Now that Warner Bros. has announced their next superhero game in Batman: Arkham Origins, the studio founded to bring it to life – Warner Bros. Montreal – aren’t keeping their excitement quiet any longer. And considering the pressure and expectations on any game bearing the Batman name these days, enthusiasm is more than welcome.
The story of Arkham Origins is simple enough: eight of the world’s deadliest assassins descend on Gotham City on Christmas Eve, all gathered to kill the Batman. But the newest trailer shows that designing a story for such a revered (and still budding) franchise isn’t as easy as drafting a strong pitch.
While Arkham Origins isn’t a true origin story of either Arkham Asylum or the Batman (the developers have stayed away from calling the game a true ‘Year One’ story), the game’s writer Dooma Wendschuh explains that the campaign will show Batman’s transition from a “rough around the edges” vigilante to the surgically precise dark knight fans know and love.
The story won’t be about how Batman and Joker ended up going head-to-head in Asylum, and later City, but of how the component pieces of those stories fell into place years beforehand. And as creative director Eric Holmes makes clear, the developers are certainly going to the right place for inspiration.
That source is the comic book line known as “Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight”; a series established in 1989 exploring random case files and stories from Batman’s earlier career. Told largely out of sequence and foregoing the marketing strategy of including other superheroes, the comic line has hosted some of the medium’s greatest writers in history. How well these case files are adapted (indirectly or otherwise) remains to be seen, but no one can claim that the potential isn’t present.
Since a Batman game that follows a young and inexperienced Batman may not be the most satisfying from a gameplay standpoint, it seems that Wendschuh has focused Batman’s growth on thematic and moral grounds, not combat or detective skills. The dark knight that appears in Arkham Asylum has already chosen his side in the fight between chaos and order; but how did he make that choice? We don’t know how much time he’ll have to ponder those thoughts when eight assassins are after his head, but the results could be interesting.
With development duties begin entrusted to Warner Bros. Montreal, not Rocksteady – we assume they’re still at work on their Silver Age Batman title – we’d advise keeping expectations in check. That being said, Arkham City told a Batman story as good as any in the comic books, so if Holmes, Wendschuh, and the rest of their team can do the same, they stand to make a solid game in a genre too often filled with tie-in shovelware.
How do you feel about this new setting for an Arkham game? Is it a story that deserves to be told in a video game, and if so, is WB Montreal’s work on Arkham City: Armored Edition enough experience to be optimistic?
Batman: Arkham Origins will be available on Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC October 25, 2013.
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Source: Game Informer