It’s just twist after twist over at Game Informer’s staggered reveal of the new Batman, Arkham Knight - like being trapped in the dance hall with Cliff Richard and The Shadows for an entire month, until the torsos of young men and women have twisted clean off.
First - shock - we learn it’ll be developed by series originators Rocksteady. Second - gasp - that it’ll be the last in a quadrilogy. And now, in a scenario worthy of Patrick Stewart’s quadruple take, we’re told that not only will its map be several times larger than that seen in Arkham City, but that the Knight of the title isn’t even Batman.
Arkham Knight’s scale is a consequence of Rocksteady’s decision to ditch the older consoles and develop the game for Xbox One, PS4 and PC alone.
“Obviously, you see a lot of games that are cross-gen, and they feel a bit reined in because of that,” said director Sefton Hill. “Because we were able to make that decision quite early, we were able to be more ambitious with the design and make a real, genuine next-gen game.”
The game runs on an updated version of Rocksteady’s modified Unreal Engine, and features a map about five times bigger than that of Arkham City. For comparison’s sake, Arkham Origins’ map was double that of City’s. PCGamesN’s resident mathematician concludes that Arkham Knight is, therefore, “proper big”.
Loading screens between interiors and exteriors are gone, you’ll see the raindrops running down Batman’s suit, and there’ll be “three or four times as many” thugs wandering about the city at any one time. Which really suggests Commissioner Gordon isn’t doing his job.
One senior artist told Game Informer that some character models in Arkham Knight are built from the same number of polygons as Arkham City’s “whole environment”. Gosh, games development escalates at a silly rate, doesn’t it?
The Arkham Knight, meanwhile, turns out to be the game’s primary villain. Rocksteady and DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns have conceived an entirely new character - most likely the “militaristic Batman” mentioned elsewhere in Knight’s promotional material.
“We wanted to introduce someone who could really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways,” said Hill. “We're not talking about those ways just yet but this guy is definitely a formidable foe for Batman.”
Yup, Batman would definitely be a strong match for Batman. Will Arkham Knight make for a strong sequel, do you think?