Batman: Arkham Knight – First Details Includes New Villain, Improved Settings, Batmobile Gameplay and More
Thanks to the new issue of Game Informer magazine, we now have the first bit of details for Rocksteady’s new Batman: Arkham Knight title.
Revealed yesterday, Batman: Arkham Knight is the final title in the Arkham franchise, at least from Rocksteady, and will be released later this year for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
“We’re excited to be developing the game for next-gen platforms,” said Rocksteady’s Sefton Hill, “which has allowed us to bring to life the design elements that we envisioned from the beginning such as the Batmobile and how it augments Batman’s abilities, to the fully detailed and realized Gotham City.”
The game’s setting has been increased in size and rethought by Rocksteady to accommodate the Batmobile and street traffic. Since players can call the Batmobile at any time, drive around and even use its accompanying weapons, the large layout is going to be really appreciated.
Arkham Knight is powered by a “juiced up” version of a custom Unreal Engine to make use of the power of the next-gen consoles. The decision to skip cross-gen was so that Rocksteady can push the machines to the max.
The developer is focused on “making the best single-player experience it can” and so there will be no multiplayer. The title ‘Arkham Knight’ does not relate to the caped crusader and instead is the name of a new character that will “really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways.” The arch rival was created from scratch by DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, known for his work on Green Lantern and Justice League.
Fans would be happy to know that Kevin Conroy is going to be voicing Batman, Nolan North will be voicing Penguin, Wally Wingert will be doing Riddler, Tara Strong returns as Harley Quinn and Troy Baker will be Two-Face.
There are a lot of other bits as well. A list has been compiled by a NeoGAF user from the Game Informer issue in the form of bullet points, which you can browse below.
- Batman begins with his traditional Arkham City suit but gets a darker plated one later in the game. It adds new abilities and has continuity with the look of the Batmobile
- Arkham Knight is the end “of the later timeline”
- Game Informer says Rocksteady isn’t saying what’s next but “it’s most definitely not Batman related”
- The finale has been in mind since the development of Arkham City
- Arkham Knight takes place in a new central zone of Gotham City, which is split into three island and is in total roughly five times the size of Arkham City
- Rocksteady is emphasising the detail is more important than the scale of the world. They don’t want to create the biggest open-world, they want to create the richest, densest and most vibrant
- There is more space in between buildings to make the environments “traffic-friendly” and it becomes more fun to glide around
- Game Informer says the level of details is some of the most impressive its seen
- Arkham Knight takes place one year after Arkham City
- Joker is dead and crime rate has declined
- Batman continues to work on tech to fight crime, even with less of it around
- He knows something isn’t right, but needs to wait to see what happens
- With the Joker gone, other key villains have spent time coming together to plan Batman’s downfall
- Each villain has his/her own mission in the city and it’s intended to spread Batman thin
- Scarecrow has threatened to blow up bombs in gotham and cover it with a new version of his fear toxin, so the city is ordered to evac
- Only criminals remain in the city; Gordon and his forces have been overwhelmed
- In the demo there are between four and five times the number of thugs in Gotham City than in Arkham
- Riots can feature up to 50 characters destroying things
- Two-Face and Penguin are killing cops, because they can
- Batman meets with Gordon and gives him tech to stay in contact
- All of the game’s cutscenes take place in-engine, there are no pre-rendered cinematics. They are seamlessly integrated.
- Rocksteady is trying to take the level of in-game detail to the pre-rendered level
- Albert Feliu, lead character artist, says the polygon count on one character in Arkham Knight is as big as the count of the whole Arkham Asylum environment
- The detail in Gordon’s face shows his age and it wrinkles as he talks
- Apex cloth physics are being used on Batman’s cape and Gordon’s trench coat so they react properly to wind and movement
- Although Jim Gordon believes she’s gone, his daughter Barbara, a.k.a. Oracle is in the city and helping Batman
- Oracle is a “strong character” and is a character Batman physically meets as opposed to just a voice he hears
- She knows Batman’s identity and is used to give him a human side
- Arkhamverse Barbara lines up with comic continuity in that she was paralysed by the Joker
- Batman knows Barbara is in the city and Jim Gordon believes she is not, the deception may become a plot point
- A new streamlined control option is used to tell batman to sprint to the nearest ledge and dive straight down
- Grapnel Gun now has a Mark 2 boost upgrade and slingshots Batman
- Line launcher returns to give Batman perch points and ziplines can be created instantly while flying around
- All quickfire gadgets, such as Batarangs, can be used in mid-air
- The classic counter system also returns. Rocksteady doesn’t want to overcomplicate it as it thinks the strength is in the simplicity
- However, it has enhanced it somewhat with new features
- Normal goons can now do the charge and tackle only the larger enemies could in previous games
- A well timed backflip and Batarang can be used to instantly KO enemies doing a charge
- Batman now has quick ground strikes but full ground takedowns are still available, though they take longer to execute
- Batman can glide through glass surfaces
- He has throw counters that grabs enemies and launches them into another for double damage
- Hazards in the environment such as power generators can be mixed into combat
- Riddler appears in the demo to put the Batmobile to the test in a three-lap time trial through the underground tunnels of Gotham, but to the only way to make it through is to use a special radar pulse that alters parts of the track
- Players click the left stick to move obstacles while driving at high speeds and the course gets difficult with every lap
- Riddler has a plan for Batman and the city too, beyond testing his skills
- Batman still has detective vision
- He can access grates from further away, when in range a button prompt appears and he’ll roll forward to get under it
- From a grate it’s possible to initiate multiple takedowns, as one enemy is grabbed the action slows and the camera can be pointed in the direction of another enemy.
- “Fear Takedowns” can be used on groups of three enemies as long as they’re close together and none of them spot Batman
- The demo ends with a mysterious villain describes as a “militaristic Batman” with what looks like an “Arkham A” on his chest appears to land a jump kick on Batman and stomp him. He points a gun at Batman and the screen fades to black as the shot is fired.
- Batmobile is designed to be “the best car in any game ever”, it takes up around 160mb of memory in game and will just about fit in an Xbox 360 (if that was the whole game). There are hundreds of thousands of polygons, as well as textures and shaders used on it
- Batmobile is the only car Batman has access to in the game
- It zooms to your location at the touch of the button
- It can do burnouts, jumps, boosts and “rotate in a circle at a full stop to get you pointed in the right direction
- It is bulletproof and can smash through barricades, trees and building corners
- Enemies will try and jump out of its way
- Driving gameplay is balanced with out-of-car gameplay so players don’t just stay in it all the time
- While Batmobile has speed and damage Batman has a better freedom of movement and gadgets,
- Players can swap between the two based on what the job requires
- Batmobile can missile lock and fire an immobilizer at enemy vehicles
- Batmobile is designed to segue perfectly with Batman and his navigational skills
- When within range of a key point Batman can eject out of the Batmobile and launch himself into a fast glide