After a lot of speculation and mystery surrounding the next game from acclaimed developer Rocksteady Studios, we can finally put all of the questions to rest: they’re going back to Gotham City…one last time. See the full launch trailer for Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight below, then we’ll jump into the known details!
Announced today through a prominent feature in the latest issue of Game Informer magazine and the above trailer, Arkham Knight is advertised as the “grand finale” of the Batman: Arkham trilogy. Some of you may be confused as this will technically be the fourth released Arkham game, but the latest entry in the series, Arkham Origins was not developed by series originators Rocksteady Studios. Arkham Knight will be a direct continuation, and apparently resolution, of the story started in 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum and continued in 2011’s Batman: Arkham City.
According to the released information, here’s what we know about the forthcoming game:
- While a specific release date isn’t confirmed, the game will be arriving this year. It will likely be in October, the same release month as both Arkham City and Arkham Origins. (GameStop’s preordering page has a date in October listed, but it is as yet unconfirmed.)
- The game will feature a fully open-world Gotham City, purportedly larger than the game map of Arkham City. Gone are the giant walls blocking off the other districts of Gotham!
- Batman’s iconic vehicle, the Batmobile, will be the main mode of transportation around the city, drivable for the first time in the Arkham series. It’s a new design for the car, unique to Arkham Knight.
- Batman appears to be sporting a redesigned version of the “armored” Bat-Suit that appeared in both Arkham Asylum and the “Armored Edition” of Arkham City…and the trailer makes it look like he’ll need it.
- Following up on promises made in Arkham Asylum and clues laid down in Arkham City, the Scarecrow will be the game’s primary antagonist.
- Other confirmed villains appearing in the game are Harley Quinn, the Penguin, and Two-Face, all returning from Arkham City. If the previous games are any indication, this is likely only the beginning of the list.
- Perhaps confirming Azrael’s prophecy from Arkham City (“From the ashes of Arkham, the fires will rage, and Gotham will burn…“), fire features prominently in both the trailer and logo for Arkham Knight.
- The game is once again directed by Sefton Hill, who also directed both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
- The game is strictly a “new-gen” affair, with release only on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. (I’m relieved by this, since it means that the game will not be tied to older hardware limitations, which likely limited the overall scope of Gotham in Arkham Origins.)
- Sefton Hill to the UK’s Guardian: “We’re excited to be developing the game for next-gen platforms. [It] has allowed us to bring to life the design elements that we envisioned from the beginning such as the Batmobile and how it augments Batman’s abilities, to the fully detailed and realized Gotham City.”
- While the voice cast isn’t confirmed, it’s likely that Kevin Conroy will be back as Batman, since he stated on Twitter in mid-2013 that he was working on “the next Arkham game,” not Arkham Origins. Tara Strong, who voiced Harley in both Arkham City and the Netherrealm fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us, will also likely be returning to Joker’s “main squeeze.”
- As of now, it is currently unknown who has written the game’s story. Acclaimed comics creator and animation writer Paul Dini penned the stories for the two previous Rocksteady Arkham games, but he is not expected to return to this game.
While Arkham Origins was a decent game, the critiques of many game reviews focused on the fact that it wasn’t nearly as innovative as the two previous games developed by Rocksteady. As a result, since we now know for a fact that Rocksteady is the development studio in charge of Arkham Knight, high expectations will be placed on the game, just as they were when it was first announced that Arkham Asylum would be getting a sequel. Of course the game we got from that anticipation machine was Arkham City, an experience that surpassed even the loftiest expectations of both diehard gamers and hardcore Batman fans, so it’s likely okay to get a bit excited for what this new game will be offering (typed the Bat-nerd as he grinned from ear-to-ear).
Of course, most fans may start to feel sad when they see that this is marketed as the “grand finale” of the series, at least for Rocksteady, since the studio singlehandedly redeemed a genre of licensed games that most people before had felt produced mid-level experiences at best. Still, the fact that we get Rocksteady devoted fully to the Dark Knight one more time means, at the very least, that Arkham Knight will be an experience to remember, and will likely set the stage firmly for what Batman games, and perhaps adventure games in general, can be on the new video game hardware that people are picking up now.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released later this year for Xbox One, PS4, and PC, and you can bet your Batarang that GeekNation will be keeping a close eye on the remainder of its development leading up to its release!
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