Batman takes up residence inside Specular's office

Learning To Drive The Batmobile
Batman is one of the highest profile properties in the world. So it’s not surprising that DC Comic and Warner Bros. are careful about what they allow people to do with the character. However, as soon as DC heard about Ranck and Jarvis’ idea for a Batman car combat title, the company was onboard. “They were super supportive and even gave us a lot of Batman concept art, which we were able to use in the game,” says Ranck.

Specular didn’t pitch a car combat game featuring just one Batmobile; they pitched a game that would feature over ten different versions of the iconic car, spanning across the ’66 Batman television show up through the ‘90s animated series and the more recent Christopher Nolan films. Specular even threw in the Batplane from the most recent Dark Knight Rises film in for good measure.

Players would be able to race around an open-world version of Gotham City, taking on missions to stop some of Batman’s most icon archenemies such as The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Bane, The Penguin, Scarecrow, and Catwoman. Arcade-goers could even clean up Gotham’s streets with a friend since the entire game would be co-op (both players’ scores would be tallied at the end of the round and the player with the lowest score would be labeled the sidekick). Returning players would even be able to input a code to access their profile and pick up where they last left off the next time they visited an arcade. Warner Bros. loved the idea, and so – it would turn out – would arcade players.

A shot of Batman publisher Raw Thrills's warehouse in the US

Succeeding In Arcades Today
It’s not as easy to make a high-profile arcade game as it once was. During the heyday of games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, it was hard to keep quarters out of arcade cabinets, but now the industry has diminished to such a degree that most gamers rarely explore an arcade.

“We’re certainly past the golden age of arcades,” says Defender creator Eugene Jarvis, “but it’s still a very viable market. It’s a niche market, but once you start looking for arcade games, you realize that they’re still out there, and they’re everywhere. From the big places like Dave & Buster to local bars and bowling alleys, or even ski resorts, cruise ships, and casinos.”

Specular Interactive has no plans to port its Batman title over to consoles, because it feels that the experience is completely unique to the arcade. In fact, Ranck and Jarvis are all too happy making big-brand games for a smaller audience.

“We have a saying in the industry that once you’ve worked in the arcade, you can never have a real job again,” says Jarvis. “It’s too much fun. From a design standpoint you control everything. You get to design the cabinet, the sound system, the interface; you even get to design the chair that players sit in. If you wanted to put a back massager in the back of the cabinet, all right! Every arcade cabinet is different. It’s like a designers dream.”

Similarly, these designers have given Batman fans an arcade game to dream about. They just have to find a ski resort or casino near them that features this unique Batman experience.


Learn more about Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight, by checking out our month's worth of coverage below.