The lights are on
Reimagining a beloved franchise isn’t an easy task, especially one with a legacy like that of Gotham’s Dark Knight. Inspired by a comic – an inherently visual medium – the aesthetics and atmosphere of Batman: Arkham Asylum were integral to the experience, something Art Director David Hego was keenly aware of. In a presentation yesterday Hego walked through the goals and inspirations for the game, stressing that great characters equate to great expectations and in turn lots of pressure on their end. Establishing several project goals early on, Hego and the team knew that they had to pay tribute to the iconic locations established in the comics but give them a fresh appeal. He also stressed the importance of strong tools and his happiness with using the Unreal Engine as the groundwork for the game. One of the key goals they hoped to achieve from an artistic approach was to differentiate the game visually from the other Batman media products – cartoons, comics, movies and so on. They also looked to establish a uniform stylization to use across the board, to use color in surprising and intentional ways, and to integrate dark and Gothic elements throughout the environment. Ultimately, Arkham needed to be a living character, and the bizarre cast of characters inhabiting the island needed to feel at home. Hyper-realism was the key word used to describe the merging of the iconic comic book style and true-to-life visuals. This was particularly hard to implement when it came to the characters, as the improbable cast risked looking less believable through a real-world lens. Throughout the process creative liberties were taken with some characters, while others stayed true to their original designs. For Batman, Rocksteady chose to make his classic costume look more industrial and military-influenced. The Joker was a bit more complex and harder to translate, but the team is happy with how he turned out. Harley Quinn was one of the team's favorite redesigns, as they were given permission to push her in a different direction than she is usually depicted. Hego noted that change is always a scary idea with licensed characters as the new look will ultimately endear some and alienate others. In Arkham Asylum the environment became a character itself, a clue that the team made good design decisions along the way. One of the goals for architecture was to infuse history into the buildings and Rocksteady did this by playing with Gothic and Victorian styles. Verticallity was also paramount to the visual style – and to gameplay. The team also worked hard to integrate crooked lines into the environment whenever possible. This technique was applied to trees, drain pipes and more. Fans of Arkham Asylum would probably agree that while many of the facilities on the island are functionally similar, the Rocksteady team managed to infuse personality into each new location. Key words were used to help define what each environment would look like. The Maximum Security area was intended to look industrial Gothic, claustrophobic, retrofitted and like a bunker. The Medical Wing needed to inspire horror, use metal work, employ verticallity and host more Victorian elements. The Catacombs aimed to feel oppressing, focus on the earth and use brickwork. This type of differentiation helped the team flesh out 40 rooms, 34 corridors, 3 exterior maps and 3 Scarecrow maps.Arkham was developed in a relatively short amount of time, and the team credits this with the modular design of the environments. For each location they created a set of assets and then built the environment as if using LEGOS. Hego said that this approach not only was time effective, but resulted in a believable, industrial look. In these areas, lighting became infinitely important. Light was used to draw the eye to points of interest, and to draw the player forward in "boring corridors." Light also allowed for shadows and darkness, an integral part of the visual presentation and gameplay. Rocksteady seemed to embrace the pressure on them and succeed in spades, producing a game that not only paid tribute to the comic book origins of the franchise, but also set a benchmark for the future Batman entertainment properties.
Batman : Arkham Asylum was an absolute great game that i enjoyed playing twice. They did an amazing job with taking a 'Dark Knight' and making it 'dark'. I cant wait to see more of and play Arkham Asylum 2
I hope someone can do this for the superman games, cause they suck.
I mean, superman 64 was a calamity to the mind. Just going through rings the whole time. And superman returns for the xbox made me return it within 5 minutes of playing it.
I absolutely loved this game! Early on I found myself fully immersed in this environment. Rocksteady did a fantastic job of luring me in. It was great fun to traverse all three map looking for all of the Riddlers trophies and secrets. Since that meant that I was constantly running back and forth, and in and out of buildings, I would have expected to get bored with it quickly. But, the art style kept it interesting throughout my entire experience.
The environments in this game are AMAZING. I never stopped having fun looking for new ways to get through areas and take down thugs. And every time I thought had all the methods down pat, one of my friends would show me a new way to go at things. I still doubt I've got it all done.
Batman AA is and will be for a long time, my favorite game. I can not wait till the next Batman game comes out.
Batman Arkham Asylum is awesome can't wait for Batman Arkham Asylum 2
I agree with everyone! "B-Man" was probably the second best game I've ever played in '09. (#1 being Skate 2) And I cannot wait for AA2.
Arkham Asylum was my GotY, and the look they gave to the island was definitely one of my favorite parts. You know a game did something right when going through the same area over and over doesn't make you tired of seeing it, and I never got tired of exploring Arkham.
i played a demo for this it was corrupted data so the camera kept spinning over and over and over i couldnt stop it so all i did was beat the hench men in the first room then i couldnt work my way down the hall way lol i downloaded it 3 more times same thing so i didnt even follow
BEST BATMAN GAME EVER!
You didn't play many games in 09' did you?
BAA was quite possibly the best super hero game Ive ever had the privilege to play.
Batman has lways been about the "gothic" look, taking that style and exaggerating it was probably the obvious choice in the matter
Batman:AA was way too short. I wish it was longer!
Batman: AA was a fantastic game in so many ways. I look forward to Batman: AA 2.
dude they got to make b.a.a2 longer i got it the first day and beat the very next with 85% done and 45 out of 50 acievments
They aren't involved in Dead Space 2 at all, that's Visceral games.
The setting in Batman: Arkham Asylum was absolutely amazing, they did it perfectly. It actually felt dark and hopeless, it actually gave a believable feeling of insanity. They did a great job so it's great to hear from them.