Sony has announced that Batman: Arkham Knight will be available for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers in September. The addition of the final entry in Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy has been warmly received, with the 2015 title a still-impressive graphical powerhouse that plays beautifully (well, aside from the Batmobile bits). But could Arkham Knight getting some attention be a hint that Rocksteady are finally ready to announce their follow-up?
It’s been more than four years since their last full game (leaving aside the brief Arkham VR), and over that time we’ve been busy speculating what’s up their sleeve. By far the most common theory is that Rocksteady are hoping to do for Superman what they did for Batman. Prior to the release of Arkham Asylum a decade ago, no developer had ever truly captured the essence of the Caped Crusader in a video game, and to date there’ve been no genuinely great Superman titles. Could they work their Midas touch again and figure out how to spin a compelling game around an invincible, ultra-powerful character?
Perhaps, but the latest we’ve heard is that Rocksteady may, in fact, be working on a co-operative multiplayer Justice League title. Details are scarce, but it seems as if each player will take control of one member of the League and face off against problems that only superheroes teaming up together can solve.
Reportedly, the studio wants to make sure they “nail” Superman first, but if they can get this working, it’d be a dream video game experience. It’s a notion that’s been backed up by the occasional hint on social media, too, but also sounds as if its thunder may have been slightly stolen by Marvel’s Avengers, which seeks to provide a similar team-focused PvE experience.
There’s also the simple fact that we’re very late into the current console generation. The Playstation 5 and Scorpio will be announced early next year and probably released in time for Christmas 2020, so it’s possible Rocksteady have shifted development onto the upcoming consoles rather than limit themselves to the ageing technical specs of the PS4 and Xbox One.
Whatever the case, it’s curious that someone at Rocksteady and Warner Bros has decided that the time is ripe for players to reacquaint themselves with the studio’s marvelous take on Batman, his rogues gallery and Gotham City. Let’s see if it proves significant.