Batman: Arkham Origins - Invisible Predator Online

Carolyn Petit plays as hero and villain in the newly revealed multiplayer mode for the latest game in the Arkham series.

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You lurk in the shadows above, comfortable in your role as a predator, relishing the way your criminal prey is at your mercy. A thug makes the mistake of walking right under the outcropping you're perched upon, and before he can even react, you have swooped down silently and incapacitated him. In the darkness, you have the advantage. But you are not invulnerable or infallible. Slip up, get spotted, and your enemies' guns can make short work of you, even though you are the legend known as the Batman.

The empowering but dangerous thrill of using stealth and mobility to pick off enemies one by one has always been one of the cornerstones of the Arkham games, and in Arkham Origins, a mode called Invisible Predator Online aims to translate this heretofore single-player experience into the basis of multiplayer competition. Being developed by Splash Damage while WB Games Montreal works on the single-player game, Invisible Predator Online is an asymmetrical, three-vs.-three-vs.-two mode. The teams of three play as members of Bane's gang or members of the Joker's gang, who are jockeying for position and power in Gotham, battling over a piece of turf. (During the gameplay demo I participated in, the map was Blackgate Prison, a location which, of course, figures prominently in the upcoming 3DS and Vita game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.) The goal for these two gangs is to defeat the other, whittling down their available respawns via kills or taking control of command points scattered around the map.

But these gangs have bigger things to worry about than just each other. As Batman and Robin, two other players attempt to disrupt both gangs' efforts to assert dominance in Gotham. If they succeed in filling up an intimidation meter by using varied methods to eliminate criminals, the heroes win the day. The methods available to them will be familiar to anyone who has played an Arkham game. You can instantly take down hapless thugs who walk under your perch. You can swoop down out of the sky and do a glide kick on an enemy, then perform a ground takedown while he's laid out. You can sneak up on an enemy from behind and perform a stealth takedown. You can lurk in grates or on ledges and take out foes who make the mistake of wandering within striking distance. You can even spray explosive gel somewhere, wait for an enemy to stroll along, and then detonate the gel, taking the enemy out with the explosion.

When Batman and Robin are so powerful, why would anyone ever want to play as a run-of-the-mill Gotham criminal? Well, taking out a thug as Batman or Robin is one thing. Being the criminal who takes out Batman or Robin is something else. And although you can't grapple up into the shadows or perform stealthy takedowns, you're far from helpless. You have your own enhanced vision ability. It works just like the heroes' detective vision, but since the criminals don't have the limitless resources of WayneTech at their disposal, this version can only be used in short bursts before needing to recharge. And for all their abilities to use the environment to their advantage and strike from the shadows, the heroes are extremely vulnerable in an all-out fight. Get one of them in your sights and you can drop him quickly with a few shots from your weapon.

But staying on guard against Batman and Robin while also battling the rival gang is no easy task, and the need to divide your attention and successfully manage these dual threats has the potential to make playing as a criminal an exciting challenge. And once during each round, a supercriminal will come knocking on the gates; if a Bane player gets there first, that player gets to play as Bane. If a Joker player gets there first, he or she reenters the battlefield as the clown prince of crime. These characters are formidable opponents with some devastating abilities.

I had the opportunity to play as both a hero and a criminal, and each offered its own kind of satisfaction. Playing as a hero, I quickly learned that patience is key. I took a few impulsive risks, swooping down on groups of enemies I thought I could handle, only to be shot in the back by one as I tried to take down another. Deaths are costly for the heroes, diminishing your intimidation meter and preventing you from achieving victory. Coordination can also be very useful. At one point, playing as Robin, Batman and I approached two thugs. If we'd communicated beforehand, determining which of us was going to take out which opponent, we could have pulled off a sweet synchronized takedown. Unfortunately, without this kind of communication, we both approached the same enemy, and it didn't work out well for me.

The frustration of these failures was offset by the satisfaction of my successes, though. Glide kicking a stray enemy who'd wandered off from his teammates, knocking him out, and then zipping away unseen was a rush, and when the Joker himself made the mistake of wandering underneath my perch, incapacitating this supercriminal with an inverted takedown was a small but memorable victory. Playing as a criminal, taking out members of the rival gang felt a lot like taking out a member of the opposing team in any typical third-person multiplayer shooter, but spotting Robin and shooting the little bird as he made a move on a teammate of mine was a particularly delicious accomplishment. I never managed to get to the door first and step into the shoes of a supercriminal, but I did witness Bane obliterating some Joker thugs with a rocket launcher and performing his infamous backbreaker on the Boy Wonder, making it clear that he is not to be trifled with.

The asymmetrical structure of Invisible Predator Online made a strong impression; this isn't just a carbon copy of existing multiplayer modes. It's an attempt to do something new, converting what has previously been a uniquely single-player experience into a multiplayer one. I look forward to coming back to it. Perhaps, once I've learned some patience, skillfully stalking other players as Batman or Robin will prove to be too sweet a prospect to resist.

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Discussion

140 comments
Massacher
Massacher

oh man!!  oh man!!  oh man!! this is gonna be so cool! on top of what is gonna be a great game they're gonna add MP!! yes!! it will greatly increase the longevity of the game!!

locknuts84
locknuts84

Can't wait to play this online on my Wii U......oh wait. PC version it is!

Detriiment
Detriiment

This game is great.  Highly recommend.

flashn00b
flashn00b

My only request: please don't use Games for Windows Live.

Also, to those who think that Multiplayer is unnecessary, remember that Bioware made an awesome multiplayer mode for a game that didn't need Multiplayer, so who knows? Perhaps we might be surprised?

Still, giving a multiplayer component to a game that doesn't need it is an incredibly difficult venture, as much as i'd like to see a standalone multiplayer where everyone teams up on one person playing as batman.

sknight175216
sknight175216

I saw a Splash Damage logo at the beginning of the trailer. Didn't they make Brink?

DarthLod
DarthLod

Once they add multiplayer, I quit the franchise. I am done.

karan_sethi954
karan_sethi954

Only when you thought Arkham City was awesome only with the singleplayer, BAM! Arkham Origins multiplayer takes your sweet rolls.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

If they do this I really hope we can have simple Batman & Robin Challenge Mode co-op instead of making all multiplayer online only.

I'm skeptical this mode will work anything like they're selling it. Under developer monitoring it's easy to play the mode as it "is supposed to be played". When real people start to play it might turn into senseless fooling around. Assassin's Creed also had an amazing concept, but in reality people are running on the rooftops chasing each other, like I was watching an episode of Benny Hill. Respawns for the likes of Joker and Batman are strike one, I hope they allow Gears of War style one-death rounds.

baszzer
baszzer

Interesting. Another new for multiplayer.

genjuroT
genjuroT

Online predator?... "Why don't you take a seat over there?"

Bgamer221
Bgamer221

I really need to know what type of human being wrote this? It's great it actually convinced me.. I really look forward to play with Bane backbreaking Batman..

Chronologo
Chronologo

Seeing that MP is developed by another studio separately it doesn't bother me much

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I've always liked asymmetrical multiplayer, this could be pretty cool. We'll see when it comes out but I dig the premise. A lot of it is going to depend on how balanced it is.

ViciousRDS
ViciousRDS

Some people seem so skeptical. I can, of course, see that this isn't "necessary" (whatever that means, the entire video game industry isn't "necessary"). However, at the very least, this looks like it lets you play predator mode with thugs that have actual human intelligence rather than AI that is fairly easy to manipulate. This one facet of it seems to me like something that should interest all Arkham fans.

mastertien123
mastertien123

Yes !!! Now i can take Batman down himself ! Now onto the coop-combat thingy :w

sujith12
sujith12

i like everything about batman

BLaverock
BLaverock

A multi-player aspect to the Arkham series isn't a bad idea, as long as it doesn't take away from the single-player. Some games have done that and destroyed the single-player appeal :s

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

I wonder how Batman games we are going to get in Arkham. Will it get to the point of Batman town-village-camping ground-Arkham city Super -ULTRA EXTREME edition ? Like Street Fighter. Or will it go down the path of Assassins creed 1, then2 then brotherhood, then revelations then Assassins creed 3 style of mass production? So many options these companys have today. We seriously give these company's to much money.

Im jking by the way, I like Batman Arkham games. Just don't give us to many in the same place or era. How bout we see more of the Gotham city next in daylight and night time?

lorider25
lorider25

I'm sick of all you Single Player gamers crying, STFU!

Nobody gives a fuck about you loner ass losers! Go throw a Frisbee.

ndmq
ndmq

3v3v2, so only 8 players in 1 match...It'll be more fun with bigger gangs like 9v9v9v2

lawfrye
lawfrye

Who gives a shit, I'm sick and tired of hearing about "MP" games. Their are many people out there who don't like MP games and could care less! Every game now a days has a MP component, these asshole dev's need to to spend less time worrying about MP, and more time working on the "SP" portion of their lame ass over priced games...

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

Great article, Carolyn.

I'm waiting for this game, i really enjoyed Asylum and City.

00-Riddick-00
00-Riddick-00

Splash damage? Lol wow. Have fun with that shitty MP.

Bhemont
Bhemont

The real estate in Gotham must be lower then Chernobyl. 

Forefront-049
Forefront-049

Wow, no feminist bullshit for us today, Carolyn? I'm both thankful and impressed.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Could be really interesting or could be poor and tacked on, balancing will be the deciding factor. Doesn't really worry me since this is being developed by a separate studio to the single player game, and the single player is what I'm really interested in.

KillerOttsel
KillerOttsel

A while ago WB Montreal was talking about their worries of people not liking the game. Back then of course there wasn't really anything to worry about. However, this seems like something that would make everyone worry. It just seems tacked on and really out of place. I feel like they ruined there chances of have some really cool Splinter Cell Conviction style stealth co-op with Batman and Robin. A separate campaign with just those two would have been pretty cool. 

darkmask1991
darkmask1991

Batman and Robin are OP. THis will suck. Cancelling my pre order.

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

Until I play this myself, I must admit I'm a bit skeptical. This idea feels like yet another tacked on multiplayer to a game that simply doesn't need it, a la GOW : Ascension, Tomb Raider, Dead Space, etc.. And some of what I saw in the video preview looks like COD meets Batman......... that doesn't exactly excite me. However, I will say that the approach at least looks interesting so hopefully they get the balance right on it. If done properly it could turn out great and be a lot of fun. If it's in line with all of the other (IMHO) 'unecessary' MP's that have been added into otherwise single-player games, then it's likely going to be fun for a few and then just as forgettable as the rest. But here's to hoping. Either way, I pre-ordered and paid for this baby the day it was announced.  ;-)

Shengali
Shengali

Would've loved a short co-op campaign or something more, but - if done right - this could be very awesome :)

Thanks for the info!

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

This is going to consume most of my free-time and I love it 8D

nathanjones007
nathanjones007

@batfan20 That is pretty messed up . If they refuse to offer online play, they can at least take 10.00 off the price tag. I was thinking about getting this game until i found out this disturbing news.

ViciousRDS
ViciousRDS

@Bgamer221 

What type? Maybe if you detail what types there are we can help you figure it out.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@lorider25 Frisbee is multplayer too.. BUT like Frisbees, you can play alone too. That should always be the same for gaming.

mikel222222
mikel222222

@ndmq well everything is more fun with bigger gangs, but there is limitations with internet gaming still.

jeffcliff
jeffcliff

@lawfryeoverpriced? maybe when you consider dlc, but seriously, Donkey Kong 64 msrp was $49.99 in 1999! according to a basic inflation calculator "What cost $49.99 in 1999 would cost $68.06 in 2012."We are getting more for games now than ever, and for less money.

sujith12
sujith12

@darkmask1991 batman is a great concept moreover it is a great game

just because something new comes up doesn't mean it will suck

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

@darkmask1991 You do realize this multi-player is being developed by a whole different studio, I doubt it will have any effect on the single player.

CincoToes
CincoToes

@deathblow3 Or, think up a new angle yourself instead of just shooting his idea down.