After the surprising success of Batman: Arkham Asylum, a sequel was a no-brainer. Now, after a bigger, better Batman game, where can we go next? Gotham City.
If you think about the way the games increased in scale between sequels, then a picture begins to emerge. The next logical step is to go to Gotham City and it appears to be something Rocksteady Studios have been working towards from the very beginning. Let me tell you why.
Arkham Asylum was a relatively small, but very tightly developed game. Although it was relatively linear, the stealth mechanics and Batman’s visceral fights made you feel like you were Batman, striking fear into the inhabitants of Arkham Asylum.
Here, Rocksteady proved that a Batman game could be good, and incredibly fun to play. It didn’t overstay it’s welcome, and didn’t stretch itself too thin. This way, Rocksteady could always build on the foundations that they created if they got the chance to make a sequel.
And of course, a sequel was announced. Arkham City expanded on the ideas introduced in Arkham Asylum, allowing players to fight multiple enemies, giving us new gadgets as well as setting the game in an ‘open-world’ format.
This ‘open-world’ format is the next step in Rocksteady’s direction to Gotham City. Departing from Arkham Asylum’s linear story, Arkham City gives players the option of choosing their next mission, something that would work equally as well in Gotham City.
Arkham City also gave players a great new way to navigate the city. Throughout the course of the game, Batman’s grapple gun gets an upgrade which allows you to whizz over the tops of buildings and glide through the city. Lots of fun in Arkham City, but lots more fun in Gotham City, right?
As well as these natural gameplay changes, certain story elements also seem to be left deliberately open ended. [Spoilers ahead]
One side mission involves Batman investigating the bodies of inmates who have had their faces surgically removed. After some increasingly worrying crime scenes, the culprit is revealed to be Thomas Elliot aka Hush. He has been using the inmates faces to graft an exact duplicate of Bruce Wayne’s face onto his own, and after the mission ends, he escapes into Gotham City.
Another curious character is Azreal. He appears to be watching Batman throughout the course of the game, and if you approach him, he leaves a symbol where he was standing. Scan enough of these and you’ll be pointed to a location where Azreal conveys a message to you.
All of these things seem to be pointing to some kind of resolution in Gotham City. Finding out what Azreal’s mysterious message means, hunting down Thomas Elliot, as well as fighting crime all over Gotham City. Perhaps we’ll finally get to see the Batcave?