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Meet Arkham Knight: the new Batman character created by Rocksteady

Thursday, 27 March 2014 07:00 GMT By Phil Owen

For Batman: Arkham Knight Rocksteady has created a new character for the universe – a process it found “terrifying”.

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“When the idea was on the table for us to develop our own character we really were conscious of the value of the collaboration creatively we have with DC.”

Batman may be a knight, but he’s not the Arkham Knight. That name belongs to an original character Rocksteady has created in cooperation with DC specifically for the capper on its Arkham series of Batman games.

I got to see this guy very briefly when he appeared at the end of the live demo press were shown behind closed doors at GDC. He leaped at Batman from offscreen as our hero was walking out a door, knocking him down and point a gun at his head. The demo faded to black, and a gunshot rang out.

Rocksteady producer and marketing guru Dax Ginn called the opportunity to make an original character in the Batman universe “terrifying,” but the folks at the studio are relishing the chance to hopefully make a mark on the Batman property that lasts beyond the tail of the games themselves.

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“The opportunity is exciting, but the expectation [from fans] is off the scale,” Ginn told me in a one-on-one after the session when I probed him about crafting this Arkham Knight. “That’s why working with DC is so awesome for us, because those guys are so experienced, and it’s obviously something they do a lot of.

“So when the idea was on the table for us to develop our own character and introduce that into Batman’s world, there was so much energy and excitement around it at Rocksteady – but we really were conscious of the value of the collaboration creatively we have with DC to make sure the gameplay role the Arkham Knight has is really reflected in his appearance and his outlook and his perspective.

“Batman’s no-kill philosophy is pretty non-negotiable.”

“That’s not an opportunity that comes along very often, and I think we totally nailed it with this guy.”

Beyond that and our brief look at him, the Arkham Knight is still in the mystery box for now. At the same time, however, the 30-minute demo took the new Batmobile completely out of that box.

BAK_Sshot019

Batman’s jet-powered car has a decidedly powerful effect on the world of the game that allays, for now, my own fears about the size of the game world, which covers all of Gotham City and far more ground than Arkham City did. I found that game’s open world to be tedious to traverse by gliding and grappling, and the Batmobile, which zooms in from the ether on-demand, seems to exist both as a delightful chunk of fan service and to deal with those concerns about travel that more than a few players had.

This Gotham City is under siege by the usual assortment of named villains and dumb thugs like Arkham City was (and like Gotham was in The Dark Knight Rises film), and the sheer chaos involved in speeding around town in this groundjet is quite a sight. The scenery is chock-full of things to smash and unlikely shortcuts to utilize, though of course in all that collateral damage you won’t be running over any of the bad guys since that would probably kill them, a classic Batman no-no.

“Batman’s no-kill philosophy is pretty non-negotiable,” Ginn said. The game itself facilitates that, of course; thugs you’re speeding toward will try to get the hell out of your way, and those who don’t will be zapped by this Batmobile’s auto-taser gun.

You will naturally have car chases, but the most intriguing-looking use of the Batmobile we saw came in the form of a Riddler challenge. Mr. Nigma has this time set up a series of obstacle courses for Batman to drive through. We saw one of these, in which you must drive through the course three times under a time limit, with the trick being that the course will change a bit each time, with movable obstacle you’ll need to trigger with a button press as you go.

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So at one point you’ll come up on, say a wall that you hit the action button to make it slide out of your way, but doing so brings out a second wall beyond the first, and you’ll have to hit the button again to move that second one but not until you’ve passed the location of the first one. That sort of thing is common, and there are similar spots involving moving platforms you’ll have to trigger at the right moment to cross large gaps. It’s platform-style racing, more or less.

Oh, and you can also drive on the walls and ceiling.

That’s all exciting and everything, but the Batmobile is not why Rocksteady decided to make Arkham Knight exclusive to new-gen and PC. Credit for that goes to the city itself and the weather. The city is as detailed and pretty as Seattle in the new inFamous game, and with long draw distances a necessity since Batman spends a lot of time in the sky, it’s obvious at a glance the scope of the world is too much for an Xbox 360 to handle well.

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“There’s a lot that the next-gen hardware has enabled us to do, and for us it’s about picking and choosing where to spend that horsepower.”

The build being played was running on a PC, and even then, with some really quality rain coming down through it all, the demo chugged a bit, which can be chalked up now to the game still being in an early state, but it does demonstrate the resource-intensive nature of highly detailed open-world games. That on top of pretty textures and pouring rain and copious particle effects the transitions from play to cutscene are seamless – not even cutting to a new angle to begin a scene necessarily – means that it’s test of Rocksteady’s technical ability to make it all work properly even working only with new hardware.

“There’s a lot that the next-gen hardware has enabled us to do, and for us it’s about picking and choosing where to spend that horsepower,” Ginn explained.

“The atmospheric effects that we really needed to integrate in order to bring Gotham City to life is something we just knew right from the beginning that we’ve got to invest in. So when you’re ejecting out [of the Batmobile] and gliding over the city and you can see the entire city laid out ahead of you, that’s a huge technical challenge to face down and overcome.”

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14 Comments

  1. The_Red

    Iron Man meets recent Robocop.
    Seriously, I love Rocksteady and this game is on my most anticipated list but the design feels really meh (At least without seeing it in action).

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Obernox

    Needs more pockets.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. KAP

    Many speculation that Arkham Knight is actually Bruce Wayne and Batman shown in the trailer is Hush.
    That’ll be incredible if true..

    #3 1 year ago
  4. CycloneFox

    I love the two Rocksteady Batman Arkham games and will totally love this, too. But what gets on my nerves is that WB is teasing and spoiling everything about these games. That was getting on my nerves in 2009 with the last months before Asylums release, already. Now, I will try to avoid these articles and just buy the game, when it comes out.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Luciferous

    @KAP Problem with that is that Bruce does not use guns.

    It would be a neat twist, but it would only work if he was firing blanks

    #5 1 year ago
  6. thunderrun

    @The_Red That’s exactly how I feel.
    I like Arkham Knight’s design. It’s probably the best design to show both Batman and non-Batman aspects of a character that represents himself with that A. But it looks like they have borrowed some of Iron Man suit features. The eyes are familiar.
    Maybe it’s inevitable … Maybe I’m overacting !

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Edo

    I NEED to see the gameplay…gonna have to wait til E3 to see it :( .

    #7 1 year ago
  8. The_Red

    @Edo
    I’d love to see them play the game live during Sony or MS conference.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. jomac3db

    @Edo I’m with u on that note. Looks good but show us gameplay, and it better not look like arkham city

    #9 1 year ago
  10. heyvc

    I really think the guy behind Arkham Knight is someone we know. The character (arkham knight) is new but the person behind will probably not be.
    It would be awesome if it was Jason Todd, angry at batman because he(batman) din’t killed the joker when him was murdered and NOW he killed him (not that batman killed him but people would think that).. something like he cares more about the city than with his protege. Or mad because he wanted to murder him and now he thinks bruce is too old to defend the city and wants batman OUT.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Panthro

    Probably something boring like Harley Quinn’s and The Joker’s child.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Doppleganger

    He looks like more like Shadow Hawk meets Robocops crappy reboot

    #12 1 year ago
  13. ManuOtaku

    To tell you the truth i did like origins more rhan the previous two, dont know why maybe it was the bigger scale and great story, i hope this game improves upin it.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Edo

    @Panthro
    Sefton Hill confirmed that she was actually NOT pregnant.

    #14 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]

  • Suikoden 3 PEGI rating suggests PS2 Classic re-release

    Suikoden. Suikoden 2. And now: Suikoden 3. Suikoden 3 has been rated by PEGI for PlayStation 3, presumably ahead of an upcoming re-release. Gematsu turned up the rating, and although we have no further information at this time, it’s not much a leap to assume the RPG will turn up as a PS2 Classic on […]