It’s been five years since Batman: Arkham Knight, which means that for five years, we haven’t been able to step into the shoes of Gotham’s Dark Knight in a new game in a long, long time. But though it’s become clear that Rocksteady have moved on to a new, different kind of project, that doesn’t mean the Batman series has been put on the back burner. Because something else that’s becoming quite clear over the last few years is that Batman: Arkham Origins developers WB Games Montreal will be taking the reigns of the series.
The studio and its employees have been teasing their new game for a long time now (to the extent that many are beginning to get frustrated with said teases), and it’s looking that the next Arkham game isn’t too far away (hopefully). And of course, like everyone else, we’ve got our own list of things we wish to see the game do (or not do). In this feature, we’ll be talking about a few such things.
BATMAN VERSUS THE LAW
Over the decades, Batman stories have often seen the Caped Crusader going up against the law, as Gotham City’s cops try to chase down and bring in the masked vigilante, but that’s an angle that the narratives of the Arkham games haven’t really taken. And that’s exactly what we’re hoping the next Batman game – reportedly titled Arkham Legacy – will do. There’s a certain tension that an arc like that adds to any superhero story, especially when it comes to Batman, while it’s also something that would help differentiate the game from previous Arkham titles. It’s also looking very likely that the game will be focused on the Court of Owls as the primary villains, and as a shadowy organization that controls all of Gotham for the shadows, it’s very likely that their undue influence might push the GCPD into declaring Batman an enemy of the law.
It’s often said that a superhero is only as good as their gallery of villains, and Batman’s incredible lineup of rogues is enough proof of that statement. And while The Joker is by far the best of the best that lineup has to offer, perhaps it’s time to let some of the others enjoy their time under the sun. The Arkham series has seen the Clown Prince of Crime taking up nearly as much of the spotlight as Batman himself, and his excellent portrayal in all four games (thanks to Mark Hamill and Troy Baker) has certainly been a treat to experience. But we feel like we’ve had enough of The Joker in Batman games for a while, and that the next game in the series should focus on other villains. With all the rumours about the Court of Owls, it’s looking like that’s indeed going to be the case, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
A MORE LIVELY OPEN WORLD
Other than Arkham Asylum, every mainline game in the Arkham series has rocked an open world setting, and while by and large that’s been an excellent decision (especially in terms of what that did for things like atmosphere, content, and traversal), there’s still room for improvement in that area. One of complaints levied at the Arkham games most often is how empty their open world are- and not of activities. No, they’re literally empty. No NPCs, no civilians roaming around in the streets. And while each game has given narrative reasons for why that is the case, it’s something that fans have been hoping will be rectified sooner rather than later. A dynamic open world full of activity and NPCs you can interact with and who can react to the Batman flying around and beating up thugs is what we all want, and hopefully, with the next Batman game, that’s what we’ll get.
NO (OR IMPROVED) BATMOBILE
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? Batman: Arkham Knight drew criticism for a number of things when it first came out, and while its famously horrendous PC launch hogged most of the negative press, the game’s Batmobile sections have also come under quite a bit of fire over the years from both critics and the wider audiences. So of course, that’s an area that we’re hoping the next Batman game will make improvements to. The easiest way to do so would be to not have the Batmobile featured at all, which we wouldn’t mind, but perhaps the developers could try and implement the iconic vehicle in a way that isn’t… you know, bad. The biggest issue with the Batmobile in Arkham Knight was how overused it was, even in places where it made no sense – such as Batmobile-focused puzzles, or the mindless car combat. If the next Batman title does figure out the right way to make the Batmobile an integral part of the experience, it would be significantly better for it.
MORE DETECTIVE STUFF
Batman is, of course, the world’s greatest detective, but most of our time in Arkham games is spent beating criminals to a pulp. And while we certainly enjoy that, we would like Batman’s detective activities to be a greater part of the gameplay experience as well. This is something that Arkham Origins tried its hand at, and for the most part, it did it really well. The fact that that game’s developers are (probably) the ones who’re making the next game in the series fills us with hope and confidence that we might see Batman doing more of that stuff soon.
NEW TRAVERSAL MECHANICS
One of the greatest joys of the Arkham games (besides beating criminals to a pulp, which we mentioned) is using a combination of dive-bombing and grappling to glide around Gotham City like Batman. As great as the traversal mechanics have consistently been in the series though, we’re hoping to see something different in the next game. The next Batman title could just deliver more of the same as far as traversal is concerned, and honestly, that would be perfectly fine. But after having spent four games with those mechanics – mechanics that have been polished to perfection – we’re hoping the series will look to introduce fresh, new, and exciting things and then build upon those.
MULTIPLE PLAYABLE CHARACETRS
The Arkham series has often let players step into the shoes of characters beyond just the Caped Crusader, often even during main story missions, and that’s something that we’re hoping we’ll see more of in the next game. Ideally, that concept will be taken even further, with multiple playable characters all playing an important role in the main story itself, rather than non-Batman people being relegated to side content like they usually have been. Recent rumours have suggested that Arkham Legacy (if that is indeed what it is called) will feature an entire playable Bat-family, so here’s hoping those leaks are accurate.
NO LOCKED ENDINGS
Games locking their true endings behind certain requirements that need to be fulfilled isn’t that uncommon, but when that’s poorly executed, it can be a bit of a bummer. Exhibit A: Arkham Knight, which required players to get 100% completion in the game – which included every single side quest and every single one of those stupid Riddler Trophies – to get the true ending. So the next entry in our Arkham Legacy wishlist is pretty simple- none of that, please. Don’t lock your true ending, and if you do want to do it, do it so that players don’t have to spend upwards of 100 hours completing every tiny little activity available in the game.
“No microtransactions” is something we hope to see in every game, not just Batman, but given the fact that this is a game that’s being developed and published by Warner Bros, we’re even more wary of microtransactions. WB has a knack for cramming its game with aggressive monetization, from Injustice 2 to Shadow of War to Mortal Kombat 11, and one can’t help but be worried that they might try and pull something like that with Batman as well. They haven’t done so in the past with the Arkham games, while one would also think that no publisher would want to do something like that in such a massive property (just look at what happened with Battlefront 2 at launch). Let’s just hope WB agrees with that kind of thinking.