With the conclusion to Rocksteady’s Arkahm trilogy, Batman Arkham Knight, having been revealed for a short while now, gamers are hungry for information on what will certainly be one of the biggest games of 2014. So, to feed those cravings here is everything we know about Batman Arkahm Knight.
Well I guess you can call it current-gen now, but the fact of the matter is, Batman Arkham Knight will only be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Why I hear you ask. Well look at it like this, the batmobile itself in Arkahm Knight, a fundamental part of the gameplay that players can drive and summon upon command, is 160mb of data. That amount of data alone would only just scrape onto an Xbox 360, which gives you a pretty good idea of how detailed and ambitious the game is going to be. Another breathtaking fact about why the game is exclusive to next generation platforms is that one singular character within Arkham Knight has the same amount of polygons that the entirety of Arkham Asylums environment, the first entry into the Arkham franchise that was released in 2009. Of course the hardware has moved on since 2009 but that is an indication again into the finite details that Rocksteady are devoting to each and every character within the game, only achievable by harnessing the power of next generation hardware. The next-gen exclusivity of the game also sheds light on why Rocksteady was not primarily involved with the latest instalment in the franchise Batman Arkham Origins, developed by WB Montreal that released late last year. Rocksteady clearly has this grand and ambitious vision that needed time to become a reality, and it seemed that time has amounted to three years. Obviously WB green lit the project but realised that the time scale was far too long to keep the franchise dead in the water, that is were Arkham Origins came in. Rocksteady had an idea of how they wanted to conclude their story but realised they needed time and power to reach this grand crescendo that is Arkham Knight. What excites me the most about the next generation exclusivity is that the nature of the game and the extensive scope they knew could only be achieved through next generation hardware, which amasses huge anticipation and excitement as to the scale and vision Rocksteady have created.
Batman Arkham Knight takes place one year after the events Arkham City, the second instalment in the franchise. A level of hope and order has returned to the streets of Gotham as batman is at the peak of his powers and crime is significantly reduced. However, Gotham falls into a pit of devastating panic and chaos as Scarecrow announces he has planted bombs across the city laced with his enhanced fear toxin. With that threat comes a city-wide evacuation of Gotham’s six million inhabitants, leaving police and a certain caped crusader to combat the terrorist threat and the mass amounts of criminals now roaming loose throughout Gotham. With the city now a battleground, a collection from batman’s famous rogues gallery form an alliance as they come to realise they share one goal, kill the batman. They each have their own agenda as to why the want the bat gone, but they all realise that Gotham can never truly be under there control without the permanent removal of batman. It is far from a stable and unified alliance, there are imperfections Rocksteady have stated, but they all have one common goal. The game takes place on one night and the story promises to be a more emotional and character driven focus, exploring the mentality of the man behind the mask and how that impacts upon his psyche. Long lasting friendships will be tested as Bruce deals with an attack on Gotham and the batman. In terms of who is crafting the story, legendary writer Paul Dini, writer of various batman comics and the first two Arkham games, will not be returning for Arkham Knight. Instead for the first time, Rocksteady has its own in-house team of writers that are working closely with Sefton Hill, the game director, and DC to craft the story.
Initially many people believed the title of the game was merely a reference to batman himself, with the maintaining of the trademark Arkham name. The name however is rife with metaphorical meaning and is the name of a brand new character Rocksteady and DC have created titled, The Arkham Knight. His identity is unknown and Rocksteady have stressed this is a entirely new character that fits perfectly into their narrative, despite rumours and speculation that the Arkham Knight is a pre-existing character within the DC universe. The one image of the character and information about him that has surfaced explains that he uses a militaristic suit similar to batman’s with the Arkham logo painted on his chest and firearms. He appears to be depicted as the opposite to batman in terms of motivations and actions and will certainly be a formidable foe.
The biggest edition to the beloved Arkham formula of gameplay is a drivable batmobile across Gotham, a map five times as large as Arkham City divided into three islands. The batmobile can be summoned to your location instantly as it tears through buildings, tours over cars and sends criminals quivering in their boots. The batmobile is virtually indestructible as criminals will try and bombard you with bullets but will bounce of like they were plastic. When your enemies decide to joyride in cars or try to escape your watchful eye, you can engage them in a chase with drifting and boost functionalities. When close enough you can fire no-lethal projectiles that bring the vehicle to a stop, in which you burst out of the car and engage in seamless free-flow combat. The combat mechanics have virtually remained the same at its core, but now you can perform quick strikes to keep the combat alive, pick up weapons of the floor and use them against your foes and use the environment around you to deliver brutal blows. The ability to throw enemies has returned from Arkham Asylum, now allowing you to direct the throws more accurately. Expect to see new animations and enhanced fluidity in combat with up to fifty enemies on-screen at once. The traversal system has been altered also to accommodate for the widened streets required to cruise around in the batmobile. The amount of time spent gliding before you reach the ground has been increased drastically with batman’s new suit allowing steeper dives and climbs whilst gliding. You can now fire the line launcher mid glide to create a vantage point, and quick fire gadgets can also be used whilst gliding which triggers a slow motion sequence. The grapnel will return as a handy piece of batman’s arsenal allowing you to fire it whilst gliding to perform a quick 180 degree turn, which again enhances the traversal element of the game significantly. In terms of the invisible predator aspect of the gameplay, new additions have been implemented to enhance your abilities. If you have remained undetected you can perform a fear takedown which triggers slow motion and allows you to swiftly move to another enemy or enemies if they in range, to deliver another takedown. This feature will likely increase the pace of these encounters and simply just make you feel even more bad-ass as batman. Another next generation capability which Rocksteady are employing is the seamless transition between cinematics and gameplay, completely destroying the loading times of entering buildings for example. Moving onto the collectible side of the gameplay, Riddler is returning in Arkham Knight, springing new traps and challenges upon the dark knight, some that even involve the batmobile itself. Riddler’s motives and agenda remain unclear but expect those green trophies to be returning. The voice cast of the game is also a significant aspect with Kevin Conroy reprising his role as the batman, with Nolan North also returning as the Penguin and Troy Baker is back as Two-Face. The multiplayer component in Arkahm Origins will not be returning in Arkham Knight as Rocksteady believe it is purely a single player experience that does not require multiplayer.
One of the main criticisms with Batman Arkham Origins is with the addition of scope, came the loss of detail and sense of population which Arkham City captured. Rocksteady states that this certainly won’t be the case when it comes to Arkham Knight. Even though there has been a city-wide evacuation, the city is still occupied by hundreds of gang members flooding the streets causing anarchistic destruction. It will feel alive, dense, vibrant and populated, through the sheer level of detail and polish but also through the amount of characters and events occurring on-screen. The down pour of rain will add a moody and drizzled aesthetic to the city, with helicopters piercing through the rain and floodlights dominating the skyline. The level of realistic detail to the city makes the game more authentic and believable as Rocksteady’s studio director states that “you can see interiors of buildings as you fly past, and you can actually see inside, through windows, into some of the buildings.” Also some of those buildings will be accessible to the player.
So there you have it, everything we know about Batman Arkham Knight. Are you guys excited to get your hands on the game, has it even convinced people to invest in next generation hardware? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for further updates.