The past few years have seen the releases of quite a few games that seemingly came out of nowhere, then received rave reviews. In the case of Batman: Arkham Asylum, even though it may not have completely flown under everyone’s radars, the game has received universal praise, including a very favorable review from Game Rant. Due to the success of Arkham Asylum, its sequel — Batman: Arkham City — has been receiving much more recognition than its predecessor did pre-launch.
As Batman: Arkham City’s October release comes closer, developer Rocksteady Studios has kept gamers informed of the changes that will be seen in the sequel, as well as the improvements that will be present. Whether this is through discussions of their choice to omit multiplayer, the game’s new focus on outdoor environments, or the adjustments that will be made to make boss battles and Detective Mode more enjoyable, Rocksteady seems determined to iron out every flaw they saw in the first game, including its linear nature.
Dax Ginn, Rocksteady’s marketing manager, spoke in a recent interview about the structure of Arkham Asylum, and how it will be changing in Arkham City.
“All of that ambient conversation you hear through the surveillance system, all that’s been written to ensure that we’re telling a story all the time. Whereas Arkham Asylum, because it’s such a linear game, we could tell a really focused narrative, because we knew where the player was. With a game structure like this [Arkham City] you never know where they’re going to be or where they’re heading off to, so we kind of throw story at the player at all times. That’s why we developed these systems to make sure the narrative is always flowing and not just delivered in these canned cinematic chunks.”
While the linear nature of the first game may have got on the nerves of some gamers, as a whole, it did not end up detracting from the experience. This news that Arkham City will be much more open-ended and explore a new method of storytelling is rather intriguing. While it is still possible that this new method could come across as impersonal due to the fact that it will focus less on cinematic cutscenes, it could also help to further immerse the player in the game’s narrative. Rather than being spoon-fed every little plot detail, the gamer is instead relied on to observe the world around them in order to make sense of what is going on. In that sense it seems as if Batman: Arkham City will place gamers in Batman’s shoes like no other game has been able to achieve.
How do you feel about the shift from a linear narrative to one that gamers will unveil as they explore? Are there any other Batman games that you feel nailed the feeling of playing The Caped Crusader?
Batman: Arkham City glides onto shelves on October 18, 2011, for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
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