As the saying goes: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fox it.’ But even as hard as it is to find lasting success in the video game industry, Rocksteady Studios showed they weren’t afraid of change from the very first announcement of Batman: Arkham Knight, their finale to the Arkham trilogy. Once fans got over the impressive cinematic trailer, the changes became clear: the introduction of the Batmobile, a foray into the greater Gotham City, and a brand new Batsuit.
The game originally pitched an evolved Batman going to-to-toe with the Scarecrow’s master plan, but the arrival of familiar faces – and the brand new, titular villain – cast some doubt. So just how much of the old and new should fans of the first two Arkham games expect? Luckily, Rocksteady has now offered a few more details.
There’s no question that there is more to Arkham Knight‘s story than the original plot synopsis; and fans have a long wait before their most nagging questions are answered. But for now, even a little information will go a long way.
With that in mind, Rocksteady’s marketing manager, Dax Ginn has offered some insight into the power structure at work behind Arkham Knight‘s villains. Speaking with Croatian gaming magazine Reboot, read Ginn’s translated comments below (hat tip to Arkhamverse.com):
“We always wanted to create our own trilogy of Arkham games which will lead you from the claustrophobic halls of Arkham Asylum to openness, which this new vision of Gotham gives us. We left Scarecrow out intentionally from key events of Batman: Arkham City, which let us completely focus on Batman’s relationship with Joker, which culminated with Joker’s death. Batman: Arkham Knight is a story about different, post-Joker Gotham City and Scarecrow is in the center of it. He is one of the supervillains of Batman’s universe and in this story he uses the opportunity and takes the abandoned place of power over criminals, putting Gotham in danger when he gets a new chemical weapon. This dark and chaotic version of Scarecrow unites other villains in Arkham Knight with only one goal: destroy Batman.
“We revealed that Two Face, Penguin, Harley Quinn are important to the story and we are excited to announce that we worked with DC Comics to create a completely new character… Arkham Knight. We’ll talk about him in the upcoming months.”
Plot twists and mysterious villains will likely be kept under wraps until release (as was the case with Batman: Arkham City), but what Rocksteady seems ready to show off is their changes to Batman’s character model and arsenal. The developers have spoken at length about the impressive size of their next-gen Gotham City, and how the Batmobile will be used to traverse it.
Never ones to do things halfway, it seems that the Batmobile was designed to not only look ‘cool,’ but seem like it was created by the same mind that sculpted the new and improved Batsuit. Ginn went on to explain that Batman’s new duds are more than just a visual change, but a sign of some brand new mechanics and features that will give the developers even more tools to enhance gameplay, and tell their story:
“Various gadgets are key to the gameplay experience of Arkham Knight and we continued to develop Batman’s arsenal with new gadgets, and upgrades for old ones. The biggest upgrade is Batman’s suit, the Batsuit Mark 8. It upgrades Batman’s abilities in new ways… The way that Batman communicates with Oracle is also upgraded and in Arkham Knight he will use a holographic communicator. It enables players to see the person Batman is talking to through a holographic projection from his gauntlet.”
That hologram technology means players will get the chance to actually see Oracle a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, not merely hear her voice over a radio. But previous screenshots have revealed that Oracle will be playing a much larger role in the campaign of Arkham Knight than a voice in Bruce Wayne’s ear; so what is it that makes her so important to the game’s writers this time around? Director Sefton Hill explained to Game Informer:
“[Oracle is] such a strong character in the universe that we really wanted to bring her to life in this game rather than have her as just that voice… What does she look like? Where does she work? How does she have all of this information? What’s her relationship like with Batman? She’s one of the only people who knows his identity, so it gives that sort of human side to Batman. We spend so much time seeing him kick ass it’s nice to see the emotional side of him underneath, and she’s one of the few characters who help us bring that out.”
We’ll accept any gameplay addition or fictional gadget that allows the developers to bring more DC characters into the mix. After Robin made a guest appearance in the campaign of Arkham City, and Oracle now confirmed to be given a large part for Arkham Knight, who knows who else could crash the party? If this is, indeed, Rocksteady’s send-off to their Dark Knight, there’s no better time to bring in the likes of Nightwing, Huntress, and the rest of the fan-favorite heroes.
We’ll keep you up to date as more story and gameplay details arrive. For now, what do you make of the plot and gameplay changes so far? Have they gotten you more interested in Arkham Knight, or were you guaranteed to be playing it regardless? Sound off in the comments.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released in 2014 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: Reboot (via Arkhamverse), Game Informer