When you’re the Dark Knight, eight assassins traveling to Gotham City to kill you doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But this isn’t your typical run of the mill Bats, no no. This is a rookie Batman, somewhere vaguely in between his first year on the job and the events of “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” As the information on the game continues to leak from the May digital issue of Game Informer, I’ve compiled everything that you need to know, everything that could possibly be in the game, and everything that we as Bat-fan’s should want in the origins game.
What We Know:
Batman is making his mark on Gotham City, taking out petty crooks, gangsters and the criminally insane night after night but one mobster isn’t having any of it; Black Mask, who has put out a bounty on the mysterious Dark Knight and wants him eliminated. Enter in the eight assassins who travel to Gotham City to claim their bounty (including the villainous Deathstroke) and make Batman’s Christmas Eve a living nightmare.
Not only do you have those pesky assassins to worry about, you’ve also got a possibly hostile Gotham City Police Department that may or may not be on your tail (including a fairly young Captain James Gordon). Also in town is a younger version of Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin — who, according to this origin tale, didn’t always has the bottom of a broken glass bottled sticking out of his face.
“Arkham Origins” will feature fairly similar gameplay to the previous entries in the franchise while bringing in some new elements as well. Safe and sound are the gliding, combat and gargoyle hopping mechanics and welcomed is the new ‘Remote Claw’ feature that allows you to drag and pull objects closer together. Also brand-spankin’ new is a fast travel system via Batman’s airborne vehicle, the Batwing. Although uncontrollable, it eliminates the time consuming traveling from one side of the map to the other especially considering the map of “Arkham Origins” is twice the size of the playable area featured in “Arkham City.”
The map in “Arkham Origins” features two main areas; ‘New Gotham’ and ‘Old Gotham.’ The area of ‘New Gotham’ is an entirely new island set in the upper and middle class areas of Gotham City while ‘Old Gotham’ features reappearing areas from “Arkham City,” like Amusement Mile. Side missions will return in “Arkham Origins” and some thus far confirmed include ‘Crimes in Progress’ where you help the GCPD and slowly gain their trust and the one most Bat-fans may be pleased with called ‘Most Wanted’ which has you tracking down non-assassin villains. Integrated into the gameplay more heavily is Batman’s detective skills where piecing together clues and solving crimes will unlock full narrative videos of the crimes that you’ve solved.
What We Expect:
“Arkham Origins” presents a rather unique opportunity to do something that no other Batman game, to my knowledge, has done before and that is let us experience Batman’s origins. If you’ve ever read the graphic novel, “Batman: The Long Halloween,” then you know that Harvey Dent was an essentially key figure to Batman alongside James Gordon, so this is a perfect chance to showcase the more tragic side of some of Batman’s villains and have you cooperating with Harvey Dent before his turn to the dark side and his transformation into the ruthless Two-Face.
A long-standing rival to the Dark Knight, this is also a perfect opportunity to go into why exactly the Riddler is obsessed with defeating Batman. What was their first encounter like in the Arkham universe? What he completely humiliated and outmatched against the world’s greatest detective?
Finally, quite possibly the biggest lingering question on my mind; the voice talent. Is Kevin Conroy returning to voice the Bat? And because of this being an origin tale, is Mark Hamill returning to voice the role of the Joker? Does that also mean we’d get to see in a game how Joker twisted Harley Quinn into turning against mainstream society? Lots of questions are still to be answered and more than likely we’ll find out a lot more once E3 hits in June. “Batman: Arkham Origins” released on October 25, 2013 but keep your eyes and ears posted to the net, folks, as there’s definitely more on this to come.