What is Batman: Arkham Origins?


What is Batman: Arkham Origins?
And where the hell is Rocksteady?
So yesterday, Warner Bros revealed Batman: Arkham Origins.
As implied it’s a prequel.
And crucially, it is not being developed by Rocksteady.
In its stead, fledgling studio Warner Bros Montreal is taking up the reigns.
Arkham Origins is released is October 25th 2013.
It will be released for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U.

Put bluntly, what the hell is going on?

You know this is Black Mask because of his mask. It's black.
You know this is Black Mask because of his mask. It's black.Enlarge Enlarge

Behind the scenes, Rocksteady front-man Sefton Hill has given the studio his blessing, stating in an interview with Game Informer that,

"Rocksteady is excited to see WB Games Montreal developing the prequel to the Batman Arkham franchise... We are confident this talented team will craft a fantastic experience, bringing the origins of the Arkhamverse to life."

No real word as to why Rocksteady is off the project.

Elsewhere, Arkham Origins’ Creative Director Eric Holmes, who previously worked on Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (Great!) and Prototype (Worrying.) ventured.

Qwwwwak Qwwwwak Qwwwwak
Qwwwwak Qwwwwak Qwwwwak Enlarge Enlarge

“The challenge for us, coming in after Rocksteady, is to do something which hasn't been done... This is the story of the first time Batman meets certain characters that are very important to him and defines his relationships, which ultimately starts to define him... Nobody's harsher critics about this game than we are and we definitely want it to stand up to the Arkham legacy."

We do know Rocksteady has offered assistance for Tech, Mechanics and Engine, for instance the “Free-Flow Combat” hasn’t been touched. Instant relief, where have you been?! That said new tactics, enemies and gadgets (like the double pronged remote claw) have been introduced.

Same old genre-leading combat mechanics apparently!
Same old genre-leading combat mechanics apparently! Enlarge Enlarge

Detective work, allegedly, will take a more prominent role in Arkham Origins. WB Montreal quote BBC Super Series “Sherlock” as a source of inspiration. Gotham proper will be nearly twice the size of Arkham City and Challenge Rooms are set to return.

Regarding narrative however, WB Montreal has been given carte blance. And it goes a something like....
It’s Christmas Eve in Gotham. Crime Lord Black Mask has put a bounty on a young, unrefined Batman’s head. It's large enough to draw the attention of eight specialised assassins, each of whom stir up the city’s criminal underworld. Expect appearances from Black Mask, Penguin, Alberto Falcone, the Batwing and Deathstroke himself throughout the course of the night!

Personally, while I won’t be sold until I see some honest to god gameplay footage, my major doubts and reservations are certainly allayed. In truth, the arrogant invincibility of Asylum/City Batman was beginning to grate and a rawer, less experienced though still capable fighter is appealing. A renewed focus on investigation and interrogation should offer a much needed pace change while the knowledge the intrinsic gameplay has been carried over offers significant relief.

This. This I want to play.
This. This I want to play. Enlarge Enlarge

Also, the chance to battle a foe of similar/superior skill in Deathstroke aint nothing to sniff at! For all Asylum/City’s magnificence, no-one really stood a chance against Batman, physically.

So, Batman: Arkham Origins – Are you excited?

[Images courtesy of Game Informer]

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