After the colossal commercial and critical success of Batman: Arkham City it was guaranteed that developer Rocksteady Studios would be delivering another game to complete the trilogy (for starters). Exactly what that third installment would entail given the already well-established benchmarks of the previous two games was far less certain.
The newest rumors claim that the next Arkham sequel – which Warner Bros. already confirmed will be coming in 2013 – will be titled Batman: Arkham Origins, and is set for next-gen release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s presumed Xbox 360 successor.
The rumors come from French website Gameblog (via CVG), citing an anonymous source as the basis for their report that Arkham Origins will be unveiled at E3 2013 and released late this year. It’s not much to go on, but this report does reinforce much of the information previously leaked.
For starters, ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ was indeed one of the domain names registered by Warner Bros. earlier this year. Rocksteady’s third game in the series was also outed as a Silver Age prequel detailing Batman and Joker’s first meeting; given that relationship’s integral role in the prior two games, the title ‘Origins’ referring to their first encounter certainly fits. It also adds further insight into Arkham City‘s controversial ending.
Yet comic book fans will be the first to tell you that the initial meeting between Batman and Joker is a story told several times already, so seeing Rocksteady do the same might not be the most groundbreaking use of their time. We would remind fans that Rocksteady did not call on comic book veteran Paul Dini to write this game, lending further credence to the studio’s claims of taking the series in an “exciting” and “different” direction.
However, the name Origins could also refer to the other heroes of the Justice League itself, all of whose members are rumored to be making an appearance in the game’s Silver Age setting. And it is in that aspect of the game’s design that the next-gen rumors hold the most promise. With the shift from Arkham Asylum‘s directed narrative to the more expansive open world of Arkham City, many gamers (logically) assumed that the next game would follow the same trend and host an even larger ‘Arkham World.’ But Rocksteady may be putting next-gen tech to even more surprising uses than world size.
Assuming that the Justice League won’t be appearing simply as cameos, but key characters in the story – as seen with Robin and others in Arkham City – then it’s possible players might have the chance to play as the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman, not merely engage them in conversation. Considering how difficult it’s been to build a video game around any other League member, short and sweet segments might be the best way to go. And it goes without saying that’s a task we would trust Rocksteady could execute without issue.
What next-gen processing power and visuals could do for such a structure can only be imagined, but if the developer is deciding to take not just the next step, but a different one altogether, it does lead us to wonder if Rocksteady still has plans for a next-gen release more in keeping with the style of Arkham Asylum and City. Could Origins be an overlapping release on current and next-gen systems, with Arkham City‘s chronological sequel coming in the next few years? If the Silver Age style is a success, could they be spawning two unique series out of one?
Questions like these will remain until Rocksteady announces something themselves, presumably at E3 2013. For now, what are your hopes for the next Batman title? Is a dark, gritty and violent game what’s needed most, or should Rocksteady remind the world of the more fantastical elements of the character and his ‘super friends’?
We’ll keep you updated on more news surrounding Batman: Arkham Origins when it’s released.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce for all your Arkham news.