Dammitall! Here we were, hoping the next Batman game would be a gloriously silly, super-colourful Silver Age tale, but instead it looks to be more grimdark Nolanism. I mean, that’s fine, but we’ve done it twice already. Don’t wear it out, as Michelle Pfeiffer once said about her name to Michael Keaton. ‘Tis not to be – Batman: Arkham Origins is the next game, Rocksteady are no longer at the helm and the calendar has rewound to Bruce Wayne in his youth. Despite my arrogant suppositions a couple of sentences ago, that’s all we really know and it could yet turn out to be anything. Doesn’t seem like they’re avoiding evoking the style and tone of the earlier Arkhams, mind, and they’ll also be using the same engine. It’s “current-gen” so that may mean we don’t get the shiniest of all possible shines, but more positively they’re hinting at depicting Gotham City as a “functional city”, not a mere puzzleplace.
Again, not a lot to go on, as first information is locked up in Fortress Game Informer as per The Rules of getting a helping hand from US retail, but we have some artwork of Young Batman and a new-to-this-series villain, Deathstroke. (You shouldn’t stroke Death, he bites.) There’s also a trailer for GI’s content, in which new devs Warner Bros Games Montreal hint at some of what they have planned, reveal an unequivocally positive attitude towards the earlier Arkhams, and promise that this isn’t yet another Batman origin tale.
Again, Rocksteady are off doing something else – quite likely a proper next-gen Batman game, if you ask me. Heading up design for WB Montreal’s game is Eric Holmes, who performed similar duties for The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype. He also wrote the IDW comic series Megatron: Origin, which was a load of old cobblers. (As opposed to a more recent IDW Transformers series, More Than Meets The Eye, which is bloody brilliant, very funny, character-rich and everyone should read it even if they don’t like robot toys. Collections are pretty cheap on Comixology).
The prequel timeframe for Arkham Origins presumably opens the door to the Joker returning, given that the ending of Arkham City saw him opting to move to Provence with his new husband, Commissioner Gordon, with plans to adopt some Malawian orphans. No word on if Mr J will indeed appear, but the devs do hint in the video that this game will see “the first time Batman beats certain characters.”
We’re also told that Batman: Arkham Oranges will launch on October 25, 2013, on PC and the other things.