Friday, June 7, 2013

Batman: Arkham Origins Rundown

Origins will take place on a snowy Christmas Eve in Gotham, years before the events of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Warner Bros is said to have taken inspiration from classic Batman titles Batman: Year One and Legends of the Dark Knight, but we're betting that if Origins is anything like previous Arkham titles, it'll only use these story arcs as a jumping off point.
- Supervillain Black Mask has been named as one of the major bad guys of the game, and features heavily in the newly released screens. He's placed a hit on Batman's head, offering a reward to whoever can best the Bat. Right on cue, the baddest supervillains from the DC Universe converge on Gotham to give it a go. Including the Joker who is in the game!
- Eric Holmes - lead designer of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and an Epic Games alumnus - will be responsible for the creative vision of the game. Rocksteady gave an early helping hand with regards to mechanics, tech and engine, but the team at WB Montreal were left on their own to craft the story.
- Warner Bros Montreal's work on Batman Arkham City Armored Edition for the Wii U has allowed it to build up some experience with Rocksteady's established codebase.
- The demo shown to Game Informer begins with Batman perched on Jezebel Plaza watching an arms deal. Penguin is talking to a tied up Alberto Falcone, threatening him to leave the weapons business. Alberto agrees to tell his father. Batman swoops in to interrogate Penguin, but before he can beat the information out of him an unknown assailant shoots a grappling claw in to reel Penguin away. When Batman tries to pursue, Deathstroke is revealed to be the one standing in his way.
- The Batman of Origins isn't the Batman that fans have come to know from earlier Arkham titles. He's rougher around the edges and probably not as confident as later incarnations. Which is why Kevin Conroy isn't voicing Batman this game.
- The screens show a snow-covered Gotham sprinkled with Christmas lights, and there's even a goon or two getting into the festive spirit with a Santa hat.
- As Origins takes place earlier in the city's timeline, "Old Gotham" hasn't been transformed into a prison yet and Amusement Mile hasn't been flooded.
- Batman, trying to figure out why the Black Mask wants him dead, will turn to the Penguin for information.
- Good news for lovers of Arkham City's combat - WB Montreal say they haven't fiddled with it. "If it's not broken, don't fix it!" said senior producer Ben Mattes. We like him. The developer does, however, admit to adding "new layers, new opportunities and new tactics." New enemy types will also force Batman to learn new moves in order to defeat them. Glides, ledge takedowns and sleeper holds make a return, as does predator mode.
- The Batwing makes an appearance in Origins, but players won't pilot it directly. Instead, it forms part of story sequences and is used as a form of fast travel.
- A new gadget, the Remote Claw, can be used like Just Cause's detachable grapple line to target two large objects - like, say, two oversized goons - and knock them together.
- WB Montreal has said it wants to tell a story "within the detective environment" and cites BBC series Sherlock as an inspiration. It sounds like the team want to re-emphasise the crime scene scanning and deduction sequences that were slightly underused in Arkham City. Batman can use his detective vision to figure out bullet trajectories or other points of interest.
- The Batcomputer can run crime scene simulations which players can replay as many times as they need to and from multiple angles and at different speeds, in order to find the clues they need to continue. Cases can be found all over Gotham and are presented as a counterpoint to combat scenarios.
- Old Gotham is half of the game world, with New Gotham making up the other portion. Overall it's said to be twice the size of Arkham City.
- To access content spread out around the city, players will have to bring down the hacked tower network, which emits jamming signals that stop the Batwing from flying or sensors from picking up points of interest. They sound like they'll work very much like the radio towers in Far Cry 3.
- A "Most Wanted System" is said to let players chase down villains outside of the main story.
- A dynamic event system, "Crime In Progress" will allow Batman to take on small tasks around the city to raise his notoriety. Tasks include helping cops put down thuggish mobs, or saving a snitch from a sticky end.
- Challenge Mode will be included "in one form."

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