The lights are on
Batman: Arkham City set high standards for a big exploration-focused open world filled with content to uncover. Warner Bros. Games Montreal aims to embrace the model established in that earlier Rocksteady game, but plans to dramatically expand the world to have Batman explore the full breadth of Gotham City. Along with a dramatic choice for the setting in time, the game world of Arkham Origins promises to offer a mix of familiar and surprisingly new elements.
One of the big features that sets Arkham Origins apart is its midwinter Christmas setting. The game picks up on a cold and forbidding Christmas Eve night in Gotham City. Batman is not new to his crime-fighting job as the game begins, but neither is he the grizzled veteran we’ll see in later Arkham games. Up until this point in his career, he’s been fighting mostly normal criminals – mob goons and heist artists – but tonight brings a new and far more dangerous series of threats – super-villains bent on the Dark Knight’s destruction.
The Christmas Eve setting is a purposeful juxtaposition of a normally joyful time cast in the light of the grim world of Gotham City. “It’s a really cool, happy, warm thing and then a really sad thing mixed together to make this ironic image,” explains creative director Eric Holmes. “It’s a beautiful thing in an ugly place. It adds an ironic humor to things without breaking the seriousness of the theme, which is really fun for us.” Scattered throughout the game world in the demo we saw, Christmas lights shine a pale light onto shadowy alleys. Decorative Santa statues take on a frightening tone when placed side by side with gothic gargoyles. Plazas are decked out for holiday celebrations, but they lay vacant thanks to a combination of intense cold, an awful winter storm, and escalating gang activity. Christmas in Gotham is not the stuff of happy dreams.
As Batman faces his new foes in this not-so-cheerful winter wonderland, he’ll have a far bigger world to explore than in previous Arkham games, but the entire setting is thematically tied together. The team calls Gotham City a parachronistic location – a place that seems to be dislodged from time and out of place. Many of the structures seem old and stylized, but the technology available in the world feels modern day or futuristic. “In terms of the timeline, there are aspects of 1930s all over. Like various incarnations of Batman, it’s very consistently in a 1930s style world. But Batman’s technology is clearly from the future. Batman has stuff that we don’t have today.”
[Next up: Rediscovering Old Gotham, and exploring the skyscrapers of New Gotham]
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Open world Gotham City? Sign me up!
I am hopeful that this game will match Arkham City, but not sure if it will surpass it.
At first Rocksteady's absence worried me, but after reading the cover story in the new issue, my fears are slowly being replaced with cautious optimism. It's nice knowing Sefton Hill and the rest are giving Montreal their blessing.
I went from "this could suck" to "this could be fantastic" just with this article. I'm probably going to wet myself when I get the issue.
The more I read about this game, the less worried I get. I trust these guys....now just show us some gameplay already!!!
Oh, that is great news!
Looks like a true imagining of the Animated Series' world in the aspect of 30's/40's aesthetic with tech of the modern era. I loved that look, so looking forward to seeing what this crew creates.
When I heard this wasn't going to be developed by Rocksteady I was fairly concerned about the quality of the game, but after reading the cover story on it I'm confident that this game is going to be amazing.
Oh boy. Oh mother ****ing boy!!
That Batwing and whatnot are fine, I guess. But seriously - if this world is so big and empty (because of the storm and gang activity), they BEST let us drive the Batmobile around finally! Screw "fast travel"; I want to travel places FAST. Gimme the Batmobile!
I'm super-stoked for this game. My two big hopes are that they include both new and returning playable characters in the challenges mode (Batman, Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman, and maybe even new additions like Batgirl and/or playable villans. I'd love to take down a group of thugs as Deathstroke) and that they maybe add a two-player co-op mode as well.