I had decided to elaborate on a previous piece I had written because news on Warner Brothers Montreal’s next Batman game had begun to surface.
Should the developer cowl be passed on or retired?
New leaks for the next Batman game have come to light and they have me both optimistic and weary.
In 2014 Sefton Hill (Game Director of Arkham Knight) from Rocksteady studios announced that Arkham Knight would be their last Batman game. For a myriad of people, Arkham Knight was the ending of the series, everything wrapped up nicely. However, it left a lot of fans asking the question of who would take up the mantle of the game series? Would the next game be apart of the Arkham series and would it live up to Rocksteady games?
The rumour mill has been spinning for a long time on the next Batman game. For a couple of years there had been reports stating that Arkham Origins developer, Warner Brothers Montreal would be doing the next Batman game. This does make sense considering they have worked on the Arkham franchise and are a first party Warner Brothers developer. New rumours began to surface that they were in fact, making a Suicide Squad game – most likely based off the fact that there would be a Suicide Squad film. Going back a couple months we began to hear about their next Batman game. Further cemented by a recent recruitment video from the developer.
The rumours were that the game would take place 10 years in the future (Batman Beyond-esque) and that players would be patrolling the city as Bruce’s son Damien Wayne. The city (presumably Gotham) would be larger than any game before, plus would be populated by citizens. The story would take place over multiple nights but not revealed if you can run around during the day. Strong leaks even suggest that there is a “Batcycle” to drive around the city.
If true and if they are implemented, then it will be a game to be excited about. Fans of the series yearned for the city you protect to have people in it. To be a living breathing environment. Personally, I never minded the emptiness of the sandbox. For the stories crafted, it made sense to be a deserted shell. The only inhabitants being criminals. On the other hand, it would be fulfilling to see the actions you do reflected by a populace. Building on this, it would be interesting to have a reputation mechanic. Like the one In The Amazing Spiderman 2 game (but better). Expecting something like this from Warner Brothers Montreal isn’t far fetched. It was in fact in their Batman game where the updated detective mode was introduced. Having the ability to piece together a crime scene and manipulate the timeline to help solve the crime. Deemed so popular that it was implemented into Arkham Knight. Without a doubt, they would have access to the same engine and presumably assets from Rocksteady. Added with their past experience it would make for a good game. Points are also awarded to them for creating the Batgirl downloadable content in Arkham Knight. What I believe to be the best DLC for that game.
However based off average reviews of Batman Arkham Origins and my thoughts on the game. I believe the immediate future of Batman games doesn’t look hopeful. For me Arkham Origins was very meh *shrugs* and this wasn’t completely down to gameplay.
The reason this has me concerned is because Arkham Origins was a sub-par game, littered with bugs and glitches. Getting stuck outside the map, constant crashes. Additionally, the camera would start bugging out- facing you in places where you wouldn’t be able to dodge oncoming attacks (looking at you Bane fight). Some of the boss fights were lazily done and felt more like side-missions. The graphical fidelity of AO was also worse than the older Rocksteady games. Graphics generally don’t bother me, but why go through all the trouble making a bigger “better” city when all the textures ended up looking flat?
Despite the reasons above I have little optimism for their game and them as a studio. Their time after the launch of Arkham Origins led me to believe the way they handled Origins was unprofessional and showed a lack of respect. Warner Bros. never released DLC for the Wii U version and straight up refused to patch their game – so it will always be a buggy mess. I know that some of the blame falls on the publisher for not giving the studio support. I just don’t know that they will get support that Rocksteady did because they don’t have a reputation like theirs.
Their game could be a success and could do well if it is distanced from the established Arkhamverse. There would be comparisons to the Rocksteady games but they wouldn’t be as harsh. Warner Brothers Montreal has a team of 500 people nearly five times that of Rocksteady, so I believe they could make a game. We just have to wait but I am remaining cautious for what they have in store.