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