Batman: Arkham City was able to make you feel like you’re in the cowl of the Dark Knight while gliding across the infamous prison. This time Warner Bros. Games Montreal wants to open the gates of a walled territory to have Batman, and you, explore a bigger and wider Gotham City. With Christmas Eve as the choosen time and half of the map being a still intact Old Gotham, before the arrival of Hugo Strange, there are good conditions for a mix of old and new with a fresh new light.
The Christmas Eve setting is a precise choice to put next to each other a joyful and hopeful time and the caos that will soon be unleashed after a younger Batman. “It’s a really cool, happy, warm thing and then a really sad thing mixed together to make this ironic image”, explains creative director Eric Holmes. “It’s a beautiful thing in an ugly place. It adds an ironic humor to things without breaking the seriousness of the theme, which is really fun for us”.
“In terms of the timeline, there are aspects of 1930s all over. Like various incarnations of Batman, it’s very consistently in a 1930s style world. But Batman’s technology is clearly from the future. Batman has stuff that we don’t have today”.
The section of the city that will one day become the walled Arkham City prison is still connected to the rest of the city. Matching the area we already explored in Arkham City, this old place still holds something new. Old Gotham is still the center of a great shopping hub for the holidays and a working metro, the flood that drowned Amusement Mile is still far from happening and the Penguin’s headquarters this time is The Final Offer, a ship docked near the Industrial District and the Steel Mill.
Across the bridge New Gotham offers dramatically expanded opportunities for gliding navigation and exploration, with multi-level buildings and crowded streets. WB Montreal goal is to make New Gotham just as dense with gameplay as any area in Arkham City. “There are a lot more opportunities to position enemies above and below you because there’s more than one level”, says senior producer Ben Mattes. “In Old Gotham we’ve got the ground and we’ve got rooftops. Now we’ve got ground, we’ve got medium rooftops, we’ve got tall rooftops. So it expands the playground along the vertical axis. We’re not interested in making a big sprawling city where you run for blocks before you find someone to fight. We want to maintain that density where around every corner over every rooftop there’s always something interesting both visually and gameplay-wise”.
But when gliding seems too slow or may take too long, Arkham Origins introduces a fast travel system using the Batwing. It can be programmed to reach instantly the current objective of a mission. But before it can be used players have to find jamming towers in the city and disable them.
WB Montreal plans to not mutate the aesthetics and characteristics that made the previous Arkham games so recognizable. With a little help and advice from Rocksteady the new developer is realizing a reshaped Gotham City improving from an already perfectly realized main structure.
Batman: Arkham Origins will launch on 25th October 2013 for the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360.