicide Squad shows the titular team infiltrating an island nation, where they are confronted by the local regime’s military. Within minutes a large part of the Suicide Squad is violently killed before the film jumps back a few days and the audience is introduced to the members the movie will actually focus on. This wanton disregard for the lives of the Suicide Squad is integral to the group’s story, and may present a narrative challenge for Kill the Justice League.
The four playable characters in Kill the Justice League will be Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark. The characters are sure to be different than their The Suicide Squad adaptions, but the game being playable by four people seems to be a limiting factor on who can be killed off. If Captain Boomerang takes a fatal punch from a Brainiac-controlled Superman, what will the player controlling Captain Boomerang do?
It’s likely that there will canonically be more than those four members of the Suicide Squad in Kill the Justice League who could conceivably be killed, but that makes the role of the player feel disingenuous when its only characters outside of the playable four that are getting eliminated. If those four are the only playable character throughout the game, then they’ll have to survive until the end, otherwise Kill the Justice League‘s four-player co-op becomes impossible.
One of the more refreshing aspects of The Suicide Squad‘s take on the villainous task force was that it wasn’t afraid to keep killing off characters. The bloodbath at the beginning wasn’t the end of Task Force X members biting the dust, and characters died fairly consistently throughout the movie. Members being killed either in the course of their duty or for insubordination is almost guaranteed by the Suicide Squad’s narrative impetus. Having four players in Kill the Justice League essentially gives the four player characters game mechanic-assisted armor, nullifying the inherently stripped plot armor created by motivating factors such as the implanted explosives, which were well utilized in The Suicide Squad.