With the announcement of the next Arkham game Batman: Arkham Origins this week, there has been speculation as to what the game will feature and what story will be told. The nature of the new game will be a prequel to the first two games where Batman will be portrayed as a ”young, unrefined” version of the superhero. This, however, raises some issues.
The setting (according to OXM.co.uk) is Gotham, years before the events of the Arkahm Asylum and before Old Gotham has been transformed into Arkham City. So how is this linked in any way to the Arkham story in anything but name? Does this game lead into Arkham Asylum? Unlikely. There is no Joker according to reports, as Black Mask is the main villain this time, so the capture of Mark Hamill’s iconic baddie is off the table, ruling out a lead into the first game. Are the developers calling it Arkham purely for the public awareness? Or is there something more secret going on that we are not being told? Let’s hope so.
Seeing as it is a prequel, Origins cannot recycle the exact same skill set and gadgets that were seen in the previous two games. This is something that almost all great franchises that spawn prequels face. But for the previous Arkham games, the combat and the skill set was one part of the game which distinguished itself from other games in the superhero genre. The brutal, flowing combat with deep combinations (if you are willing to learn more than just button mashing) was refreshing and added to the number of things I loved about the franchise. How can Warner Brothers Montreal move the system forwards without making him more powerful than in previous games? This is a tough task. Additionally, the demo seems to add in a claw that links two bad guys, or two objects together in a similar fashion to Just Cause 2. Yes this is a nice addition to gameplay that will be tons of fun to play, but how will its disappearance in the events after the game be explained? Did Batman get bored of his new toy and prefer something else?
Talking of new toys, will we finally get the Batmobile in some form? Some areas of fans have been clamoring for the vehicle that Batman is rarely without. The car was glimpsed at the start of Arkham Asylum and continued to pop up in a story-driven capacity, but was not needed for the majority due to the indoor nature of the game. But seeing as we know Batman has the car before the asylum and we have a massive city, both old and new Gotham, it would be difficult for the developer to explain the absence of the Batmobile.
The decision to use a prequel setting is understandable. Fans will always want Rocksteady to return to do a third game, the villains are set up after subtle introductions and easter eggs (the tease of Scare Crow’s return was cruel). But this would have been a perfect game to move into from Arkham City for the Britain-based developer. A move into an even larger area than the move from the Asylum to the City would be the natural progression for a sequel while the story, a number of DC Universe’s villains descend on Gotham to try and get the reward placed on Batman’s head…seems like a perfect set up for the Rocksteady team as their handling of almost all villains so far has been stellar. Can Warner Brothers Montreal provide the same story quality and deep layers to the villains as the developer before them? It remains to be seen.
How do you think WB Montreal will do with these issues? What are your thoughts on the announcement? Let us know below.