Monolith Productions (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor) has been working on a Wonder Woman game adaptation for several years now, with its first public reveal arriving at The Game Awards in 2021. But while there’s plenty of people excited about the Amazon taking a starring role in a new adventure, a fresh job listing spotted by Wccftech briefly dampened that enthusiasm.
The job listing for a Lead Software Engineer, Gameplay began in fairly standard fashion, requesting candidates with experience working on other games to help “deliver a superhero experience as epic as Wonder Woman herself” – but it also suggested it would be good for applicants to have “experience helping maintain a live software product or game,” implying Wonder Woman would contain these elements.
Publisher Warner Bros. Games recently confirmed it would push into the live service market over the next few years, with Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav emphasising the importance of these features in a recent earnings call – so Wonder Woman potentially including these elements was unsurprising.
Live service elements are typically deployed to “engage” people in a game over a long-term period, enticing them to spend more money on additional in-game items and features – outfit cosmetics, weapon skins, skills bonuses, new story chapters, new characters, and more. But while they can be included effectively, to expand gaming experiences and enthral players, they are too often deployed with an intention to exploit player wallets.
In many cases, live service elements have proved to be highly predatory, in a way that has given the entire practice a bad name. As a result, games with live service elements are typically placed under far more scrutiny and criticism from the public, particularly during announcement cycles. When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first announced, backlash to its live service elements was swift, loud, and incredibly fierce – and may have been the reason why the game was pushed back by several months.
Update 19/11: In response to reports of the job listing, Warner Bros. has denied that Wonder Woman will feature live service elements, telling IGN that Wonder Woman “is a single-player action-adventure game set in a dynamic open-world” and that it is “not being designed as a live service.”
The job listing was revealed at an unfortunate time for live service games in general, with pushback against them now reaching the ears of global games companies. Recently, Remedy Entertainment announced its upcoming live service game, Project Vanguard, would be rebooted as a premium game due to uncertainties about live service success, and reception from the public.
Sony also recently announced it would push back six major live service games for similar reasons, as it needed to refocus on a smaller array of live service titles to ensure people would actually want to play them.
Concurrent to these decisions, a number of major live service games have failed over the course of 2023, with many citing low player engagement, and a lack of spending as reasons for shutdown. Public sentiment is shifting, with live service rapidly falling out of fashion as player behaviours change.
This article has been updated since its original publication.