Aliens: Fireteam Elite was released on August 23 to mixed reviews, but on Steam it averaged around or above 10k players for the first few weeks after release. But a lack of content, small updates, and possibly the release of the popular Back 4 Blood recently have killed the player base on PC, with only 792 players online at the time of writing.
Developed by Cold Iron Studios, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a third-person co-op shooter that plays similarly to Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead. It features different classes, a progression system, and loot. I’ve played a decent chunk of the game in co-op with my brother and had a fun time with it, but I’d be lying if I said I was excited to play more. And it seems I’m not alone.
During the first two weeks after it launched, Fireteam Elite enjoyed 10k-13k active players. At its peak, it even hit 15,500. Not incredibly impressive numbers compared to bigger games like Counter-Strike or Warframe, but solid enough to land it in the top 100 or so games on Steam. But now, 55 days later, the co-op shooter is struggling to maintain 1000 active players. It dropped well out of the top 100 Steam games and now sits at 571.
So what happened? Well, it appears that, even with the support of a popular franchise like Aliens, the game just hasn’t connected with players enough to keep them coming back. People don’t hate the game, as it has mostly positive reviews on Steam. But a lack of major updates and content means even folks who dig it have run out of stuff to do. The last big update for the game was back in early September, which added a new class and started the game’s first season. Since then it’s been mostly tiny updates that have patched or fixed things.
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Also not helping matters is that Back 4 Blood, a game that is very similar to Aliens: Fireteam Elite, was recently released. It was incredibly popular on Steam during even its beta state, hitting nearly 100k players on the platform. Today, it sits in the top 20 most played Steam games with currently around 45k players actively online, killing zombies together.
There’s still a chance that Aliens: Fireteam Elite can turn things around. I hope it does. I think some new content, including new missions and enemies, plus more frequent events and a few free-to-play weekends could help bring back some of the audience it once had. But it’s also likely that it will quietly fade away into the darkness, with its servers one day getting shut off and years of hard work disappearing overnight.