New Details on ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ Boss Battles

Published 1 year ago by

Batman Arkham Origins Gamescom Header

With the Arkham series setting the bar fairly high for Batman video games, the developers at WB Games Montreal decided to do something a little different with Batman: Arkham Origins. As the name implies, their game will be chronicling a particularly trying night for Bruce Wayne not at the height of his career, but the earliest days.

Fans had initially taken that intention as a sign that they’d be introduced to a younger, less-experienced Batman; yet most of the game shown so far proves that Origins‘ Batman is every bit the honed vigilante the Arkham series has made canon. Luckily, the game’s designers have provided a bit more context on how their Batman will differ, and why, using one fight between the caped crusader and Deathstroke as evidence.

Fans had good reason to think they’d get a noticeably different take on Batman – a new voice actor would bring the character to life, for starters – but the trailer showing Batman going toe-to-toe with Deathstroke proved that if the dark knight was new on the scene, it wouldn’t show in combat. In an interview with Polygon, senior producer Ben Mattes explains how the team discussed the possibility to featuring a weaker hero, but quickly cast it aside:

“The mistakes he makes are not in the core combat or in the core gameplay mechanics… There was honestly a very short-lived debate on the team of, ‘Well, it’s year two – he should mess up, he should trip, he should not have Batarangs, or he should throw his Batarangs and they should miss or, you know, whatever.’ And for very obvious reasons, that idea couldn’t survive. You can’t subscribe to the fantasy of being the Batman and trip over your cape [in] your first fight and get stabbed in the leg by a pimp.”

Batman Arkham Origins Deathstroke Unmasked

It’s hard to argue with Mattes’ points; even if fans would be intrigued by a Batman still learning the ropes in combat, there’s no real way to make the work in the core gameplay without hindering the abilities of skilled players. That’s as sure-fire a recipe for frustration as we can think of, but it doesn’t mean that players won’t be able to see that Origins’ hero still has plenty to learn. Gameplay director Michael McIntyre explains:

“He doesn’t stand straight up and confident like he does in the previous Arkham games. He’s fists-up and ready to go; he’s a lot more aggressive. […] He crosses certain lines, and he’s learning lessons as he goes along. […] He doesn’t realize that aggression doesn’t necessarily solve all problems.”

That unchecked aggression (paired with most residents not knowing ‘Batman’ by name this early on) will apparently lead to both Alfred and Commissioner Gordon misunderstanding his motives. In other words: even if Bruce Wayne is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, he’s a long way away from possessing the gadgets and public support that his future crusade may take for granted.

Even so, the likes of Deathstroke, Bane, and the all-new Copperhead are going to offer Wayne more of a challenge than the citizens of Gotham. The presence of villains like that mean inevitable boss battles; but the team at WB Montreal aren’t going to follow the typical formula of introducing a new mechanic – Batman’s new shock gloves, for instance – and immediately structuring a boss battle around it, turning what should be a new tool in the player’s arsenal into a gimmick.

Batman Arkham Origins Penguin Girls

It’s an interesting decision, but one that McIntyre feels fans will respond well to:

“Throughout the game, [players are] doing [free-flow combat], they’re doing Predator [stealth combat], they’re doing navigation. And we wanted to make sure that the bosses were testing that and not necessarily testing exotic skills, things that they would have to learn in the boss fight. […] If you don’t test people, then they’re never really required to go into that depth. […] So we wanted to kind of require them to dig a little deeper into some of these systems.”

The article went on to describe an early fight with Deathstroke, glimpsed in previous trailers and ultimately leading to the world’s greatest assassin being unmasked (still keeps the eye patch, obviously). Instead of demanding the player learn a set pattern to take down Deathstroke, the same combat system of attacks and countering is used – with the masked fighter putting the player’s skills to the most difficult test yet.

The fight occurs in several stages, and with Batman’s victory, allows him to use a new gadget stolen from Deathstroke himself. It certainly sounds like a more believable boss battle than some in Arkham‘s past, but since those sections were some of the most frustrating in the series so far, we’ll reserve judgement until we can play the game for ourselves.

What do you think about these changes to the formula? Does the idea of challenging a single, difficult enemy seem more appealing than a mob of baddies, or was that the part of Arkham Asylum and City you most enjoyed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Batman: Arkham Origins will be available on PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360 on October 25, 2013.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Polygon

TAGS: Batman, Batman Arkham Origins, PC, PS3, Warner Bros. Interactive, Wii U, Xbox 360

  • WElp

    I can see that. Having an incompetent hero in the main gameplay would be weird. They could always add passive animations to show he’s not so good. Like in Uncharted when Drake flinches at gunfire or doesn’t always cleanly make it up a ledge. It’s not real gameplay so it won’t bother the player per say but it sells the illusion that the hero is a bit more vulnerable at least superficially.

  • Mike

    Like Tomb Raider 2013, Lara Croft is supposed to be very raw, being her first time in real combat and adventure. But that rawness is never reflected in the character control; seasoned first- or third-person gamers are getting headshots in right at the first time Croft lifted a bow or gun. But it’s through the cutscenes that gamers feel the inexperience of the protagonist, not to mention the “I can do this” monologue spoken by Croft throughout the early part of her adventure. Not saying Bats should say that too, but well something along that line.

  • http://Google Stevie B

    I’m glad these guys are double thinking on what and what not to put in. Shows that they really are trying to make a great game. This is REALLY looking to be on par with the previous games, maybe even surpass them.

  • reno2200

    Sounds like they’re trying to make the boss battles a bit more like the Mr Freeze fight from Arkham City… AWESOME!

    • ponchobill

      That was my favorite boss battle from the Arkham games!

    • ColdSc

      I was actually getting nervous during that boss battle aha. Very well done!

      • Miffed Monkey1

        Ah, Mr. Freeze. Probably my favorite Batman villain ever.

      • reno2200

        Obviously, it’s not confirmed, but I read ‘not having new tactics exclusively for bosses’ as being like that Mr Freeze fight where you have to use loads of different ways to damage him and each time, he disables whatever damaged him to make sure you can’t just spam him.

        It wasn’t a case of learning a new skill, but using your knowledge of stealth, gadgets and navigation to find inventive ways of hurting the guy. To me, that sounds like their description of Arkham Origins’ boss fights. We live in hope.

    • http://Idon'tgotone Kazza436

      Hated that one

  • http://Idon'tgotone Kazza436

    I have played the game myself and I love the boss battle. I hate how with normal thugs, Batman beats them easily, whereas this boss battle is terrific. Even and tense. Personally, I think WB Montreal are better game developers for a batman game; their graphics are way better ( especially in cutscenes ), their storyline is better, city layout is better and it’s just a great game.

    Saying this, there are also some errors. In the Xbox 360 version, there are corrupt save files…

    PS3 has some overrides and bugs where after boss battles are completed, the screen goes black and freezes.

    PC has errors in the ventilation part of the game.

    Yet still, after these errors, they can be fixed can’t they? This is just my opinion on how WB did a better job on this game, especially having not made any other games from this series.

    Good Job WB! Great game, and good luck with your other games!