There’s a lot of new information here, gleaned from a Rocksteady demo seen by the British official mag.
Firstly, there’s the premise. Arkham Aslyum boss turned Gotham mayor Quincy Sharp has fenced off “miles” of Gotham City, filled it with criminals and “thrown away the key”. Their only rule is that they’re not allowed to leave. Aside from that, Gotham’s underclass is left to its own devices. Arkham City’s warden is Hugo Strange, a mystery character to Batman.
The fenced-off area is five times the size of Arkham Asylum. Batman, obviously, doesn’t like it: “He’s been monitoring this place,” said director Sefton Hill. “He’s worried. He thinks it’s a time-bomb waiting to explode into the streets of Gotham.”
Batman’s taken to patrolling AC. The setting is described as “a mix of Tim Burton’s original Batman movie and a touch of Escape from New York,” with spires and graveyards swapped for alleys and streets.
The mag was promised that despite the huge play area, “every nook and cranny has a story.” Also, thanks to distances, Bats will need a way to move around. When asked if vehicles will be included, Warner PR said it’s “something we’ll cover at a later date.”
Fly me to the moon
Wheels or not, Batman can essentially fly this time round. He has a new gadget called a Grapple Boost, which pulls him up and launches him into the air, and can be combined with a new dive which pulls into high-speed, street level flight.
He also now has a second zip line which he can shoot out while using the first: think classic Spider Man.
Hill promised the anti-hero now has new moves for “running across rooftops, blending in, running while grappling, sliding underneath objects” and “jumping between objects.”
Batman can also, “Slide and smash through vents, slide straight into hanging off an edge. You can dive through windows and over railings as well.”
The mag was shown a mission in which Batman needs to rescue Catwoman, as she’s been kidnapped by Two-Face. In it, Bats uses a Grapple Roll and a quick takedown to remove a sniper. He ends up facing 40 enemies at Two-Face’s Courthouse, although Hill promised the would be “bigger fights”.
Basic fighting is “the same,” according to OPM, with combinations of punches, kicks and throws. Additions include the ability to throw back projectiles, launch aerial attacks from walls and windows and unleash “beatdown” flurry attacks. He can also backflip and spray explosive gel on the floor before detonating it to stun opponents.
Twos-up on Catwoman
And get this. There’s a not-so-subtle hint that Catwoman is a playable, co-op character. She uses her whip in the mission in the same way Batman uses his zip line. Hill wouldn’t be drawn when asked directly if she was controllable.
“I’m not allowed to comment on that,” he said.
“Forensics” is something Rocksteady wants to push in the sequel, and Batman will be “solving crimes with multiple bits of evidence.” There are loads of side-stories in the game this time, Hill added, although the developer doesn’t “force you to do those. It’s your choice.”
Harley Quinn was also seen in the demo, as was the more traditional, Arkham Aslyum gameplay of hunting goons from above in closed environments. Additions here include a hanging takedown where Batman throttles a man from above with his legs, and the ability to punch through panels to get to enemies on the other side.
Arkham City is out next autumn for PS3, 360 and PC.
OPM’s October issue contains plenty more info and art on Arkham City, as well as Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood previews. Get it now for £5.99.