Developers should never back themselves into a corner with the game they make. You don’t want to become known as “the Batman guys” or “the Gears guys”. You need to keep doing what you do best but always show another side of the coin. I feel that is why Epic began to broaden their releases from just Gears of War to Gears, Shadow Complex, Infinity Blade, Bulletstorm, and so on. Rocksteady has made one game before Batman: Arkham Asylum and that Urban Chaos.
The studio was founded in 2004 and has three games under their belt with two being massive hits. Rumors are already starting to make the rounds about the next Batman game from Rocksteady. Apparently it is based on the Silver Age Bats and that makes me sad. I really don’t know why we would need a prequel to Asylum. The story set forth in the Arkham games stand alone as the best comic book games ever. I was hoping that if Rocksteady pursued more Batman fame, it would be in a different time. A future time.
For those who were still growing up in the tail end of the 90′s or were just big Batman buffs were treated to a cartoon that surprised the hell out of most. Batman Beyond was a really great show. A wonky concept that made you scratch your head at first turned into a great way to continue the Bat mantle after Bruce’s time. The show was dark, gritty, and a little more mature than the other cartoons which really helped it. After all, if Batman is too old to really fight crime, Gotham’s going to go to hell. The show would need to be a bit mature to portray society and life in Neo-Gotham.
If you didn’t watch Batman Beyond, let me catch you up to speed real quick. The series starts with an old Bruce still locked in his old ways. Batman tries to stop a group of criminals and nearly gets himself killed. Meanwhile, a boy named Terry stumbles upon Wayne Manor after a chase by a Gotham gang called the Jokerz. Bruce saves Terry from a roughing up but his body can’t handle the excitement anymore. Terry helps him inside and long story short, discovers that Bruce was Batman. A bit later, Terry’s dad is killed by a corporate hired gun and Terry sneaks out the Batsuit to avenge him. Bruce stops him and eventually agrees that Terry should become the new Batman to keep Gotham safe again.
After the initial “origin” story, we were treated to three seasons of great TV that introduced a lot of well done villains and some returning. It was very interesting to see Bruce in the mentor role again but this time holed up in the Batcave unable to actually help in combat. It was and exciting show and a blast to watch.
The cityscape of Neo-Gotham, Terry’s suit abilities, weapons, vehicles, and having Bruce as the guiding voice would make for a great Rocksteady open-world game. There is so much to use and plenty of villains to throw in. The world is primed for a Rocksteady digitizing.
What would have to go in to making a great Beyond game, though?
Think Ultimate Spider-Man
Not the comic, the game. Ultimate Spider-Man preserved the feeling of the comics not just by the cel-shading but also by perfectly taking the nature of the characters and putting that in an on-screen, interactive adventure. I hope this doesn’t hope sound like I want this Batman Beyond game to be kiddie or anything. Far from it. I’d like to see the way the show was with its gritty, skirting the edge methods (and maybe even a bit more mature) but in a cel-shaded view.
Why? Ever since I played in the Batman Beyond suit in Arkham City, I felt that Batman Beyond needs to stay away from realism. Terry and the Batsuit look much better animated in a cartoon-style or something close to it. I couldn’t even use the Beyond suit in Arkham City, mostly because Bruce’s physique makes the suit looks really weird without a cape, but also because I’m so used to Batman Beyond character being some fit guy who is agile. I couldn’t get into Bruce in the Batsuit.
Doing this game in a cel-shaded, semi-cartoon-ish state would preserve the feeling of the show while still allowing Rocksteady to bring their own tweaks and maturity to the game.
Use all of the villains
I can’t see a Beyond game turning into a series. It would most likely be a one-off game to satisfy fans. That said, they should pack as many villains as it makes sense to. Arkham City held so many villains and not one did I stare at my screen saying, “why is he/she here?” I’d love to see Shriek, Inque, Blight, Spellbinder, Mad Stan, Curare, and the Royal Flush Gang. Have the Jokerz gang around the city. Even bring some old villains back like Freeze and Joker, just like in the show. There is plenty of great rogues to use from Beyond. Mad Stan himself was so fun to watch and I could see a city-wide bomb containment mission going on. Stan calls you ala Zsasz and you go chasing a bomb as he rambles on about “the man”.
Choice of transportation
Neo-Gotham is a big place. To get around it, it would be great if we could choose to fly around using the Batsuit’s wings and boot jets or the aerial Batmobile. Having Terry call on the Batmobile and jet into the sky just to fall into the seat would be awesome. It would be a great way to get around the city faster.
Terry can get around pretty well on his own, too. His wings and boot jets are pretty quickly but this isn’t Arkham City where we only have a piece of Gotham City to travese. This is all of Neo-Gotham and we’re going to need a quicker alternative.
Terry was given a ton of crazy high-tech gadgets to use with the new Batsuit. The wrist-loaded Batarangs, touch microphones, stealth, and even more. Bruce even has some of the nostalgic gear lying around and that would be cool to bring out once in a while during the game.
Arkham Asylum gave us a taste of the Batcave but it was absent in City. I’d like to see Terry be able to head back to the Batcave whenever he wanted since the city is open. Have a training room inside for challenge maps, costume changer, interactive NPC’s for Bruce and his dog, and even pick up side missions that Barbara sends us via the Batcomputer. There are plenty of things to do in the Batcave and it would make sense to go there plenty of times during the game.
I’m interested to hear what other fans of Batman Beyond would like to see in a Rocksteady game like this. Terry needs his own game with the attention and detail of the Arkham games.