Many open world games are panned for their inability to tell a cohesive story within their giant world, but Rocksteady doesn’t believe that will be the case for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight.
Speaking with IGN, Rocksteady’s Guy Perkins discussed the studio’s decision to expand the game’s world across the Batman: Arkham franchise, and how the space the Dark Knight had to explore was influenced by the narrative the studio wanted to present.
“I think we’ve always taken pride in the stories we tell,” Perkins explained. “We try to create that very cinematic story-telling experience through the game. Obviously Asylum was the starting point for that, but the intimate cat-and-mouse gameplay between the Joker and Batman really demanded it took place in the pressure cooker of the Asylum.
“So that had its place for that story, but then we took that into the open world to give players the next piece of the Batman armour as it were, which is the grappling gun and the ability to glide. The introduction of those pieces really required a bigger game world to support them, but then the big thing that was always missing for us was the Batmobile. It was always missing but wouldn’t have worked in Asylum or City, so to build an open-world around that was crucial.
“The narrative is still very defined, though, there’s definite acts that you clearly understand as you go through Arkham Knight. We’ve been conscious to create a rich story that’s interesting for newcomers and for fans alike. You can go off and do your side quests when you like, but it’s still a linear story in the sense that it has a beginning, middle and end.”
[Spoilers for Batman: Arkham City below]
Based on the events of the last Batman game Rocksteady developed, Arkham City, Batman will be combating a very different situation than he was in the first two games in Rocksteady’s trilogy, for better or worse. This is primarily due to the death of The Joker, the character’s nemesis.
“The death of the Joker at the end of Arkham City has created a different world for the criminals of Arkham Knight,” he explained. “He’s not there to disrupt the things they’re doing, so you have to imagine a world where he’s not there and not causing that chaos. They can get organised, work together and offer a more formidable challenge. He’s at the peak of his powers, but without his nemesis there to cock things up for everyone else then they get the chance to be a bit stronger, a bit braver and do things differently.
“Joker going was a challenge, but we left Scarecrow out of Arkham City for a reason so he’s back in as the big bad and it’s great for us to bring him back. He has so many iconic moments in the first game, to have him back as the Big Bad is really cool. He’s a great mirror for Batman, as they both use fear as a weapon of choice. There’s a dichotomy there. Then working with DC to bring the Arkham Knight to life has been amazing. We were super excited and it’s been a huge honour for us to do something this big.”
Batman: Arkham Knight was announced earlier this year with a projected release window of Fall 2014. The game was later delayed, and will now come to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 2nd of next year.