Batman is back and coming to PlayStation on 25 October 2013; we caught up with creative director Eric Holmes to find out about the caped crusader's origins.
Everyone's favourite crime-fighting, gadget-wielding, cape-wearing hero is set to return to PlayStation on 25 October 2013, in Batman: Arkham Origins on PS3 and Arkham Origins: Blackgate on PlayStation Vita. We chatted to Eric Holmes, creative director for the upcoming PS3 game to find out more about what we can expect to see in Gotham City and where it all began for the Dark Knight.
As the title suggests, Batman: Arkham Origins is taking us back to the beginning of Batman's story – just how far back are we going?
The game takes place roughly around year two of Batman's career. He's been working in Gotham for a while, establishing a name for himself but he's not fully understood within the city yet. The police treat him as a vigilante, other people treat him as a myth and no one is really sure what he looks like. No one really knows if he even exists at this stage, except the criminals that have met him. They know that he's all too real.
So we've gone back in time from where we last saw Batman in Arkham City – should we expect him to be a little rougher around the edges or more vulnerable?
He's a much more complete Batman in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City as he's had experience of fighting the bad guys – and they kind of know what to expect from him – but that just doesn't exist yet in Origins. So we get to see the puzzle pieces come together, which is a really interesting part of the story.
You've given us a taster of some new weapons and gadgets that Batman has in his armoury – the Shock Glove, for instance. What else can we expect to spring from his utility belt?
If you've played Arkham City or Arkham Asylum, there's plenty of new ways to approach a fight. There are new toys for everyone, like the Shock Glove which lets Batman build up a kinetic charge and release an electric burst to take out enemies. So that lets him fight in new ways and counter attack enemies in ways he couldn't before, like taking out guys with shields or going up against enemies with stun batons and turning that energy against them.
Another new gadget is the Remote Claw. Players are probably familiar with the Batclaw, but now Batman can fire a projectile at an enemy or object which then fires a claw at a second target. So now he can smash two enemies together or set up a tightrope between two gargoyles for example.
You've teased us with a few big-name villains in your trailers – The Joker, to name just one. Who else can we expect to see?
There's The Penguin, who's running all of the criminal gangs in Gotham. Black Mask is another villain we're introducing in this game as one of the main antagonists, and of course there's The Joker. We're also bringing in Deathstroke who's a big fan-favourite and will be available as a playable DLC character along with some special maps and exclusive game modes.
As well as the major villains, are there new thugs and hired goons for him to fight?
Absolutely. There's the martial artist who will test Batman's counter attacks and provide lots of new combat options, as Batman is a master martial artist himself. You can't take your eyes off these guys, they're fast and you'll need to know your combos to take them down. We've also added the armoured enforcer. These are much larger than the usual thugs you'll face, with thick armour and powerful ranged attacks, so you'll need to work out particular tactics to get past them.
How has the game world evolved? Will we get even more Gotham to play in?
The open world that you'll see in Origins is over twice the size of Arkham City – it's so large we've added a fast travel system. Of course, Batman has plenty of ways to make his way around – or if you want to patrol an area from the skies, you can use the Batwing to take in a larger area.
Wherever you go, there are plenty of side missions to get involved in. We've added a whole new category called the Most Wanted, who are villains that exist outside of the main storyline like Anarchy or The Mad Hatter and will give Batman different sub-plots to follow and crimes to solve.
Around the map there are also Crimes in Progress, which are unpredictable open world encounters and could see some of the hardest enemies in the game popping up. So Batman could be patrolling around and hear an emergency call, then you can choose whether to get involved and test his skills to earn XP, or carry on with the main story.
If that's got you in the mood to don your mask and cape and swoop onto the streets of Gotham, Batman: Arkham Origins is available to pre-order now on PS3.