Making the Batmobile Work in Batman: Arkham Knight

Who is the Arkham Knight?

How do you improve on the foundation established by the first two games in Rocksteady's Arkham series while still retaining the things that players have come to associate with those games? Batman: Arkham Knight offers up many answers to this question, but there was one that brand marketing producer Dax Ginn focused on at a demo during last week's Game Developers Conference: the batmobile.

Batman: Arkham Knight is set 12 months after the events of Arkham City. In the wake of the Joker's demise, the level of crime in the city has fallen, but Batman has suspected for some time that something big was brewing in the criminal underworld. It turns out he was right, and in Batman: Arkham Knight, Gotham has been evacuated on Commissioner Gordon's orders following a threat issued by Scarecrow. So, no, the Gotham of Arkham Knight won't be a Grand Theft Auto-like playground filled with citizens going about their business. It is still a moody, lonely place, inhabited only by the police and by those unsavory criminal elements hoping to stake their claim to the empty city, those who enjoy the chaos. Batman intends to spoil their fun. And with that nifty car of his, he's bound to have some fun of his own.

The batmobile is more than just a way to get from point A to point B. During the demo, the car appeared to live up to the fantasy--if you've ever daydreamed about the things you think that vehicle should be able to do, there's a good chance that the batmobile of Arkham Knight will do them. As you grapple and glide your way around the city, you can summon the batmobile, and it will stylishly swerve down the streets below to meet up with you. You can dive right into the vehicle's cockpit and switch seamlessly from gliding to driving, or reverse the process using the batmobile's ejector seat, which instantly launches you to gliding altitude. And it appears to handle like a dream. While speeding along a subterranean obstacle course the Riddler had devised for the batmobile, Rocksteady's Gaz Deaves drove along the wall for a moment, and in one cylindrical tunnel, he rotated all the way around the passage's surface, clinging to the ceiling briefly before circling back down to the ground.

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

The city through which the batmobile weaves appeared vast and diverse; at one point, Batman swooped through Chinatown, in which buildings were cluttered with neon signs, and later he made his way to Oracle's headquarters in Gotham's stately clock tower. Oracle is a physical presence in the game this time, not just a voice in Batman's ear, and like all the characters in the game, she looks more real and world-weary than characters have looked in earlier Arkham games. If Rocksteady hopes to give the narrative of Arkham Knight a human dimension, the expressive character models could help. At one point, Oracle said to Batman that she thinks her father might still blame himself for the injury that has left her confined to a wheelchair, a gunshot fired by the Joker, and I was curious as to how the tension between father and daughter might play out over the rest of the story. Ginn emphasized that this game will be the conclusion to Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy and tie up threads that have existed in the series from the beginning (conspicuously, no mention was made of the WB-developed Arkham Origins), but the finer points of the narrative went largely unexplored during the demo.

The additions to the series' signature combat and stealth systems were put through their paces, though, as Ginn pointed out that Batman can now use gadgets while gliding, and can use enemies' weapons against them. As Batman swooped toward a group of thugs, he flung a few batarangs, and when he was on the ground, he grabbed one thug's baseball bat and used it to strike another. He also made use of an environmental counter, smashing an enemy's face into a power panel in a move that seemed lifted from the combat of Sleeping Dogs. Later, a new type of stealth takedown was demonstrated: the fear takedown, which let Batman take advantage of the element of surprise to chain together the takedowns of three guards.

Ginn stated that this game could only have been pulled off with next-gen technology, and at least in visual terms, that's certainly true. Particularly impressive to me was the way that as Batman plummeted through the air, individual raindrops falling alongside him were clearly visible. The game also hitched up significantly at times, with the frame rate falling into the single digits on occasion, but of course there's still plenty of time for the game's performance to be tweaked before it's released later this year for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Meet the Arkham Knight.

The demo may have shed light on some of Arkham Knight's gameplay surprises, but it also raised one tremendous question: who is the Arkham Knight? As the demo came to a close, Batman was attacked by a figure whose identity was unclear, but who seemed to be a formidable warrior capable of going toe-to-toe with the caped crusader. This, Ginn said, was the Arkham Knight, a new character created by Rocksteady in collaboration with DC, and a character of tremendous importance in the game's story. My suspicion is that, like the character of Red Hood in the Batman comics, the Arkham Knight will end up being a character we already know; perhaps it will be the Joker, making one final appearance, revealing that his apparent demise in Arkham City was one big, elaborate joke. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the joke's on me.

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Discussion

197 comments
Algearond
Algearond

Looking good, not sure when I will get though due to TESO being out


DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

I hope they bring back the multiplayer its really fun its like gears of war + batman and the only reason it didn't do well is because freaking cod came out well that's what really made it go down. the multiplayer sometimes did take a bit to get a full lobby of 8 I really enjoyed the multiplayer and hope it makes a return but if it dosent I hope they have a side game for it

vlah
vlah

PPL this is not Batman, its Ratman!!! Check out last few sec of the video. That's why its so different. Why do they hire "blind" ppl to work with visual stuff...

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

Sucks that the Wii u is missing out on this; So much for that Wii U isn't underpowered nonsense that was being spewed by Iwata and select Nintendo fanboys. nonetheless I look forward to this game as the first two were awesome.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

Azrael will more than likely be the Arkham Night, or Ras Al Ghoul IMO

JtheGrind
JtheGrind

I really don't like it how they never have citizens roaming the streets. It's like a cop out to always say there's some kind of threat in the city to avoid the extra work. Something tells me though, if they were to have citizens roaming the streets. The game would probably suffer in other areas.

chaos-commander
chaos-commander

This Batmobile is amazing truly an original design good job this game will be GOTY 

underxgames
underxgames

Just Awesome! I love it when A company takes things seriously!! THIS IS A AAA Production! :D

efiavi93
efiavi93

game will suck like origins

lorider25
lorider25

this batmobile is so ugly, nothing beats the original design.

kyelo
kyelo

So it's Batman vs a Batman/Ironman hybrid? Sounds cool :)

Quarkzquarkz
Quarkzquarkz

Listen, how come every Batman game is only played at night? Can't you guys include full day cycles where you can control Bruce Wayne and his billion dollar enterprise to make transactions based on good will and/or corruption? That would be like an RPG-esque during day and action fighting at night and it's like adding 2 genres into one game. I mean cmon, it cant be THAT difficult can it? =(

Pennebaker
Pennebaker

They're turning Batman into Robocop.  Boo.

alistairhanson
alistairhanson

Batman + Deathstroke = Arkham Knight


RESULT=Beyond awesomeness will be an understatement

slaxl
slaxl

i really like the batmobile but i don't think Arkham Knight would be the joker 

Djwolfram
Djwolfram

Batmobile is really fine,but will there be any bicycles for Bats to use ?

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

A) Arkham Knight design sucks big time. Making him Iron Man wannabee won't helps. 

B) Batmobile inclusion is dumb idea. It's only to make game longer and spare work on normal missions.  

se007
se007

It could've been one of the worst plot twists of all time if it would happen to be Joker! Not to mention that he is much more muscular looking than Joker, so it's pretty ridiculous to assume it's him.

asosena691369
asosena691369

I think that's azrael guys.. there was is side mission about him in arkham city

mr_nee
mr_nee

I'm happy this game isn't coming to last-gen!

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Arkham Knight is Batman for alternate universe.

jomac3db1
jomac3db1

If everybody was listening, he's the arkham knight

poorgrain64413
poorgrain64413

Awesome graphics! I'm looking forward to buying this on my xbox one

twisted_sith
twisted_sith

Anyone else hoping to see actual gameplay of the batmobile? Nope it was just scenes from the first trailer that we have all seen a dozen times.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

@JtheGrind Well in Gotham the citizens don't come out at night, unless their up to no good.  So it makes sense i guess

charlievo
charlievo

@Quarkzquarkz

if you read the comics, Batman uses the dark and shadows to hunt.  

Xenro4
Xenro4

@Quarkzquarkz That kind of idea would work so nicely I think, for anything though.

zrex2metagor
zrex2metagor

@Pennebaker the metallic looking thing is the arkham knight, not the dark knight xD so your robocop assumption would be kinda off the mark

hybridlogix
hybridlogix

@alistairhanson I had the same vibe when I saw Arkham knight's armor for the first time. I hope he is not deathstrok-ish, although he seems to be bad ass...This is going to be good...

BFKZ
BFKZ

@Djwolfram  Bicycle? Does it look like we're running a paper route here?

hybridlogix
hybridlogix

@Djwolfram They specifically mentioned batmobile..The world is being designed with batmobile in mind...It's slim to none chance for any other vehicle to appear...I suppose

zrex2metagor
zrex2metagor

@Kyrylo and you yourself are dumb. Fans have been screaming for the batmobile for years.

hybridlogix
hybridlogix

@Kyrylo You are calling him iron man wanna be because of his helmet...If you have paid attention to his armor he is much like batman or deathstroke...

lateralus1
lateralus1

@Kyrylo We haven't even seen any gameplay yet, and RockSteady has an incredible track record with the 1st two Arkham games. They were incredible. Hold your judgment for when the game actually comes out.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@se007 A suit...


They say he's completely original, but I think it would be a bit of the mood killer to unmask him and have people go "Oh! It's some dude!". My money is still on Hush, although I wonder if his Bruce mimicry ever worked knowing this game is set a year later and crime has been down. But it would be perfect if Hush first ruined Bruce, realized Bruce is Batman and then made himself the new Batman to ruin Batman too. Hush's disappearance in City was such a big deal, with people originally thinking Scarecrow and Hush will be the main villains in the sequel that I can't imagine what else his role could be.

tigerfan23
tigerfan23

@asosena691369  First thing I thought. I think it's him, Hush, or some sort of cliched clone/future Bruce Wayne.

Raphy_Turtle
Raphy_Turtle

@jomac3db1 That's just a pseudo title they've given him to relate to the series. It's either Hush or the relatively unknown dark reflection of Batman Prometheus. Who as it just so happens, remains unmasked to this day in the comics. Rocksteady says they're working with DC on the character, so they could very well play it off as being Hush underneath the Prometheus suit.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@twisted_sith  More than likely everyone's legally restricted from showing actual in-game footage yet. The game is likely to change quite a bit until the end of 2014 and I'm sure Rocksteady wants to keep as much of the game a surprise as possible.

Quarkzquarkz
Quarkzquarkz

@charlievo  I know I know, but I'm just saying, why not have a day mode where you just control Bruce Wayne and his daily errands or something I dunno..

Raphy_Turtle
Raphy_Turtle

@PrpleTrtleBuBum @se007It's either Hush or Prometheus...the supervillain opposite version of Batman.

http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Prometheus

I've been saying since I knew of the sequel to Arkham City, that Prometheus would make an epic and new antagonist. Given the story with Hush though, and the relative unknown of Prometheus (who also doesn't have a name as of yet, remains unknown in the comics) they could very well play it off as ''My name is Prometheus'' and later reveals to be Hush... Would be a great plot twist!!!

lateralus1
lateralus1

@Raphy_Turtle @jomac3db1 Well Hush is most likely a big part of this game along with the Scarecrow. Arkham city eluded to this with that side-mission and the Scarecrow easter eggs.

jomac3db1
jomac3db1

Oh ok. Well I'm glad ps plus gets arkham city free next month so I'll be caught up in time for this game. I'm super geeked for this game

lateralus1
lateralus1

@horizonwriter@twisted_sith There are restricted at this point. They actually said this somewhere not too long ago on one of the gaming sites. I can't remember which one. They saw actual gameplay in person, but were not allowed to record any of it. We will see it eventually. With RockSteady's track record with the first 2 Arkham games this is pretty damn exciting.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@horizonwriter @twisted_sithI'm wondering if we can exit the vehicle normally at all. My fantasies of driving the car slowly into a parking spot, elegantly getting out of the car, walking to a bunch of thugs and then kicking the ---- out of them is not going to happen if I'm always forced to use ejector seat like some half-wit action hero-wannabe who always pushes the "Do no push" button.