As his Dark Knight moniker implies, Batman is a hero that likes to keep to the shadows, both for protection and for the element of surprise. Rather than fight thugs out in the open, Batman likes to stalk his prey from catwalks and, in the Arkham franchise’s case, a whole lot of gargoyles.
In Batman: Arkham Origins, new developer Warner Bros. Montreal is going back in time — showing Batman before he becomes “the Great Detective.” However, even though they are going backwards from a story perspective, they are also taking strides to make their game stand out.
One area where Warner Bros. Montreal wants to give Batman: Arkham Origins a unique style is in the lighting design, which they say will have a dark and gritty “film noir” feel. Film noir, for those that might not know, was a genre of film popular in the ’40s and ’50s with films like Double Indemnity and The Maltese Falcon.
Essentially, film noir was a combination of a lot of elements (for a better idea make sure to check out L.A. Noire) but two of its biggest signifiers are a hardboiled detective as a main protagonist and very low-key lighting. Low-key lighting means high contrast with a lot of harsh shadows.
The screenshots for Arkham Origins released thus far do show a higher contrast ratio, even if the prequel appears to carry on the design sensibilities of Rocksteady Studios‘ first games. We know that Warner Bros. Montreal wants to make this Batman game their own, as indicated by the decision not to use Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman, but there’s still plenty more to reveal.
Hopefully by the time an official trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins hits, gamers will have a better idea what the developers mean by film noir.
Do you like the idea of a noir lighting design for a Batman game? Do you want a game that still looks like Arkham City stylistically, or would you like to see Arkham Origins look different?
Batman: Arkham Origins is scheduled for an October 25, 2013 release on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U.