In Batman: Arkham Knight, the Batmobile Is More Than Just a Car, it's a Tank

More than meets the eye.

Batman is, by all accounts, a pretty agile guy. In the previous three Arkham games, a combination of agility and sweet gadgets (like the grapnel gun and his all-purpose cape) allowed the Dark Knight to rise, swoop, dive, and generally traverse the urban peaks and valleys of Gotham with speed and ease. So earlier this year when the batmobile was unveiled as the key new addition for the next game in the series--Batman: Arkham Knight--I was, admittedly, a little puzzled. Sure, the batmobile is pretty cool and all, but is it really a good fit for the Arkham series? With Batman never having trouble with locomotion in previous games, is the addition of another mode of fast movement really needed?

Our first look at the batmobile was the demo shown at the Game Developers Conference this year, which featured chases and fast runs through Gotham's streets. It turns out this was just half of what this iconic vehicle will bring to the game. In Arkham Knight, the Batmobile will be able to turn into an agile, heavily weaponized tank. At the press of a button, the batmobile will "transform," with turrets appearing and wheels realigning to allow for strafing movements. In Arkham Knight, the batmobile will certainly have speed, but it will also have teeth.

This seems to be developer Rocksteady's answer to why it thinks the introduction of a vehicle to the arsenal of an already mobile superhero is a worthwhile addition. The batmobile won't just be there as flashy transport, an object to be used in some specific levels and completely forgotten in most others. No, the batmobile in Arkham Knight is intended to be an integral addition, another gadget in Batman's arsenal that he can call on at any minute.

This man-machine synergy was shown off during a recent demo of Batman: Arkham Knight. The section I saw took place in the second chapter of the game, and had Batman trying to infiltrate the Ace Chemicals factory after it was revealed to be where Scarecrow was manufacturing massive amounts of fear toxin. The titular Arkham Knight was also there, and for the first time was shown to be the leader of a sizable army, complete with infantry, tanks, and drones.

Initially, Batman took a more traditional route into Ace Chemicals, using his grapnel gun (which can now be fired twice in midair to chain grapnels together) to go high and undetected, before sneaking around to take out groups of guards. The combat, as we've come to expect from an Arkham game, was dynamic and crunchy, with Batman's supreme skills making light work of his opponents. So far, so same, but things quickly got more interesting when Batman decided to switch to the batmobile, controlling his ride via remote from the inside of Ace while the vehicle was outside.

Once the batmobile was in Ace Chemicals, Batman leaped inside and immediately took on a group of tank drones in a small, enclosed space. The car's increased mobility was immediately apparent (and useful), with the batmobile able to strafe left and right, as well as use short dash bursts to avoid incoming fire. And the batmobile's offensive capabilities won't be limited for use when Batman is behind the wheel. In one section I was shown, the Arkham Knight and a large group of soldiers had the Caped Crusader trapped in a small room. While the Arkham Knight was busy monologuing, Batman summoned the batmobile via remote, and used its riot suppressors to take out some of his foes. Batman even used his car while in the middle of melee combat, with a batmobile-assisted takedown having Batman uppercut an enemy into the air, only to be followed by a shot from the car's riot suppressor to finish off the unfortunate baddie.

And it's not just in combat situations that the batmobile may prove useful for Batman. After the battle shenanigans with soldiers and tanks aboveground, Batman ventured deeper into the underground complex of Ace Chemicals, a place where you'd expect limited use for the batmobile. That wasn't the case, however, with a puzzle involving a broken elevator and its counterweight needing the remote-controlled assistance of the batmobile from aboveground. Batman also had to keep switching to the batmobile in order to use its winch to turn off steam pipes that blocked his forward progress belowground.

Batman's going to need a little more firepower to square off against these guys.

It's this integration into both the combat and the puzzle elements of the game that makes me the most curious--and excited--about the potential of the batmobile in Batman: Arkham Knight. I'm hopeful that the batmobile isn't just a throwaway gimmick, and it seems developer Rocksteady Studios is working to make sure the batmobile and Batman are seamlessly joined in the game. Rocksteady marketing game manager Guy Perkins says the entire design of the game has been informed by the inclusion of the batmobile.

"It's been at the heart of the design of Arkham Knight--it's informed how big the city is, how wide the streets are, how you navigate through those. And introducing it with the two modes, again, every design decision is made around that," he said.

"The ability to drive through more narrow, dangerous paths is fundamentally one of the reasons why it moves in a strafing, more third-person movement for a vehicle. So you could be engaging with folks in a vehicle, and you could chase them down using the immobilizer rockets in pursuit mode. Or you can chase, jump out of the car, land on their car, and pull the driver out. Or you could decide to transform into battle mode and shoot the vehicle with a nonlethal means to take it down," Perkins continued.

The ability to drive through more narrow, dangerous paths is fundamentally one of the reasons why it moves in a strafing, more third-person movement for a vehicle.

Guy Perkins, Rocksteady

"The batmobile is another character almost in that it works with Batman and augments his abilities in different ways. You can puzzle solve; you can engage in combat. You're never more than a button press away from the batmobile. It's a partnership--we never want people to feel that this is a very specific batmobile section and that this is a very specific Batman level. We want them to ask, 'How will the two work together?'"

Of course, we’ll all have to wait longer to actually experience how well the game melds the Batman and batmobile together, with Arkham Knight’s release date now pushed back to sometime in 2015. Perkins says the delay is due to one simple thing--Rocksteady just needed more time.

“If we didn’t give the team more time to do it, then we would be releasing something that we weren’t happy with. We want to make sure we’re absolutely nailing it 100%,” he said.

Take your time, Rocksteady. A batmobile-suitable Gotham can’t be built in a day.

See more coverage of E3 2014 →

Discussion

113 comments
Arsyad00
Arsyad00

finally batman snapped and just going to killing spree all those bad guy

lsdbaby
lsdbaby

Normally I'd be sceptical about the inclusion of the Batmobile, but I remember reading some features around the release of Arkham City and it was clear they'd originally had plans to have it in that game. If the development has been going on that long then I'm confident Rocksteady will nail this. If anyone can, they can.

rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

A feature on game not likely coming out until fall 2015? Makes sense.

Caduceus89
Caduceus89

Hopefully the batmobile doesn't turn into a one trick pony. As for the delay, it works for me.Dragon Age Inquisition, Alien: Isolation, Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor and Evil Within will keep me busy well into next year.

flaming_in_hd
flaming_in_hd

Hahaha. Batman armor looks like kingdom hearts armor.

Scarshi
Scarshi

If it works, we'll play it. If it doesn't it just proves how unimaginative and boring developers really are.

Of course I'm just being sarcastic. It's a welcome addition to the Batman franchise. It was a long time coming.

Looking forward to seeing more of the Bat.

mr_nee
mr_nee

tank? what about batman's no kill policy?

raven98030
raven98030

I can't wait to see what they have to say a E3 this year about this game.When can you per-order it?

megagene
megagene

Nice. All those guns and missiles and Batman can't even kill anyone. 

foxrock66
foxrock66

Am I the only one who wishes the Arkham Knight suit was what they had given Batman in the upcoming VS Superman film. The armored thing just makes more sense to me if he's going to be fighting fricking Superman

NTM23
NTM23

So, is hitting guys with it either not an option, or will it just not kill them, unrealistically? Oh, and one last question: Arkham Asylum, City, or both? I prefer Asylum much more myself. I wish I could say same, but I can't.

bourne714
bourne714

I think it would be cool if they had an "alternate universe massacre DLC" where batman could GTA style mow people down like pancakes, and shoot em up with all that heavy hardware the batmobile is packing.  Or maybe they could make it where it was all a hallucination from Scarecrow or something.

NTM23
NTM23

Thinking about it, if we take into consideration name, what does it mean overall? Arkham is a place, a city, and an asylum, but what does Arkham Knight mean? I don't know, I was just thinking about it. I didn't play Origins, but what did Arkham have to do with Origins? Am I putting too much into the name right now? I never really thought about it before, but the first two game names made sense. Is the city still Arkham and not simply Gotham?

Evamorgana
Evamorgana

This game looks sweet. I'm not even a super hero person but god this looks awesome. 

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

In Batman: Arkham Knight, you don't drive the Batmobile, the Batmobile drives you

Martyr77
Martyr77

I really hope the car sections aren't that heavy. I want to play as Batman not have a Twisted Metal game.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Stop giving out false release dates, PLEASE.  Just sit on it until you know, is that really so hard?


2015 is shaping up to be one for the ages though...

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

As long as it has some serious practical usage and the thing isn't overpowered to the point you don't need to get out of the thing, I'll be OK with it.

Pelezinho777
Pelezinho777

Anyone remembers Burton's Batman and batmobile with the guns towards the end of the movie?

Willy105
Willy105

Batman doesn't use guns.


But they never said his car didn't!

Clavera
Clavera

Detective Comics... Comics?

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

Why is everyone so shocked batman has guns on his car? It's like people aren't even aware of the batman outside the 3 Chris Nolan movies.

LilithN
LilithN

@Arsyad00 I spit my dinner at the screen, damn you! :D 1000x ROFL! 

LilithN
LilithN

@lsdbaby Either it will be awesome, or will fup the whole Batman mechanics (overused, underused, makes you use it). But I have faith in Rocksteady. At the same time I dont envy them, having to come up with new and new gadgets to keep this interesting. 

flaming_in_hd
flaming_in_hd

@megagene yeah this batman game is a joke because batman never really uses firearms to conquer his enemies. 

NTM23
NTM23

@foxrock66 


It doesn't really matter what Batman has on, Superman will take him out in a punch anyways, that's why Batman has to use his brain and equipment other than a super suit to fight him. Plus, realistically a suit like that would be heavy, so he wouldn't be as agile. So... No. That being said, we all know they're going to team up in the end.

thatguy2001
thatguy2001

@NTM23 I really enjoyed Asylum but couldn't get into City. I've played Asylum multiple times, but couldn't even finish City. I have tried to go back to it many times but just can't get into it. Asylum was great from beginning to end.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

@NTM23 I preferred City to Asylum for most of the game, but I really didn't like the twist in City.  I've been enjoying Origins recently, too; it's much better than the reviews said it was.

NTM23
NTM23

@Martyr77 It depends on how it's done, but I agree. In my imagination, as far as we've seen so far, I'd rather just roam the setting on foot until I have to get somewhere fast.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Yes. Burton's batman wasn't afraid to kill ppl lol.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@Foppe @flammable_zeus That would be completely different. A strafing batmobile just makes it sound like a regular shooter game, except we'll be in an overly-agile mech designed to look like a tank. How is that remotely Batman-like? Also, this is a game, not a comic. Plus, let's not forget that comics have done just about everything you can do with a lot of characters, that doesn't mean they're all good ideas.
 

Basically, in the end this sounds like a completely uninspired and boring way to treat the batmobile. I'd rather see it done well than poorly. Although I'd like to see a few more years between these Batman games too, with less of a focus on Joker and Arkham. 

foxrock66
foxrock66

@NTM23 @foxrock66 That's the whole thing that made it make sense to me though. Like an "ultra gadget" thing that Bats came up with so he could go toe-to-toe. I dunno. Just seems like a waste of a good design to throw away on a kinda villain

NTM23
NTM23

@thatguy2001 


I agree (as you can read) that City wasn't as good, at least to me and you, but I still think you should try and get through it. You never know until you beat it, really. For example, Dead Space. I got half way through it when I got it on release, and I stopped for about a month or so and said "No, I don't really like it", and then I got through it later, and today, it's one of my favorite games ever, and it literally changed me as a person. 


If it weren't for that game, I wouldn't have the interests nor knowledge of things I do today. I'm not saying Arkham City will do that for you, but I'm just saying, it could change. I will give you that some games don't deserve to be gone through, for instance, in my opinion Thief. I don't think there'll ever be a time when my mind could change about that game, it's just extremely dull, but it just depends on the game. 


Arkham City is a game worth getting through.

NTM23
NTM23

@realguitarhero5 


Cool that you're liking Origins. I prefer Asylum due to detail in setting. I love Asylum, and expected to love City, but it didn't happen. So, from the get-go there, it had somewhat tarnished my experience, but I also couldn't get into the dialogue, some story bits, and though I thought overall the voice acting was still great, I didn't like North's Penguin voice. Gameplay wise they definitely do add more, and that's great, but as I've said, the other aspects tarnished it for me. 


The twist was neat, but I was already uninterested in what was going on to give it the credit it might have deserved. It's a game I tried to play way more than I probably needed to, so I did everything in it, but I never found the love in playing it like I did Asylum. I didn't play Origins mainly because the setting looked dull to me, and more like City, though I hear the story's decent, which is really the only factor in making me want to play it.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@sahio @Dredcrumb9 He never shoots anybody or kills anybody in Nolan movies. Batman only used a gun to break into the police station in Batman begins, and he doesnt shoot anyone with it, he uses it to threaten the Gotham Police to stop being corrupt. 

NTM23
NTM23

@foxrock66 


Though it's a suit of armor, which doesn't really matter. I mean, if we're talking about the Ben Affleck Bat suit.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@Dredcrumb9 He blew up all those dudes at the start of Begins, then derails the train that Ra's was on and kills him too. I love how he acts like he's not killing him though. "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you from the train derailment that I caused, even though saving you right now isn't directly threatening the life of anybody at all."

NTM23
NTM23

@Dredcrumb9 Well true, but it's also still true that his point is correct. It doesn't matter if he used it or not on people.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Batman killed plenty of ppl in the Burton's films

tableofjapan
tableofjapan

@Dredcrumb9 Ever read the Dark Knight Returns? the Tankmobile also used guns and only shot rubber bullets, which hurts more then getting shot with a real bullet.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@NTM23 yeah, that movie is going to be a farce

deathblow3
deathblow3

@tableofjapan @Dredcrumb9 yes it is a gun but it uses non lethal bullets. as many broken arms & legs batman has cause in the last 3 games shooting some one doesnt suprise me 

NTM23
NTM23

@mr_nee 


I don't know how good it's going to be, but I'd be lying if I said I was all that excited for it. The Dark Knight trilogy has some flaws, but I love those, they're my favorite superhero films, but Man of Steel was mediocre to me and the same people that did that are behind this movie. Though I won't talk negatively about Ben Affleck as Batman, I just hope he doesn't use Bruce Wayne voice. People can talk crap about Bale's Bat voice, but overall made sense to me, though I can agree that at times it was over the top.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@NTM23 I imagine that Batman in the next Superman movie is going to be an older, more experienced Batman who has since discarded armour since it slows him down and makes him less agile. The Arkham games seem to focus on a younger, less experienced Batman who still has to rely on his armour.