Few terms have received a more tarnished reputation in gaming culture than “live service”. The term, originally used to describe games which are regularly supported by new content, often supplemented by paid DLC and microtransactions, this game model has been accused of transforming games with promising foundations into grindy slogs which milk the player for additional payments at every turn. As such, when eagle-eyed fans saw an online job listing for Warner Bros’ upcoming Wonder Woman game seeking a Lead Software Engineer with experience “helping maintain a live software product or game“, many assumed that Wonder Woman will be going the way of Marvel’s Avengers or the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League in being a superhero game bogged down by gear scores, microtransactions and intrusive multiplayer elements. Warner Bros. has now taken the step of publicly assuring fans that the game will not, in fact, be a live service game.
In a statement to IGN, a Warner Bros. spokesperson has stated that “Wonder Woman is a single-player action-adventure game set in a dynamic open-world. This third person experience will allow players to become Diana of Themyscira and introduce an original story set in the DC Universe, while also featuring the Nemesis System. Wonder Woman is not being designed as a live service.”
Mind, it was not unreasonable for fans to assume the worst. Gotham Knights was already generally considered a bit of a letdown following the acclaimed Batman: Arkham games for saddling what was already a solid foundation for an open-world superhero game with unwieldy RPG mechanics and multiplayer elements. Following a comment from polarising Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, where he stated his company’s intention to pivot its games to “include more always-on gameplay through live services, multiplatform, and free-to-play extensions, with the goal to have more players spending more time on more platforms“, it is easy to have somewhat low expectations. Fortunately, Wonder Woman is apparently “not being designed as a live service“, which is a good sign for those hoping for the game to just be a solid single-player experience.
Mind, the term “live service” is nebulous enough to be practically meaningless, so it will remain to be seen how the final game turns out. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War showed how the innovative Nemesis System can be corrupted with microtransactions which were eventually removed. Hopefully Wonder Woman’s revival of this system will be free of those kinds of cynical elements when it finally releases.