Thanks to our friends over at the EU PlayStation Blog we now know some new details about Batman: Arkham City, RockSteady’s follow up to one of the best game we have ever played. One of the first things we find out is that there are just some things you will have to play the game to find out, think the Scarecrow missions from Batman: Arkham Asylum. The folks at Rocksteady all but confirmed that there will be similar freaky twist like this in Arkham City but declined to go into any details.
There have been lots of changes in Gotham since we last were there, former Warden of Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharp, has been elected mayor of Gotham and has all the inmates from the Asylum to Arkham City. It always seems that the people that do the good work never get any recognition and the fools always get promoted. Batman has had to stand by and watch this happen and he has already been preparing himself for the inevitable sh^!storm that will eventually come his way with that many psychos in one place. Just from a pure scale perspective, Arkham City is five times bigger than the Asylum we did so much damage in the last time and apparently most of it will be wide open to explore as soon as the game starts. Rocksteady’s marketing game manager, Dax Ginn, was quoted as saying that “Anything that is open to the sky is open to player right from the off”. He went on to say “Nobody tells Batman where to go so it was important for us to give that freedom right at the start. The interiors are gated and will open as a result of narrative progression”. We really like that idea and really hate artificial barriers that developers often use to keep you out of places until the story is ready for you to go there, if you can get to it from the air then you can get to it from the start of the game.
The folks at Rocksteady took a particularly interesting strategy when it came to the game’s pacing. They decided to hit you with everything all at once from the start and then let you figure out how and when to handle each situation. They were clear to point out that Arkham City is NOT a sandbox game but it’s not your standard linear gameplay either, it falls somewhere in between. For this kind of game that makes perfect sense, you want players to have the ability to make decisions and move around with a decent amount of freedom while still driving your narrative at a good pace. In order to maintain that pace Batman: Arkham City won’t be filled with tons of frivolous collection missions that have you running around looking for stuff while all hell is breaking loose in Gotham because that’s not what Batman would do. There will be side missions but they focused on creating a really tight core narrative that is both robust and compelling.
When it comes to traversing such a large space, I mean it is an entire city after all Batman has several ways of getting around, one of the quickest being using his Bat Claw to catch the corner of buildings and use that to propel him to areas that would otherwise be unreachable. You can even hook onto patrol helicopters and hang out on the landing gear as everything goes nuts just below you. They also noted that Batman: Arkham City will feature a significant amount of conversational dialogue much more it seems than in Arkham Asylum. Unlike a lot of follow-ups, it looks like Batman: Arkham City is going to be a true sequel with the events of the first game tying directly into that of the second. You will see some of the same characters from the first game but you will notice that they have evolved and gained new skills and moves since the last time you faced them.
Rocksteady has been listening to us fans and they have really put a lot of work into one of the few complaints that people actually had with the first game, Detective Mode. People really liked it, but the complaint was that since it changed your perception it took away from the game’s stunning visuals which is a bit nitpicky but accurate none the less. The team never thought about removing it because that’s what Batman does he gets all detective on stuff, but they did look at why people responded the way they did. Rocksteady found that most people issues with it came because it didn’t feel like a tool; it felt like a bit of an exploit because of the large amount of info it gave you (which I had no problem with by the way). They felt like they didn’t balance it out enough and so in Arkham City it looks like Detective Mode will be toned back a bit to make it less of a crutch for us players, but I am sure we are all up to the challenge right?
Batman: Arkham City looks set to more than match its predecessor and perhaps outdo it, October can’t come soon enough.
[source link=”http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2011/03/11/arkham-city-new-screenshots-and-details/”]EU PS Blog[/source]