In The Grump Tank: Arkham Knight

Hardly any time has passed since the previous Arkham Knight trailer but I wanted to share this one for reasons that will become obvious. It’s all about the car, that being the big new feature and all, and it has managed to eradicate any enthusiasm I had about getting behind the wheel. The Batmobile looks more like a military fetishist’s wargasmic dream (never forget), and in the new clip we see more of its weaponry as it fights an army of tanks. Presumably they’re unmanned tank drones of some kind because Brucey does not seem concerned about the crew. Or collateral damage. It’s more Battlezone than Batman.

The reason I wanted to share this is that it’s essentially a showreel of all the most ridiculous bits from the last trailer (apart from the world’s most hilarious passenger seat). Everything that I forced my eyes to skim over so I didn’t have to consider the possibility of ludicrous Batmobile boss battles against sci-fi tanks is right here, in close up and impossible to ignore. I was pretty much on board with the idea of a new Rocksteady Arkham game no matter what, having hugely enjoyed the previous two, but these trailers are introducing doubts. Unless this is a radical take on marketing, that’s not how a trailer is supposed to work!

Now, the Batmobile sections will be just one element in the usual Rocksteady stew of stealth, fisticuffs, gadgetry, gliding and detection, but the video above is a catalogue of things that I do not want to happen in a Batman game. Sure, I enjoy the close up of Batman’s eyes – is Blazkowicz behind the mask in these scenes of war – but then it’s all rockets and the rat-a-tat of machine guns. If the Arkham Knight is some sort of cyberninja with an army of cybertanks, he might not be the most compelling addition to the rogues gallery.

I’d hoped the inclusion of the Batmobile was a ‘have car, will travel’ kind of deal – larger spaces to explore and more options for movement around those spaces. That may still be the case but on this evidence, the vehicle is mostly going to generate lots of explosions.

The bit when the car does a little shimmy is good though.

78 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Henke says:

    Yeah the fact that it’s so nimble and can easily strafe makes me think the in-car action will play much like a standard WASD third person shooter. While that’s kinda cool, and not out of character for the batmobile, I’d rather have it behave (and be used more like) a regular car.

    • Steve Catens says:

      The extended gameplay footage has indeed shown the Batmobile being used in simple GTA (Gotham Theft Auto) fashion getting from point A to point B through the city in haphazard fashion, minus the pedestrians being mowed down which is, in itself, conspicuous.

      You Tube link

      As far as getting the vehicle involved in combat, I don’t know what else you’re going to do with it other than give it guns. Using the car simply to get from set piece to set piece hardly seems worth its addition. I’d never abandon flying around the rooftops unless I had to. The voice of Oracle can clearly be heard identifying the opposing vehicles as unmanned drones and telling Batman not to worry.

      You’re correct in pointing out this Batmobile is perfectly in character with significant portrayals of Batman’s vehicles over the last few decades. In The Dark Knight Returns, the DNA of which has been found in every major portrayal since, he was driving a literal tank around, blowing up other tanks, and peppering combatants with “less lethal” rubber bullets. In Tim Burton’s Batman, he straight up murders a bunch of thugs with the Batmobile, dropping bombs from the wheels. Then he tries to gun down the Joker with the militarized Batwing, but is evidently a terrible shot.

  2. technoir says:

    I think there’s something missing from the tags…

    • Fontan says:

      The lack of the staring eyes tag is just troubling these days. Not even on that AC:U post with a character missing everything but the eyes has it been used!

  3. Kefren says:

    “Pre-order now – see a woman’s cleavage.”
    Game rated TMF (teenage male fantasy).

    • eggy toast says:

      Thanks for pretending that people besides teenage boys can’t enjoy breasts! Surely no one else exists who ever enjoys them!

      I’m sure you don’t think bisexual erasure is a serious problem either, Cool Guy Who Assumes Too Much.

      • aleander says:

        I’m sure you don’t think bisexual erasure is a serious problem either

        And I’m sure you like seal clubbing, non-sequitur person.

        • eggy toast says:

          Maybe if you are lost and not keeping up it’s not someone else making a non-sequitur.

          And I do indeed support the Candian fur hunters who quickly and painlessly kill animals in one of the best examples of sustainable wild harvest on the planet.

          • Kefren says:

            Well, opinions vary on that. link to youtube.com
            Apologies if you were being ironic (the irony in my OP seems to have been missed, so my irony creating and detecting abilities are obviously below par today).

      • Kefren says:

        Indeed, everyone can enjoy them. But I was parodying the marketing/PR department’s perspective on the issue, which is unlikely to be about inclusivity.

      • RQH says:

        Wait, does this mean I have to be bisexual (since I’m not a teenage boy) to enjoy breasts? I’ve been doing it wrong.

        Oh, wait, scratch that. I don’t much care for videogame breasts. Your oddly specific objection to the OP still works. Nothing to see here.

      • skyturnedred says:

        Even gay dudes enjoy boobies.

  4. Anthile says:

    This looks absolutely terrible and makes me fear for the worst: Assassin’s Creed-esque feature creep. Batman should not be shooting rockets at anybody. It’s wrong.
    I imagine it’s going to be a criticism of drone warfare, a popular subject in Hollywood lately.

    • FoSmash says:

      Agreed.
      When did the ‘Worlds Greatest Detective’ require a tank? What a waste of 75 years of character development just to churn out another ‘cut and paste’ 80’s unlimited ammo explosion-fest. Even the more cartoon versions of Batman had him better heavily armoured opponents in more thoughtful ways.

    • Oozo says:

      I always thought that Arkham City basically was Arkham Asylum — Featurecreep Edition! anyway, so I’m not sure that this will be so much worse.

  5. zat0ichi says:

    The first time I turned in a batmobile.
    [img]http://www.chickslovethecar.com/images/games/bmovie3.jpg[/img]

    Maybe that’s a near the end boss fight with a fully levelled up batmobile?

  6. Lars Westergren says:

    I loved the first two, but this has from a preorder to a “wait for a lot of reviews” for me. Less Crysis, more invisible predator of the night please.

    • svge says:

      Pretty ironic you say that considering that arguably no game succeeds in making you feel like an invisible predator as well as Crysis does.

  7. Jamesworkshop says:

    you will hate what they are doing with the riddler

    hey it’s the rid……race-track-ler?

    Riddle: What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning of every end and the end of every race?
    Answer: The letter “E”.

  8. drinniol says:

    I think it’s merely emphasising the main difference from the first two games, ie most people already know what the combat and movement will be like on foot.

  9. Laurentius says:

    1:16 onwards, something obscene is going on there…

  10. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    This is so unbatmanny.
    Can’t we just have a batmobile that stomps people like the mechs from One Must Fall?

    • Niko says:

      Did they really stomp people, though? I remember them only beating the scrap out of each other. Primal Rage, on the other hand…

  11. Stardog says:

    Did all of gaming media decide to bash these trailers in one of their secret mailing lists? You even mention the eyes close up as if you’re replying to a story on another site I read.

    • Shazbut says:

      It’s the same mailing list that includes such irrefutable gaming facts as “Grim Fandango had terrible controls”, “System Shock 2 had a terrible ending”, “DE:HR had terrible boss fights”, etc

    • RARARA says:

      What’s even more, almost every single person in the entire comments section other than you are on that mailing list too. That’s why we’re all being thoroughly unimpressed. Our reactions were mailed to us!

      • Niko says:

        I wouldn’t even know there were any eyes in this trailer if I wasn’t on that mailing list!

  12. spacevagrant says:

    Call of Duty: Arkham City. Press X to brood from the shadows.

  13. Horg says:

    That’s the kind of trailer that makes you wonder if the studio has an infestation of Michael Bays.

  14. int says:

    Is it gonna be less open than Oranges then? Also, I would love to see Richard Boone as Batman in a movie or show called Have Batmobile – Will Travel, but as the man is dead I fear I hope in vain.

  15. The First Door says:

    Well… that just looks a bit rubbish to be honest! Part of the reason I thought Asylum was a better game than City was because it was more focussed and could tell a more interesting story because of it. The recent trailers just make me think they’ve been forced to make it bigger and more shooty-bang to justify it being a sequel or because it is on ‘next gen’. I really hope it turns out better than it looks right now…

  16. Tiax says:

    There’s a french word that applies well to this trailer. It’s “putassier” and its roughly translate to whorish-and-not-in-a-classy-way.

  17. Basil says:

    Batman going on a killing spree with rockets just feels wrong.

  18. Malcolm says:

    Apart from the whole shooting thing, there’s something entirely unconvincing about a car which is nimble enough to jump, yet packing weaponry heavy enough to take out a large tank in a single shot. Real tanks weigh 60 tonnes and they still shake with recoil when firing. If Batman must pack anti-tank weaponry some form of anti-tank missile would be rather more convincing than that “magic” cannon.

    • airmikee says:

      Really? In a fictional universe full of people that look like they’ve eaten three steroid using baseball players, or have freakishly long chins and smiles that are the very definition of ‘grotesque’, you’re worried about a car being able to jump and shoot like a tank without violating some kind of law of nature?

  19. sonofsanta says:

    I suppose if you’re going to break your No Guns rule, you may as well go all out.

    • Steve Catens says:

      Batman doesn’t have a no guns rule, at least not in the past few decades. He just doesn’t like them, as they tend to violate his “no killing” rule, which he obeys about as faithfully as Kirk follows the Prime Directive.

  20. Distec says:

    Can I blame Nolan for this? Nothing really against the guy, and I liked his Batman trilogy well enough. But the third film seemed to really cement his portrayal as some badass, militarized commando. A far cry from the brooding detective from TAS or even Burton’s work.

    It was just a matter of time until the “Tumbler” concept of the Batmobile got even more ridiculous.

    • Turkey says:

      I think it would have helped if the 3rd movie actually dealt with the natural progression of the character and Batman became sort of a well-intentioned fascist. It would have tied the whole Ra’s Al Ghul philosophy theme together a lot better and Robin would’ve had a purpose. To give Batman perspective again.

      • Volcanu says:

        If only the ‘Dredd’ film had done better at the box office recently. Exploring that angle was the natural place for the films to go next- something the comics have done brilliantly – might I recommend ‘America’ if you aren’t already familiar with it?

        • Turkey says:

          Oh, that sucks. I really liked Judge Dredd. It felt like a classic John Carpenter movie.

          I’ll check out America right away. Thanks.

        • Distec says:

          This is just my completely baseless rambling, but I know I steered away from it for two reasons: 1) The last Dredd movie sucked and I was kind of expecting the same. 2) It was marketed as a 3D movie, which…. y’know…. have reputations for being pretty faff. In fact, part of its disappointing performance can be partly attributed to some theaters refusing to show it anything but 3D.

          Imagine my surprise when I caught it on Netflix and thought it was pretty effin’ good. Like, better than it should have been. And even the 3D/FX “money shots” were well-done and didn’t feel forced like so many others. It may help that I also saw this soon after The Raid, which has an almost identical setup.

          Since people actually pay attention to VOD performance now (see: Snowpiercer), I’m confident that Dredd has made enough money and critical good will in its life to justify a sequel.

          • Volcanu says:

            Yep I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. The two big problems were the stinker of a Stallone version, which caused huge damage to the ‘brand’ of a character who is less well known to American audiences and the ham fisted marketing which (a) didnt do a great job of making the film look interesting and (b) seemingly decided that doubling down on the 3d angle at a time when everyone was feeling particularly fatigued by that particular gimmick was the way to go. The lack of a PG or 12A rating probably hurt the film commercially, but if you are going to do Dredd right then it really does need to show the violence.

            Such a shame as there was much to like there- it’s easily my favourite comic book movie – and there were definite hints that they wanted to do something more thoughtful in subsequent films (writer confirmed it too). I’m glad it was something of a sleeper hit on DVD/VOD but I’m pessimistic that it will be enough to get a sequel produced.

    • airmikee says:

      You can only blame Nolan if you want to admit your ignorance of Batman’s history.

      link to toybox.io9.com

      From his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, until #33, Batman used guns and wasn’t afraid to kill his enemies.

      His ‘No Guns’ and ‘No Killing’ rules are the retcons, not Nolan’s movies, the Tumbler, or even this new game.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        He was far from militarized back in the day. The whole notion of “Batman as a military whore” is a modern interpretation, and most of the blame for that sits squarely on Nolan’s untalented little shoulders.

        • Anthile says:

          It’s simply something people are concerned about: police militarization, surveillance state and drone warfare. Batman himself is an analogue to the executive and thus is an adequate character to explore those issues.
          I wouldn’t be surprised if the game ends up yet another anti-drone warfare treatise.

        • LogicalDash says:

          No, Frank Miller deserves a bit of that too.

        • Hex says:

          Disagreeing with the man’s interpretation of a comic book character hardly makes Nolan untalented.

        • Premium User Badge

          FhnuZoag says:

          If you remove the problematicness and contradictions inherent in the modern depiction of Batman, I’d suggest that unless you replace it with something else, you are just left with a much less interesting character.

          At its heart, it seems to me that Batman is basically about a rich dude beating up some insane people, with the author making up some reasons on the spot as to why he always wins, but wins non-permanently so that the same few insane people can be beaten up again and again.

      • Distec says:

        I’m not sure if a few early examples of the character in his gestation period can be considered in any way definitive. The article you linked specifically calls those examples a “bending of the rules”; not normal or constant. You can call everything after his initial appearances a retcon if you really want to, but it doesn’t seem to be a useful application of the term when the majority of the character’s existence has been (with some admitted variances) been fairly well-defined.

  21. Niko says:

    2 Dark 2 Gritty.

  22. activity_coordinator says:

    I know it’s just a trailer, so I’m keeping my expectations minimal. I would just love to see a trailer that shows off the detective features… but there’s no explosions in that stuff.

  23. Synesthesia says:

    This isn’t batman. Why is batman using a gatling gun and heat-seeking missiles? I feel dumber after watching this.

  24. Alamech says:

    meh; blinking lights, rain, explosions and incomprehensible movements. I watched this trailer two times and I have no idea what is going on, but clearly the batmobile is now able to destroy tank-like vehicles, which is all there is to know I guess. Wow.

  25. Stevostin says:

    Lol, I watched the video first and then read the article. Obviously the subject had to be “is this real time ? wow, game engine are getting incredible” or something. Instead of that it’s a rant about things being silly (in a franchise that is 100% silly in the first place). It’s cute.

  26. ruaidhri.k says:

    I’m sure Batman thinks those little guys in the tanks are just having a nap after blowing the hell out of them

    Obligatory : link to youtube.com

  27. Kempston Wiggler says:

    All these comments and not one person has mentioned Arkham Origins. Is this a thing now, like The fourth Indy Jones film that definitely doesn’t exist? Was there a secret commenters memo that I missed?

    • Niko says:

      There’s no Arkham Oranges.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        Awwww. For some reason I seem to own it having bought it for cheaps, and the Season pass, and was looking forward to its first install shortly. Now my lookings-forward are somewhat….diminished.

        • Niko says:

          (Okay, actually I have no idea. I remember RPS being not very enthusiastic about it, but it’s probably a decent game. By the way, I like you name/userpic.)

    • funkstar says:

      it’s because arkham origins wasn’t made by rocksteady, and is therefore not a part of their ‘trilogy’. also has everyone forgotten the batmobile reveal trailer, where it mentioned unmanned drone tanks, and non-lethal anti-personnel rounds?

      • ffordesoon says:

        No, it’s even referred to offhand in the article.

        The issue is not that the tanks are unmanned, but that all the shootybang crap doesn’t really add to the fantasy of being Batman. You can argue that it also doesn’t detract from that fantasy, but if we’re forced to endure scenes like the one in that trailer throughout the game, then it really does detract from the fantasy.

        Also, from a diehard Batman fan’s point of view, the Batmobile having machine guns stuffed inside of it is sort of like Indiana Jones happily toting a bag full of snakes to fling at his enemies. It is just not something that character is supposed to do

      • ffordesoon says:

        No, it’s even referred to offhand in the article.

        The issue is not that the tanks are unmanned, but that all the shootybang crap doesn’t really add to the fantasy of being Batman. You can argue that it also doesn’t detract from that fantasy, but if we’re forced to endure scenes like the one in that trailer throughout the game, then it really does detract from the fantasy.

        Also, from a diehard Batman fan’s point of view, the Batmobile having machine guns stuffed inside of it is sort of like Indiana Jones happily toting a bag full of snakes to fling at his enemies. It’s taking something Batman famously despises and implying that he approves of that thing so much that it’s one of his “wonderful toys.”

        (And yes, he had guns and other weaponry attached to the Batmobile in most of the films. Many of us grimace through the bits where he uses them, even in the good Bat-films.)

  28. death_au says:

    I kept half expecting a Gecko to come stomping in at some point. Especially with a cyborg ninja as the main antagonist, it’s looking like Metal Gear Solid to me.
    “Crime… has changed…”

  29. jonahcutter says:

    It makes me think of the tower defense mini game shoehorned into the Assassin’s Creed series at one point.

    Who was asking for such a thing, in a game such as this?