Gotham has always been a dark, gritty urban metropolis; comics fans often refer to it as “New York at night.” While Chicago may have played the part of Gotham in Batman Begins and its acclaimed sequel, The Dark Knight, the ominous ambiance of a city cloaked in darkness -- a city desperately in need of saving, in need of a hero -- remained, since that atmosphere is so vital to the Batman legend.
Again, the outlook is grim right from the start. The game opens with an interactive cut-scene in which The Joker is wheeled into Arkham alongside Batman and three guards. Nathan Whitman, Associate Producer at Warner Bros., fueled my fears, saying that this would be “Batman’s longest night ever.” Yes, the game takes place over the course of one night. Whitman explained that, as someone who knows the game inside and out, he can complete it in around eight hours -- so he expects that the average (read: casual) gamer will need nearly twice as long to finish a play-through. “It’s a long game,” he told me. You won’t be inside the whole time, though -- the asylum is on Arkham Island, which Whitman called “massive,” and there will be a number of outdoor levels.
On your way to your destination, you cross paths with a chained Killer Croc, who’s definitely beefed up compared to the version we’re familiar with from TAS. All he can growl are a few menacing threats before his handlers turn up the juice on his electric collar, but Whitman hinted that that wasn’t the last of Croc. Once you reach the proper wing, you chat with Commissioner Gordon (sadly, his TAS voice actor doesn’t return, which creates a bit of a jarring disconnect) while the guards take Joker behind closed doors. Of course, he gains the upper hand and subdues the staff, so Gordon then shoots the window into the room to allow you to give chase -- and it’s at that point that The Joker has you right where he wants you.
Whitman then headed down a corridor past some jail cells, the walls of one of which were covered with bright green question marks -- I was told that we’d be seeing a variety of members of the classic rogues’ gallery. This includes Zsasz, a lesser-known foe who is no less intimidating than his more famous counterparts because of a disturbing quirk: for every person he kills, he cuts himself. Four are on his forehead; the would-be fifth victim to complete the count is Batman. Zsasz has put a guard in the electric chair, and the guy’s buddies and co-workers can’t figure out how to free him.
The next bit I saw also offered the player some choice. After crawling through a vent that he ripped the cover off of, Batman found a room filled with guards and prisoners alike -- oh, and Joker’s infamous noxious gas. Whitman took the high road again, but he helped up the men who were hanging on for dear life (including an inmate, whom Batman saved and then promptly bopped on the head). If you save the guys, you get extra XP, but that isn’t necessary. As Whitman moved through the levels, a voice in his ear fed him information -- that’s Oracle, known as Barbara Gordon until The Killing Joke; she helps Batman out in more ways than one in this game, especially because Alfred doesn’t appear in it.
Arkham Asylum is running on the Unreal Engine, and it’s certainly very striking visually. There’s an immense amount of detail -- just check out the screenshots to notice things like Killer Croc’s mottled hide and Joker’s lime green ’do. Because the title is being co-published by Eidos and Warner Bros., London-based developer Rocksteady Studios (of Urban Chaos: Riot Response fame) had the ability to work with WildStorm on the character designs, and they also had access to the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, to do Foley work.
Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel, and as such developer Warner Bros. Montreal is changing the voices of Batman and Joker. "We went in our game back several years [and] we really wanted to cast people that sounded like t...more
Here's today's formerly-live Destructoid Show, on which I wear a bad shirt again. Nintendo had one of their little Nintendo Direct press conference thingies this morning, and a bunch of news came out of that. They're also d...more
Batman battles the relentless Deathstroke in this new teaser trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins, and honestly, that's about all you're going to get. Batman scowls, the sword comes out, and he blocks it with his arm blades li...more