In the course of making Batman: Arkham City, Rocksteady has wrestled with the problem of making Batman’s opponents fit the Dark Knight’s canon and be fun to fight.
“It’s something that games often have difficulty doing simply because a big character like Penguin or Joker or Riddler or whatever is usually treated as boss encounter,” Rocksteady’s Dax Ginns told Gamasutra.
“And you don’t just walk up to a boss and floor them with one punch, but in actuality if Batman was going to throw a punch at the Riddler, he would knock him out.”
In its search for “intimacy” and “connection” between Batman and his enemies, Rocksteady sought ways to bring villains into Arkham City in way that left scope for interesting gameplay. In the Riddler’s case, he appears frequently as a projected image to taunt and spur Batman on.
“I think that’s kind of a nice, very emotional connection where you really cannot wait to get your hands around his neck. That’s the sort of things we’re talking about, that’s the intimacy we’re really talking about,” Ginns said.
“They’re humans. They’re mortal. Batman’s a mortal guy, but he’s a total badass, so we’ve got to make sure that all of a sudden someone like Riddler doesn’t just develop superhuman strength because it makes gameplay sense. No. Riddler is a smart guy but he’s not a powerhouse, and so the combat between Batman and Riddler exists on the intellectual level.”
Rocksteady thinks carefully about its villain choices, and the Riddler’s return isn’t just a repeat performance of his Arkham Asylum puzzles.
“We are, through him, giving ourselves the flexibility to spec out a whole new range of much more physical, much more threatening mortal challenges that he’s constructed that lay on top of the verbal challenges, the puzzles, these quizzes that he sets on Batman,” the marketing manager explained.
“So that personality interpretation of Riddler opens the door to new gameplay opportunities for us, and characters have to meet that criteria before they’ll be included in the game.”
Batman: Arkham City is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October, with a Wii U version to follow.