Since its announcement, Batman: Arkham Origins has seen a fair share of criticism, with many gamers claiming the title is little more than a hollow cash grab – especially considering fan-favorite Rocksteady Studios isn’t involved in the project. As a result, Warner Bros. Interactive has faced an uphill battle to convince potential buyers that the title will meet the lofty bar established by Arkham Asylum and Arkham City – and news that franchise star Kevin Conroy will not voice Batman, coupled with the somewhat specious title of “Origins” (even though the game isn’t really a proper origin story), haven’t helped skeptical gamers get on board.
However, following hot on the heels of Comic-Con 2013, where a few new tantalizing details were teased, we’ve now got official confirmation of multiplayer in Batman: Arkham Origins – complete with a trailer detailing the new competitive mode.
At this point, it’s unclear whether or not the online multiplayer offering is the co-op mode that was teased at Comic-Con 2013. We can’t rule out the possibility of story-based co-op (or even co-op challenge rooms), but if this is the only multiplayer mode in Arkham Origins - it’s easy to imagine the online 3 vs. 3 vs. 2 gameplay could be a divisive choice.
For years, gamers have expressed interest in a story-based co-op experience – hoping to zip around an open-world environment with a friend, working together to set traps, distract enemies, and toy with the game’s AI enemies. The story-focused Arkham series has been a welcome respite from the “me too” world of single player games turned platforms for competitive online antics (we’re looking at you Dead Space 2) and while 8-player combat could be intriguing, it isn’t likely to provide the story-based co-op experience that many gamers have been anticipating. We’ll just have to wait and see if Warner Bros. Interactive intends to offer a more intimate co-op experience as well.
Here’s how the Warner Bros. Interactive press release described the mode:
The Batman: Arkham Origins Online mode offers players the chance to hunt as Batman or Robin against the most challenging opponents yet, friends and other gamers online. Players can also take on the role of a Super-Villain Elite and get a peek behind the curtain of what it’s like to side with The Joker or Bane as they establish their legacy by taking down Batman and Robin, and anyone else who gets in their way. Fans will even be able call in the ultimate reinforcement to help turn the tide in any match by playing as The Joker or Bane themselves.
The online component blends the traditional Arkham gameplay with third-person shooter mechanics and is in development by Splash Damage. The online mode will be available for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.
There’s no doubt that the unique Arkham series stealth and combat mechanics could provide for fun, albeit possibly forgettable, online gameplay. That said, the trailer and subsequent press release don’t go into too much detail regarding how exactly the 3 vs. 3 vs. 2 combat will work. The Batman and Robin element (rumored months ago) should be familiar to anyone who spent time playing through prior games (as well as the “Invisible Predator” challenge rooms), but the Bane and Joker team gameplay is a little harder to describe at this point – since it will also feature gunplay (i.e. those “third-person shooter mechanics“) in addition to the series’ standard beat-em-up melee combat.
How exactly the Splash Damage team (known for their work on Brink) intends to balance hand-to-hand combat, stealth takedowns, and firearms – without giving any one element an unfair advantage will be interesting to see. If they nail it, the multiplayer mode could be a fresh alternative for gamers who are tired of the run and gun multiplayer shooter experience – providing something more unique and subtle (like The Last of Us or Assassin’s Creed) for the competitive online arena.
No doubt, Warner Bros. Interactive will be offering further details on the mode in the coming months, so we’ll make sure to update you as we hear more. That is, unless you’re a Wii U player – since it doesn’t sound as though Splash Damage and Warner Bros. Interactive are planning on supporting the mode on Nintendo’s console (at least at launch).
Batman: Arkham Origins releases October 25, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U.
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