Batman: Arkham Origins Preview — The E3 Primer

The Darkest Night
Arkham Origins Art Director Jeremy Price describes Gotham City as Lower Manhattan, eleven minutes after midnight on the coldest night of the year.  Consequently, Origins retains the gritty darkness typical of a Batman comic book. But it differs from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City with a film noir color palette with lots of contrasts and few mid-grounds. Light and dark are exaggerated, with heavy use of silhouettes and profiles.

The Gotham City of Arkham Origins is designed to look as functional as a real world city, with a ‘lived in’ feel rather than the deserted urban jungle of Arkham City. This not only means a variety of residential, commercial and industrial neighborhoods, but also random street crimes which Batman will be able to stop as he traverses the city. These actions not only earn him the trust and respect of the Gotham PD, but also leads to useful upgrades.

From the onset Batman will be able to traverse the city through the usual means, by gliding and walking on foot. As he collects upgrades, he will also be able to fast travel by means of the Batwing. (There’s still no word on whether he’ll get to play with the Batmobile or other wheeled vehicles, but given the crucial importance of the batmobile to the series, we have to assume it will make some kind of appearance.)”

Finally, each Gotham City location is decorated for Christmas accordingly with “Arkham-ized” aesthetics. They’re a little scarier looking than regular Christmas decorations and reflect the tone of the city.

Batman: Arkham Origins Unanswered Questions

Because of the scant information available, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the Batman: Arkham Origins. To that end, we’ve compiled a rundown of the topics we would like to see answered—hopefully by E3. Be sure to drop us a line in the comments if you’ve any questions you think we missed, that you’d like to have answers to.

What will the combat be like? How will it be improved over the previous games? If Batman is younger, brasher, and raw, how will this be reflected in his fighting skill and he tools he equips? The last thing we want to see is a weaker, less capable Batman. While he doesn’t have the strength of ten men, he certainly has the ability to take on more than ten goons at a time and it would be a shame if he couldn’t fight as well as he can in the other Arkham games. Batman displays a measure of control over his actions in Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, so perhaps having him throw caution into the wind might be a step in the right direction for portraying a younger, less experienced fighter.

What toys will he have? Beyond the Remote Claw, what else will Batman have to play with, and what items will he do without this time around?

Who are the other seven assassins? The only confirmed assassins are Deathstroke and Deadshot. So who will the other six be? And more importantly, how will they interact with the caped crusader? The previous two games did an excellent job of tailoring conflictsto the personalities and strengths of the enemies, for instance in Arkham Asylum, where Batman’s interactions with the Scarecrow consisted of stealth, side-scrolling missions. At no point did Batman and the Scarecrow face off in physical combat as he did with the other villains. With that in mind, who would you like to see him fight?

Arkham? I thought this was Gotham City? So it’s clear that they’re calling the game Arkham Origins because of its place in the greater Arkhamverse. The two previous games delved deep into the lore of Arkham itself as a setting. How will it play into Arkham Origins?

What about multiplayer? The previous games didn’t have it, but word on Kotaku is that the game will feature some form of multiplayer. Details remain sketchy, and none of it can be verified. One possibility that comes to mind are challenge leaderboards, which allow players to keep a tally of their skills at beating up mobs of bad guys and comparing their scores to those of their friends online.

Batman Beyond

Batman: Arkham Origins is both a risk, and a chance. It’s a risk for the franchise by putting it in the hands of an untested new studio. It’s a chance for WB Games Montreal to prove themselves and turn it into an origin story of their very own. Imagine a scenario where two studios—Rocksteady and WB Games Montreal—can tagteam creating quality Batman games with slightly different visions, similar to how Treyarch and Infinity Ward manage the Call of Duty series. That’s a good thought for Batman fans.

What are you curious to learn about in Batman: Arkham Origins? Leave your questions in the comments section below.

Batman: Arkham Origins is out October 25 for PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U. Be sure to check out our other coverage of E3.


Read more of Ian Miles Cheong’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter:@stillgray and @gamefrontcom.

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5 Comments on Batman: Arkham Origins Preview — The E3 Primer

R.J.

On May 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I really hope it turns out that the other project Rocksteady is working on is a sequel to Arkham City and that WB Montreal is making this game so Rocksteady can focus on the extra burden of working with next-gen hardware. Kevin Conroy let it slip that he was working on the next Arkham game, and later clarified in a deleted twitter post that he was referring to a game other than Origins, so it seems possible that Warner Bros. might actually be smart enough to keep that studio working on Batman games. It would make sense since I’m sure WB wants to stick to that largely arbitrary two-year dev cycle, and making a next-gen game would significantly lengthen the time for Rocksteady to make a game.

Rho

On May 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm

*Of the assassins, only one has been revealed thus far—Deathstroke The Terminator*

I believe they also showed Deadshot in the cinematic trailer.

Ian Miles Cheong

On May 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm

They did indeed. That was in a previous edit but it got wiped for some reason. Thanks for spotting it, Rho.

quicktooth

On May 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I’d like to learn if Batman will actually be less skilled than in the later (story chronologically) games. An example of the opposite is with Street Fighter games, in which the characters consistently become more powerful and skilled every time a new game is released, NO MATTER if they are prequels or sequels or midquels(?). It’d be REAL SWEET if we could see Batman try out stuff that is cool but ultimately doesn’t work; stuff for interest and flavour (with fun game mechanics), that just don’t work as well in a fight as what Batman ultimately uses later on. Also, WE NEED NEW GAMEPLAY SEQUENCE TYPES like the Scarcrow vs Beat-em-up sequences of Batman Arkham Asylum. The contrast and villain-specific game types (not even gamePLAY types) really MADE that game. Finally- tighter and more polished scripting than Arkham City is a must. That game decended into farce by the end. Arkham Asylum did not (I believe). Tell less if you must, but by God tell it as well as Arkham Asylum- that was a Geniune Batman Story. And we ALL want that.

lol

On May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

And people say COD is the same every year lol. You might as well play the Nintendo game rather than this one.