Batman Arkham… County? Country? World? We dare not speculate on the direction Rocksteady are going to take with their next Batman game. Rest assured, even if Batman Arkham City wasn’t the massive sales juggernaut that it has proven to be, Arkham City is stuffed full of teasers for the next game so a sequel is inevitable. The game is filled with secrets ranging from encoded radio messages, hidden rooms, and a specific side mission that warns Batman that Gotham will burn following the events of Arkham City, so you can bet that Rocksteady have a solid idea of where they’re going next.
Whatever it is called, we’re certain it’ll be a fantastic game, and we’re sure that Rocksteady know what they’re doing. However, until the game is officially announced all we can do is speculate on where they’ll go with the next entry in their Arkham series. Until that time, here are a few of our thoughts on what we want to see from Rocksteady. We’ll try as hard as we can to avoid major spoilers, but if you haven’t played Arkham City yet we recommend that you stop reading right now.
Ever since the success of Bioshock it seems like almost every other game released these days has collectible audio diaries of some sort that are used as a quick way of filling in the game’s back-story. Arkham Asylum used this idea in the form of recordings of the villains’ psychotherapy sessions, and for the most part they were all fantastic. However, considering the vast number of villains contained in their games, it seems strange that there were so few of them to collect.
If I were Rocksteady I would feature more of these recordings as a way of giving villains more screen time, and take advantage of the extensive knowledge of the game’s lead writer Paul Dini, who wrote many of the best episodes of the seminal 1990s Batman Animated Series.
Animate the Arkham Stories:
One of the new additions to Arkham City was the inclusion of unlockable Arkham Stories, short stories that detailed what happened between the two Arkham Games. As Warner Brothers is the game’s publisher, and Warner are well known for their animation department, why not animate these Arkham Stories? Warner Brothers have already produced a number of short animated vignettes for Batman Gotham City Impostors, a downloadable shooter that is coming out in early 2012, so why not extend the budget a little to make Arkham 3 that much more spectacular?
Much like the inclusion of more audio diaries, this would also grant some of the obscure villains more screen time, and further flesh out the world.
Better Use of Villains:
One valid criticism of Arkham City is that some villains did not get the exposure they needed. For instance, the Mad Hatter was actually quite central to the plot, but was barely used outside of a handful of audio diaries and one short mission. And the final boss (whose identity we won’t spoil here) could have been used more effectively, considering the build up.
While we’re at it, how about using some more unconventional villains? Rocksteady should be praised for using characters such as Zsasz, Calendarman and Deadshot, but how about more challenging foes like Prometheus, Man-Bat, or Firefly?
Imagine if Rocksteady took the concept of Calendarman, a criminal that only commits crimes on holidays, and used that in their next game? Yes Calendarman already makes an appearance in Arkham City, and if you visit him on set holidays he will share holiday-themed stories with you, but imagine if rather than listening to his crimes you had a chance to play them! For instance, boot up your copy of Arkham 3 on Halloween and you find Calendarman doing some fatal trick or treating? Or on Christmas Day he is dropping explosive presents down unsuspecting citizens’ chimneys.
That’d one way to keep people from trading it in!
Greater focus on Detective Mode:
Considering that Batman is supposed to be the world’s greatest detective a lot of the cases that Batman solves in the two Arkham games have been incredibly simplistic. Your average task in Arkham Asylum had you following trails of blood, pollen, and other substances, while the crime scene inverstigation in Arkham City expanded in to following the trajectory of a gunshot and scanning dead bodies. Not exactly jobs that require massive feats of deductive prowess.
We’re not saying that we want incredibly complicated puzzles, but a bit more variety would be a welcome addition.
Co-op Challenge Rooms:
After having introduced Catwoman, Azrael, Robin, and Nightwing to the Arkham Universe it would make sense to produce some sort of co-operative element to the next title. Personally we don’t think that the main story mode should be co-operative, but there is plenty of scope for co-operative challenge missions. For instance, you could just take the established Combat Challenges and Silent Predator missions from the previous two games and introduce co-operative missions. Imagine being able to co-ordinate stealth take-downs, or team together to take down a room full of thugs. It would be great.
But you know what would be even better? A separate co-op story mode, like the one seen in Splinter Cell Conviction and Rage, that compliments the game’s main story. How great would it be if you could play important moments from Batman’s past co-operatively?
Separate Catwoman Mode:
One of my major gripes with Arkham City was the way that Rocksteady shoehorned Catwoman in to the main game’s narrative. At various points in the story you would stop playing as Batman and take over as Catwoman, who had her own unique control scheme and missions. Now the main problem with this is that it really broke the flow of the story, and parts of it just didn’t make sense; at the end of the first Catwoman segment she is captured by Poison Ivy who threatens to kill her, then at the start of her second mission, some six hours later in-game time, the conversation picks up exactly where it left off as if only a few seconds had passed.
Most people probably won’t care about that, but this disregard for the laws of time really got my goat. This could all have been avoided if they had simply made the Catwoman missions a separate mode, like Assignment Ada in Resident Evil 4. This would also allow people that didn’t like playing as Catwoman the opportunity to just ignore her, rather than having to slog through her missions before you get to continue playing as Batman.
Adam West DLC:
How amazing would the game be if you could play it as Adam West’s Batman? ‘Nuff said.
We don’t genuinely think that Rocksteady will take all of these suggestions on board, but we hope to see some of these ideas make the cut in Batman’s next adventure.
- Luke Mears