Last Knight

The fi­nal chap­ter of Rock­steady’s Bat­man tril­ogy is com­ing. Jor­dan Far­ley ex­plores the ex­cit­ing world of Arkham Knight

SFX - - Batman: Arkham Knight -

Su­per­hero cinema may be in the midst of a world­con­quer­ing re­nais­sance but su­per­hero videogames have failed to fol­low suit, with one cru­cial ex­cep­tion: the Bat­man games. Rock­steady Stu­dios cre­ated an in­stant hit with Arkham Asy­lum and its ex­pan­sive se­quel Arkham City – games that, for the first time, made you feel like the Dark Knight. It’s a prin­ci­ple Rock­steady is build­ing on with Arkham Knight, the stu­dio’s fi­nal Bat­man game which fea­tures an even larger Gotham, stunning vi­su­als en­abled by the de­ci­sion to de­velop ex­clu­sively for PC and pow­er­ful new con­soles, and a head­line- grab­bing new gad­get – a mil­i­tarised, Nolan- es­que Bat­mo­bile. In­trigued? Rock­steady’s So­cial Mar­ket­ing Manager Gaz Deaves faces a grilling in a dark al­ley…

How does Bat­man deal with the fall­out from the Joker’s death at the end of

Arkham City?

Bat­man has been tak­ing ad­van­tage of the rel­a­tive calm. With one of its most un­pre­dictable crim­i­nals re­moved from the equa­tion, the Gotham City Po­lice Depart­ment was brac­ing it­self for an un­der­world power strug­gle, but it never came. In­stead, we dis­cover that Scare­crow has been us­ing the af­ter­math of the Joker’s death to unite the city’s crim­i­nal fra­ter­nity with the goal of destroying their mu­tual en­emy: Bat­man.

Does hav­ing the Scare­crow as the cen­tre­piece vil­lain change the feel of the game?

Giv­ing Scare­crow a pro­mo­tion from sup­port­ing char­ac­ter to main vil­lain was a re­fresh­ing change from a nar­ra­tive per­spec­tive. He’s a very in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter to work with in that he re­flects very dif­fer­ent sides of Bat­man’s per­son­al­ity and abil­i­ties com­pared to the Joker. Scare­crow un­der­stands the power of fear, in­tim­i­da­tion and the un­known, and he knows what it means to be a sym­bol rather than just a man – just like Bat­man does.

What does the Arkham Knight bring to Bat­man’s es­tab­lished rogues’ gallery?

As a new vil­lain, we wanted the Arkham Knight to ful­fil a spe­cific role that hasn’t re­ally been done in this way be­fore in a Bat­man story. He’s a mil­i­tary com­man­der and ex­pert tac­ti­cian on a mission to de­stroy Bat­man, and he’s done his homework. He’s brought a mili­tia of drone tanks and in­fantry into Gotham City, but he’s also wag­ing a psy­cho­log­i­cal war against the Dark Knight – even the de­sign of his hel­met is a taunt to keep Bat­man guess­ing.

The Arkham games have ex­celled at putting the player in Bat­man’s boots – what does the Bat­mo­bile add to this power trip? The Bat­mo­bile you’ll be driv­ing in Bat­man:

Arkham Knight en­hances Bat­man’s pow­ers in ev­ery way: com­bat, nav­i­ga­tion, prob­lem­solv­ing, foren­sics and more. We want the Bat­mo­bile to feel like an ex­ten­sion of the Dark Knight him­self, so we’ve spent a lot of time en­sur­ing that it feels to­tally nat­u­ral whether you’re glid­ing over the rooftops, fight­ing on foot, driv­ing the car through the streets, or en­gag­ing en­emy forces [ in the Bat­mo­bile]. With all of Gotham to ex­plore, the car re­ally feels like it be­longs, es­pe­cially since you can al­ways call it to your lo­ca­tion with a sin­gle but­ton press. How have you built on the finely bal­anced com­bat me­chan­ics?

Com­bat is a big part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. We al­ways want the player to feel just how pow­er­ful Bat­man is. But the Dark Knight’s power doesn’t just come from his ex­cep­tional physique or his years of mar­tial arts train­ing. It comes in part from his in­tel­lect and his abil­ity to think strate­gi­cally. So we’ve added more sit­u­a­tional game­play me­chan­ics into the hand- to- hand fight­ing this time around. You’ll be able to use parts of the en­vi­ron­ment against op­po­nents in the mid­dle of com­bat. It’s a sys­tem that re­wards play­ers who can think a lit­tle more like Bat­man.

What will play­ers get from Arkham Knight that they didn’t al­ready get from Arkham Asy­lum/ City?

The most ex­cit­ing game­play ad­di­tion for me is the Bat­mo­bile – it’s one of the most iconic ve­hi­cles in popular fic­tion. Ev­ery­thing we’ve learned mak­ing Bat­man games for the last ten years is go­ing into Bat­man: Arkham

Knight. It’s eas­ily the most am­bi­tious game we’ve ever pro­duced.

Bat­man: Arkham Knight is re­leased on 2 June.

The Arkham Knight him­self is an anti- ver­sion of Bat­man – but who’s be­neath the mask?

Don’t ex­pect too many sunny days in Gotham just yet.

The Dark Knight an­swers the call to stop the Scare­crow.

The Bat­mo­bile is the game’s star at­trac­tion.

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