Rocksteady Games, makers of the hugely successful Arkham Asylum, and Arkham City (Arkham Origins being the result of the efforts of Warner Bros. Montreal) line of games taking place in the world of DC Comics’ Batman, today stoked the fire of enthusiasm over their upcoming chronicle in the story of Gotham City’s caped crusader. Rocksteady promises this will be “the ultimate Batman simulator,” and that all the elements needed to fulfill that promise are in place with the newest generation of gaming consoles.
Players will come to find the world of Arkham Knight is massive. According to Rocksteady, it’s five times bigger than that of the previous title, and for good reason; players are going to need all the extra space to pilot the Batmobile, which is a first in the franchise’s history.
This evolution to open-world gameplay began after the team decided to break away from the traditional linear gameplay found in the original Arkham Asylum to explore giving players extra freedom. Now with a completely open sandbox to play in, gamers are wondering how Rocksteady is going to balance the unlimited freedom with the complex, emotional narrative the previous titles have been able to deliver, made even more interesting by the fact that Gotham City is now under siege and the streets have been evacuated.
Rocksteady Marketing Manager Guy Perkins expressed his optimism to IGN.
I think we’ve always taken pride in the stories we tell. We try to create that very cinematic story-telling experience through the game.
Arkham City, the franchise’s second installment, allowed players the freedom to swing from rooftop to rooftop using Batman’s famous grappling hook, among other new toys given to the Dark Knight during the campaign. With the addition of the Batmobile in Arkham Knight, players will be given a chance to explore one piece of Wayne tech that Perkins admitted the studio had been thinking about since the beginning.
The big thing that was always missing for us was the Batmobile. It was always missing but wouldn’t have worked in Asylum or City, so to build an open-world around that was crucial.
One feature the previous titles touted with pride was a compelling storyline telling a much deeper, richer story of Batman and the difficult choices he is often forced to make. Perkins revealed that Arkham Knight will be no different.
The narrative is still very defined, though, there’s definite acts that you clearly understand as you go through Arkham Knight. We’ve been conscious to create a rich story that’s interesting for newcomers and for fans alike. You can go off and do your side quests when you like, but it’s still a linear story in the sense that it has a beginning, middle and end.
But perhaps one of the biggest challenges was who to cast at the story’s main villain. Fans will remember that, SPOILER ALERT, the Joker has been taken out of the picture and is no longer able to spread his chaotic influence over Gotham’s crime syndicate. The absence of his chaos has allowed criminals in Gotham to get organized, creating a much more complex criminal organizatuon for Batman to fight. For Perkins, there was only one logical choice for which baddie would take up the Joker’s mantle as the game’s main villain.
Joker going was a challenge, but we left Scarecrow out of Arkham City for a reason so he’s back in as the big bad and it’s great for us to bring him back. He has so many iconic moments in the first game, to have him back as the Big Bad is really cool. He’s a great mirror for Batman, as they both use fear as a weapon of choice.
The upcoming title takes place one year after the events of Arkham City and introduces a new enemy, the Arkham Knight, who seeks to take down Batman while standing up for everything the game’s hero stands against.
Perkins continued his optimism:
We gave them Gotham City, we gave them Batman at the height of his powers and we gave them the Batmobile. I think those three elements come together to make a great game. If people go away feeling like it was awesome, we’ve done a good job. If people walk away thinking this is the ultimate Batman simulator, then our job is complete.
Arkham Knight is slated for release in the summer of 2015 on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.
Will you be in line the night this title drops? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Rocksteady]