It’s been widely understood for ages that Rocksteady have been secretly working away on a next-gen Batman game for a while now, but that doesn’t mean that yesterday’s announcement hasn’t got us wildly excited for the Dark Knight’s debut on the PS4 and Xbox One with Batman: Arkham Knight. So let’s dive into what we’ve been able to find out about the game since its reveal.
1: Rocksteady are back
Warner Bros Montreal had a fair go at making a decent Batman game with Origins, but it paled in comparison to the Rocksteady games. Frequent combat issues saw the combo system losing its rhythm and counters failing to register. The fact that WB Montreal have stated they’re not bothering to fix any of the remaining issues because they’re working on DLC now shows poor form too –admittedly, this will have come from upstairs. With Rocksteady back at the helm, in charge of the fighting engine they created, we’re confident Batman is going to be nailing those 30+ combos with ease.
2: Batman isn’t the Arkham Knight
Nope, he’s the Dark Knight remember? The titular Arkham Knight is a new character developed by Rocksteady themselves. Can we expect some sort of insane inmate version of Batman? We’ll be hearing more over the coming months, that’s to be sure. Hopefully, he’s not just the joker in a mask. Actually…
3: Scarecrow is back
The 2.5D stages in the original Arkham Asylum were fantastically realised sections that nicely broke up the regular gameplay whenever Scarecrow used his gas to force Batman, or more accurately, Bruce Wayne to confront his darkest fears. With old sack-face threatening to unleash the nightmares on the entire city this time, you can be sure Bats is going to get a dose or two.
4: It’s out this year
We wouldn’t have been massively surprised to see Warner Brothers not commit to any sort of release date, but we’re enormously excited that the trailer ended by promising us the game this year. Don’t get us wrong, it’ll be towards the back end of the year like the last few Arkham games, but we’re happy to wait for Rocksteady’s return.
5: The Batmobile is yours
YES! We’ve been dying to get behind the wheel of the Batmobile for years. To Rocksteady’s credit, they could have half-assed some vehicle sections into any of their games, but it would seem they’ve been waiting to fit it in with the game world and –fingers crossed- it’ll handle like a dream. Early leaks suggest that players will be able to call on the Batmobile at any point and the CG trailer suggests that we’ll be able to hop in without it even stopping –this will never get boring. Or how about using the car’s momentum to build up some speed for to eject into a huge glide? Frankly, this has ‘take my money’ written all over it.
6: A triple A, multiplatform title
This is no port of an existing title like Call of Duty or Need for Speed, this is a full-blooded next-gen game. As much as we’re looking forwards to Destiny, we’ve no real idea of what to expect. Infamous: Second Son was my personal pick for most anticipated game of 2014, but now, just weeks away from Sucker Punch’s superhero title, I’m dreaming of a return to Gotham.
7: Use gadgets mid-flight
Details are thin on the ground, but this snippet of leaked information has enticing prospects, such as Batman dropping explosive gel from above to set up traps or using batarangs to thin out the numbers of larger goon groups before swooping down with a traditional double-boot to the face.
8: No more Joker
He’s served us well in the Arkham games to be damn sure, but maybe the Clown Prince of Crime needs to stand aside so Gotham’s other baddies can be fleshed out a bit more. The trailer gave us a few glimpses of the likes of Penguin (still with that bottle smashed into his eye), Two-Face and Harley Quinn and the early narration seems to be from Scarecrow, so that’s quite a few confirmed already. We could do with seeing a bit more innovation from the boss fights too instead of dodge rolling, countering and offing goons while they take a breather. More like the Mr. Freeze fight in Arkham City please.
9: A larger world
The new Gotham is reportedly five times bigger than in Origins and maybe we’ll see some surrounding areas. It would be nice to see larger numbers of regular citizens on the streets as Gotham felt way too empty last time around. That said, when they see us tearing around in the Batmobile they’re probably going to want to stay indoors.
10: The final Arkham game
There’s a reason Arkham is still in the title, Rocksteady have been crafting their games into a trilogy. So with no sequels to worry about, all bets are off as to who’ll still be standing by the game’s finale. Will they have the balls to kill the bat?