Earlier this week, Rocksteady announced their next title as Batman Arkham Knight. This game will, according to Rocksteady, conclude their Arkham Trilogy (interesting that they chose to ignore Arkham Origins in that statement). A friend of mine has already touched on this game , and I urge you to check that blog out, but, shyster that I am, I figured why not do a blog as well.
Story wise, it appears that Scarecrow will be the “big bad” in Arkham Knight. Acting upon his threat to release a fear toxin, Gotham City has been evacuated, leaving only the thugs and villains for Batman to encounter. Scarecrow has also recruited other major players in Batman’s rogue gallery in order to not only enact his plan, but finally take down the Dark Knight. I like the enhanced role of Scarecrow. He’s always been one of my favorite villains and while his stages in past Arkham games were well done, placing him as the primary antagonist (so far as we know) is an intriguing idea considering his fighting style (using drugs to cause hallucinations).
Arkham Knight will be bigger than Arkham City, encompassing an evacuated Gotham City. How big, exactly, isn’t know yet, but since the Batmobile will be drivable in-game, I would guess we’re talking a city on the scale of something from Grand Theft Auto. This is cool for two reasons. Firstly, it means that finding everything and checking the nooks & crannies of Gotham will be much deeper than in past games, in which it was already quite deep. Secondly though, it means that gliding will be that much more glorious. Flying from one end of Arkham City to the other was just so much fun, and having an even larger city to fly around is like a dream.
All that said, the most interesting aspect of this announcement that I’ve seen is that the game will be PS4/Xbox One/PC exclusive. So far, the past generation has co-existed with the current generation for the most part. Sure, there have been a few exclusives, but those have been primarily first party games. This is the first big AAA third party title that I can recall that isn’t also coming to the past generation (or the WiiU).
In my mind, this has two meanings. To begin with, it seems obvious that Rocksteady used all of the power they could get out of the PS4 and Xbox One to make this title. By choosing to do that, they created a game that would have to be down-graded quite a bit to work on the PS3/360/WiiU. I think this is a bit risky, as they’re cutting out a massive install base, but also admirable because it shows a respect for the hardware and faith in their product. I think also that this will be the measuring stick for other third party developers. As I said, so far developers have hedged their bets when it comes to bringing their games to all consoles, or even ignoring next gen in the case of something like Fable Anniversary or Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. This game will be the one that first really tests the waters of a next generation exclusive for both the PS4 and Xbox One. It could very well lead to other third parties following a similar route more quickly than they might other wise have done. Yes, I realize that this was a sure eventuality, I just honestly didn’t expect it this quickly. I would have bet money on another Arkham game hitting both generations.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and will surely play through Arkham Origins soon enough. I don’t have a PS4 or an Xbox One yet. Honestly, I just don’t think the library of games is strong enough for me to even consider getting one. The best compliment I can give Rocksteady is that this game announcement is the first one that’s made me think about starting to slowly save up my money and take that plunge. I think the Arkham games have been that strong. Ultimately, if this game can sway me to jump in, I’m sure it will do the same with other consumers that have been holding off to date. Kudos to Rocksteady on that front. They’ve taken a calculated risk by choosing to go exclusively with the next generation, and I think that’s going to pay off for them.
Brandon Nicholson is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and the founder of Just Another Video Game Blog and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Brandon provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.