With the critical and financial success Batman: Arkham Asylum under their belts, Rocksteady Studios is setting their sights even higher, planning to give players the opportunity to patrol an entire city. With Batman: Arkham City, the developers are bringing their fans the same story-driven experience as the first game, set within a game area five times the size of Arkham Asylum. It seems that every game these days has a multiplayer component tacked on, but Rocksteady is confident that the announcements they'll soon be making will more than make up for the lack of one.
We would like to think that in a perfect world, major games arrive at including a multiplayer portion due to an evolution of gameplay, or an inspired vision. But more often than not, a less than perfect online game mode leaves a poor taste in players' mouths, and suspicions that the addition was made for financial reasons, not artistic ones.
So while we commend Rocksteady for sticking to their guns and stating that Arkham City will be a singleplayer game, we can't help but be a bit disappointed that we won't be able to take on our friends as the Dark Knight.
From a business point of view, multiplayer modes keep players involved and less likely to trade in the game for something else. Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive might be a bit unhappy to hear that the developers won't be budging on their singleplayer stance, but statements made in a recent interview with CVG show that Rocksteady still has a few tricks up their sleeve.
Rocksteady's Marketing Game Manager Dax Ginn explained that the next Arkham City announcements will still surprise their fans, and reassured them that the decision to leave out multiplayer wasn't made lightly:
"In terms of replayability or filling out a single-player story with additional features, there are more announcements that we're going to make, which I think will solve that problem...Well, I don't feel it's a problem but I think we've got a pretty decent chunky game.
"In addition to that, we didn't want to do a multiplayer game because it would have meant splitting the team in half really - having guys focusing on the multiplayer mode while the other half focused on the single-player game. I think that would have resulted in two average games rather than one awesome game."
The story of Arkham Asylum was one of the reasons we loved the game, and Ginn made it clear that exceeding the size and scope of the first game's story is where the developers found more than enough of a challenge to keep them occupied:
"That was probably our biggest fear; making a game world that's five times bigger than Arkham Island. It's a huge technical and creative challenge for us but as soon as we made that decision we were absolutely committed to making sure everywhere you turn in Arkham City there's story coming at you.
"Then, on top of that, building missions and genuine gameplay that feed into that game world so that you never get to the point where you're flippantly doing side-missions that have got nothing to do with the main story."
So now that Rocksteady has confirmed they're doing their best to give a satisfying singleplayer campaign, imaginations can be turned to the nature of the forthcoming announcements. What additions to the game could have fans asking 'multi-what?'
Adding in a system similar to inFamous 2's creation mode would certainly increase the game's longevity, giving players the ability to generate content for the online community.
The truth is, Rocksteady blew all expectations away with Arkham Asylum, so any guesses could be way off the mark. With a tease like that though, it doesn't seem like Ginn is referring to DLC.
We'll bring you any more details as they arrive, until Batman: Arkham City arrives on October 18 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.