playstationtrophies.org (one of my go-to gaming sites), got their hands on and chunk of info for this game. I'm assuming it's from the Game Informer article. In spoilers.
Batman: Arkham Knight was announced yesterday; a retailer leak breaking the news shortly before an official announcement trailer appeared. This was quickly followed by the release of Game Informer’s heavily Batman-focused issue, and a GameStop pre-order poster which seems to reveal the game’s release date.
Here’s everything we know so far.
Batman: Arkham Knight is developed by Rocksteady, the series creators. It marks the return of the British studio following last year’s prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, which was developed by Warner Bros. Montreal.
The studio says it is moving on to other things following the release of Arkham Knight which are “most definitely not Batman related.”
While we don’t know too many specifics about the story itself, we do know that Batman: Arkham Asylum is the “explosive finale to the Arkham series”, taking place one year after the events of Arkham City.
Other story info includes the revelation that now the is Joker gone, Gotham’s other key villains have colluded to plot Batman's downfall. In order to spread the dark knight’s resources thin, each villain has his or her own mission in the city.
According to the game director, the ending of the series has been planned out for some time.
"We knew where we wanted it to go," Hill told Game Informer. "We don't work on multiple titles at the same time. We just work on the one game, and we want it to be the single best thing. We make it like it's the last game we'll ever get to make."
"And it felt like the right way to end the story. I felt like it brought the arcs from first and second game, from Asylum and City, to a close. It felt like the natural fit really. We've been doing Batman games for a long while now. We wanted to put everything into this one and really close the trilogy with a bang.”
Batman: Arkham Knight takes place in a new central zone of Gotham City, roughly five times the size of Arkham City. It is split into three islands. And while the scale is obviously impressive, Rocksteady’s aim isn’t to make the biggest world, but the richest, densest and most vibrant.
Only criminals remain in Gotham. Scarecrow has threatened to detonate bombs and cover the city in a new version of his fear toxin, so it has been evacuated.
The layout of the city has been created to accommodate the Batmobile (see “Batmobile”), while ramps, barriers and traffic have been used to provide additional hazards.
Additionally the buildings in the city are more spread out than in the previous game. "Arkham City was quite claustrophobic," game director Sefton Hill told Game Informer. "Here we have a lot more negative space between the buildings so it’s much easier and more enjoyable to glide around."
Though far more will no doubt be revealed in the weeks to come, including confirmation of a since-removed Facebook tease that Hush will play a role, here’s what we know about Arkham Knight’s bad dudes so far.
The official announcement for the game says, “Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city he is sworn to protect. The Scarecrow returns to unite an impressive roster of super villains, including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, to destroy The Dark Knight forever.”
There’s another character too. "Arkham Knight" is also the name of a new arch-rival, created from scratch by DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. The character will "really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways.”
It would seem the demo played by Game Informer ends with the player’s first encounter with this character. He is described as a "militaristic Batman" with what looks like an "Arkham A" on his chest. Apparently, he shoots Batman and the screen fades to black.
Beyond that, Gotham is also crawling with criminals, reportedly four or five times the amount featured in Arkham City. Riots will occasionally break out featuring up to 50 characters smashing up the city.
Jim Gordon plays a role, although his police force is overwhelmed with criminals. He believes that his daughter Barbara - also known as Oracle - is gone. She isn’t, however, she’s helping Batman. Arkham City follows the comic continuity in that Barbara has been paralysed by the Joker.
Unlike in Rocksteady’s other games, Oracle will be a physical presence, rather than just a guiding voice in Batman’s ear. She knows Batman’s real identity and is employed by the writers to show the dark knight’s more human side.
Kevin Conroy - Batman
Nolan North - Penguin
Wally Wingert - Riddler
Tara Strong - Harley Quinn
Troy Baker - Two-Face.
Graphics and Tech Stuff
Batman: Arkham Knight is built on what Rocksteady calls a "juiced up" version of a custom Unreal Engine, in order to take advantage of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4’s capabilities. Rocksteady describes Arkham Knight as "a real, genuine next-gen game.”
All of the game's cutscenes take place in-engine and are no pre-rendered cinematics. Rocksteady says they are seamlessly integrated into the action, meaning the shift from gameplay to cut-scene is unobtrusive. Similarly, unlike previous Arkham games, there are no loading screens between interior and exterior environments.
Loading screens have been eradicated for switching between interiors and exteriors, and at any given time there are "three or four times as many" thugs active in Gotham City compared to the previous game.
There’s also this astounding quote from lead character artist Albert Feliu. He told Game Informer that one character in Arkham Knight has more polygons than the entirety of Arkham Asylum.
”At the beginning, we started making characters that were about three to four times the polygon count and texture sizes of Arkham City,” he said. "As we kept going with every character we just pushed it more. It's the kind of thing that sounds insane. Like one character is as big as the polygon count of Arkham Asylum, the whole environment."
Special cloth physics have also been implemented, so that Batman’s cape and Gordon’s trench coat react realistically to wind and movement. You can even see raindrops running down them.
There is no multiplayer in Arkham Knight. Rocksteady is focused on "making the best single-player experience it can.” The studio doesn’t feel Arkham Knight and needs multiplayer.
Rocksteady wants the Batmobile to be "the best car in any game ever.” According to the studio it takes up around 160mb of memory. There are hundreds of thousands of polygons, as well as textures and shaders used to make it look impressive.
Indeed, Rocksteady says that the Batmobile is so detailed that it wouldn’t fit on an Xbox 360, presumably meaning that it is made up of so much information that you can’t fit it on a DVD.
The only vehicle that Batman has access to in the game, the Batmobile zooms to your location with the press of a button. It can jumps, boost, do burnouts and "rotate in a circle at a full stop to get you pointed in the right direction.”
It’s also bulletproof and can smash through barricades, trees and building corners, plus it can missile lock and fire an immobilizer at enemy vehicles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, enemies will try and get out of the way if they see it coming.
If Batman approaches a key point in the Batmobile, he can launch himself out of it into a fast glide.
In the demo played by GameInformer, the Riddler challenges Batman to a three-lap time trial through the underground tunnels of Gotham. According to the write-up, the only way to make it through is to use a special radar pulse that moves obstacles on the track.
Batman begins the game with his traditional Arkham City suit, but upgrades to a darker, plated one later on, gaining new abilities in the process. The new suit has been designed to complement the look of the Batmobile.
The controls have been streamlined somewhat with the introduction of a new move, allowing Batman to sprint to the nearest ledge and dive straight down.
The Grapnel Gun now has a Mark 2 boost upgrade and can be used to slingshot Batman into the air, while the Line launcher can provide Batman with perch points. The Line Launcher can also create ziplines while Batman is flying around. Similarly, all quickfire gadgets can be used in mid-air.
While Rocksteady believes that the simplicity of the combat and the counter system is the key to its success, some new features have been introduced. For example, a well-timed backflip can instantly KO charging enemies. Quick and full ground strikes are available, the latter allowing takedowns but taking longer to pull off.
Beyond this, environmental elements have been introduced to combat. For example, you can throw enemies into power generators.
Double damage can be dealt by pulling off a throw counter that grabs enemies and launches them into another. "Fear Takedowns" can also be used on groups of three enemies, just as long as they're close together and unaware of Batman’s presence.
Concentrating on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only has allowed Rocksteady to make “a real, genuine next-gen game,” Sefton Hill told Game Informer.
"It's not a challenge to move to next-gen. The real challenge is making sure you’re getting the best out of the machines. It’s easy to get the game running, but it's about, ‘What can we do that really pushes those machines?’
“Obviously you see a lot of games that are cross-gen, and they feel a bit reined in because of that. 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.”
Pre-orders of Batman: Arkham Knight allow players to play as Harley Quinn, gain access to four exclusive challenge maps and “utilize her unique weapons, gadgets and abilities.” This information comes from the promotional material below.
This was spotted on a GameStop pre-order poster. It says the game is coming to North America on October 14th. Placeholder dates are often used on retailer websites, but because this is on promotional material, it is likely legitimate. You can see the poster below.