Recently Rocksteady and Warner Bros have been running around the internet snatching up domains like the little green men snatched up food in Golden Axe. They’ve been purchasing many red herrings and obviously some genuine ones. Most seem related to the title of a new Batman game, Arkham Universe, Batman Arkham Origins and Batman Arkham Knight have all been purchased. A couple seem to be related to the Nolan films with Arkham Rises and such also being snapped up. All of this has led many to believe that we aren’t that far away from an announcement for a new Batman Arkham game. With the series being as highly regarded as it is, and with innovation dripping from the orifices like a teenager’s greasy pores, Max and Ruaidhri saw it was time to start getting their hopes up and sat down to discuss their wants and hopes for the new Arkham game.
[This is a co-written piece by Max and Ruaidhri, items 1-3 are Max’s and 4-6 are Ruaidhri’s]
1. Scarecrow as the villain
As described in a previous article, the Scarecrow sections of Arkham Asylum were some of my favourites. So much so that I would want to see Dr Crane implemented into an Arkham sequel: not as a standalone-villain, but as its main antagonist. This would allow for more of those lysergic episodes, of Batman desperately clinging on to his psyche, fighting not only demons but those of his own mind. Perhaps the entire game mechanic could be changed, and we see an Eternal Darkness-like sanity meter stripping Bruce of his strength as the game progresses. It is the Dark Knight’s mind – after all – that is most damaged. And what better way to show it than to pitch him against the Scarecrow. “And at the end of fear… oblivion.”
2. A more compact game
I have a sneaking suspicion ‘Arkham 3’ will have an even bigger game world than Arkham City. Let’s call it Arkham City version 2.0. I also surmise the scale of the world led, in part, to the diminished quality of City (in comparison to Asylum, respectively). The pace of the story suffered, and the amount of Riddler trophies was excessive, to say the least. This may be personal preference, and perhaps there are many who would disagree with me, but a more focused game world would work wonders. Arkham Asylum with Arkham City’s size, maybe? Alright, I’ll admit it… I want Arkham Asylum version 2.0, dammit.
3. A narrative twist
There’s bound to be one – Arkham City did, after all, have an excellent opening (if you ignore the Catwoman DLC) and a ground-breaking ending. So what if it continues that trend? How about a Dark Knight Returns/Dark Knight Rises theme, with an older Bruce at the beginning of the game? This could lead on to the old-aged caped crusader donning his suit again (and building his abilities and strength as the game progresses) or even treating the game as a full on flash-back. Perhaps the rumoured prequel (Joker invading City Hall) could be the flashback, cleverly tying up the events of Asylum and Arkham (with old, present-time Bruce resolving the secondary mission stories of Arkham City). Paul Dini’s out, unfortunately. Let’s just hope Rocksteady don’t hire Damon Lindelof.
4. Expanded DC Universe
With the villains of the DC Universe being wonderfully incorporated into the Arkham games, be it with main character treatment or Riddler biographies, it would be nice to see some inclusion of the DC Universe Heroes. Now by no means am I suggesting that there should be an option to play as Booster Gold, however, the inclusion of Easter Egg nods or just some rounding of world of Batman would be nice to see. We had a brief introduction to Robin in the Arkham City story and he was playable in the Challenge Maps, but other than that you do start to feel like Batman is the only superhero in the world, which is something the comics have clearly never stuck with. Batman deals with his own messes and likes to have Gotham to himself, but with the excellent job Rocksteady did with Villains, it would be nice to see the Heroes get a look in too.
Now I do not expect this one to go down well with anyone else, but I personally love Co-Op gaming, it’s a passion of mine and on the most part the only multiplayer I ever play. Experiencing a story with someone else, having some company during those “Oh Shit” moments and generally not feeling like gaming is a lonely insular past time is just great.
There were rumours Arkham City was going to have Co-Op when Robin was announced as a playable character – this turned out to be false and Robin wasn’t even a main story character but just a Challenge Map character. The best inclusion of Co-Op that shut up fans who were complaining has to be Portal 2, a Co-Op experience that was lacking in story but kept gameplay mechanics and had this little side line in Co-Op separate to the main game. This is what I want from the new Arkham game, I don’t want the main story ruined, but just some consideration for multiplayer would be nice. With the combat being so fluid and just a joyous use of choreographed violence, I can only dream of how awesome this would be with Batman and Robin doing tag team moves, rolling over each other’s backs and just kicking twice the arse with twice as much style.
6. More Easter Eggs
I mentioned above during point 4 how well Rocksteady did with the Riddler trophies and those giving back story to a number of Villains, the majority of which don’t even feature in the game. I have been a Batman fan since I was little, I have mentioned before on this site that my first ever word was Batman after my elder brothers sang the theme from the Adam West series to me in my high chair. I’ve read the comics, I’ve watched the films and I’ve seen the cartoons. I would like there to be even more nods to the fans of the series than there have been already. I’m not one of those people who stops liking a film or band when they get popular, that’s stupid, but in an ongoing art form like a game series it would be nice to have some nods to the people who have experienced the story from outside the one media form of games.
Previous games have done this with aspects like Hush, or Bain making off-handed comments about breaking backs or even the inclusion of Calendar Man in the cell in Arkham City recounting stories from comics. I’m selfish and greedy, I want more! I don’t want knowing nods or winks to the camera when a particular line is read or something as gauche as Batman slapping Robin like in that tired and over used meme. But I do want some special aspects that only fans or the educated in Batman would get, almost like a thank you for sticking with Batman even during some really, really bad story arcs.
What would you want in the new Arkham game? Leave a comment below!