Batman: Arkham Asylum was groundbreaking in its own right. With upgradable equipment, impressive CG and its unique detective mode, the players actually felt like they were a part of the Batman universe. The success of the first title has guaranteed a place in gaming history, but Rocksteady Games has not settled for a one time hit. With the announcement of Batman: Arkham City, Rocksteady has taken the next leap in gaming evolution with open world “sandbox” like gameplay that is set to bring fans to their knees.
The first big change you will notice from the first game will be the large open expanse of Arkham City. Each newly introduced villain has carved a piece of the city for themselves and a thoroughly involved turf war has an ongoing effect on the defined spaces that each criminal mastermind has claimed for themselves.
Dax Ginn, Marketing Game Manager at Rocksteady Games has said:
If you move into Joker’s territory, you get a very Joker-ized experience, and all the artwork on the buildings – whether that’s graffiti, signage, or whatever it might be – gives you a dense kind of Joker experience. So our art team has really put a lot of effort in making that sort of transition between one turf zone to another – really helping the player feel like they’re making a physical transition into another emotional space.
With the return of such beloved villains as the Joker, Dr. Zsasz, and Harley Quin being joined by the likes of Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, the Riddler and more, Batman: Arkham City has an “evil for all seasons.” Catwoman is set to join the caped crusader in his fight to free the city of such evil forces.
With the new “Detective Mode 2.0” at his fingertips, Batman has an even easier time spotting baddies from hundreds of feet in the air, this will play a pivotal role in the game as Batman can now make use of the newly designed flight mechanic, allowing for easier access across the city.
Speaking of accessing the city, the new open world gameplay will be “load-free” as long as the player does not enter a building, allowing a smooth transition from one area to the next. Ginn said that:
Everywhere that’s open to the sky is available to the player from the off. So they can go anywhere they want and that was the emotional feeling that we wanted to convey; you’re Batman, you can do what you want. That’s the empowering thing that Arkham Asylum didn’t really deliver because it was such a linear, tight, intense story. It’s all open, all the time. Our technical director was like, ‘What? You want an open-world that’s open all the time that’s five times bigger than anything we’ve done before? Are you crazy?
The rumored multiplayer will not make an appearance in this addition to the Batman gaming world but Rocksteady is not completely ruling it out for future instalments.
Ginn went on to say:
We considered it pretty briefly and then realised that it would have hit and hurt our production and also it didn’t really make a lot of sense for a game that is so single character-centric. I can totally see that multiplayer is a super popular thing and online playability seems to be growing and something that people desire. So I can’t say that what’s going to happen down the track, but for Arkham City we’re focused on the single-player experience.
While I would have loved to have seen a good multiplayer experience integrated into the vastly spectacular open world of Arkham City, I would much rather Rocksteady get their bearings in this new format before plunging into the online multiplayer world. At least it’s an option down the road. For now though, let’s all drool with excitement over what is sure to be one of 2011’s best games.
Check out Ginn’s full interview with CVG here.