So Dre and I were talking last night and he asked if there were any games I was looking forward to. With the announcement of Call of Duty's upcoming installment entitled Ghosts, Dre was pretty much off the wall excited about what's coming around the bend. (Side note: Keep and eye out for Dre's post about Call of Duty: Ghosts, coming at you soon).
Since I tend to be the resident "movie guy" on our team, people can often forget that I do also enjoy a good game. As many of you already know, I also enjoy pretty much anything Batman. So as you can imagine, when those two things come together, I must excuse myself from the room, breathe deeply into a paper bag, and change my pants.
Now that I have calmed down a bit, I figured I would share my glee with you, our loyal, and borderline obsessed with us fans. Much like the game itself, let us begin...from the beginning...
A New Dawn Rises: Origins
Here is the basic premise of Batman: Arkham Origins. This prequel to the brilliant Arkham series takes us back several years before the events of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. We are introduced to a young, and inexperienced Batman, scanning the streets of Gotham on Christmas Eve. The Black Mask has put out a bounty on the Dark Knight's head, and all the low-lifes from the pages of the DC Universe are Gotham bound to collect.
Batman must now fight to outsmart and defeat the endless stream of thugs and elite assassins who are out to collect on his head, as well as the corrupt cops in the GCPD who are eager to kill him and sell his body to the highest bidder. At the same time, the world's greatest detective must discover why the Black Mask is out for his head, and prove to those cops who remain on the side of good, that he fights for them, and for Gotham City.
The reigns for this latest installment of the Arkham franchise have been turned over to Warner Bros. Games Montreal. The new WB team takes over the mantle from Rocksteady after 2 highly successful efforts. While Rocksteady was involved with helping WBGM learn the engine that powers the free flowing fighting, dark and gritty environments and overall bad-assery that defines the Arkham series, and that we all have grown to love. Rocksteady has said that they have full faith in WBGM and are glad to see the new team make this latest game their own.
Pros and Cons to a Prequel
Of course with any new installment to a franchise, you have inherent cons. The biggest of which has to be the question, "Will the game live up to it's predecessors?" This is especially true here, as we are dealing with a complete changing of the guard as well. However, as we all saw when 343 Industries picked up the flag that is Halo from Bungie, that's not always a bad thing.
Right off the bat, there are some really great things that we can think of that will come from having an Arkham prequel. First, it opens the gates to introducing new characters, and adding some meat to those we already know. Allow me to explain what I mean. When we begin with Arkham Asylum, we are thrown into a world in which Batman has existed for some time. Through his experiences as Batman he has forged friendships and enemies, and we come into the story several steps behind the curve, and spend the rest of the game playing catch up, learning how these ties were formed. We have also been limited with who we are introduced to. The casual fan may only be familiar with the starting line-up of the Rogues Gallery. Therefore, we are limited to enemies like Poison Ivy, Bane, Harley Quinn and of course, The Joker. This is no longer the case.
With the franchise now taking a look backwards, we can now be introduced to great new characters and villians that otherwise might be excluded from the game. We can see Batman face off against such greats as The Black Mask and Deathstroke, and we can watch as these rivalries are formed in "real time" as we see them through the eyes of the Dark Knight himself.
On that same line of thought, we can also delve deeper into how other relationships are formed. How the corruption of Commissioner Loeb and his right hand man, Lt. Branden, will lead to their downfall, opening the way for the one-and-only Commissioner Gordon. How bonds were formed, and enemies made can be better explained, and frankly, I couldn't be more excited to see how they do this, and how casual fans will react to the new faces that I've loved for so long!
What's New? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
As with any new game or film in development, rumors run rampant. Batman: Arkham Origins is no exception. Here are some facts and rumors that have peaked our interest.
1. Fact: Prequel Brings Youth to Batman
Fans will be introduced to a new, young, and vastly inexperienced Batman. While game developers ensure us this is not a "true origin" story, we are seeing Batman in his early years. With that comes some new struggles we'll have to face. In the other Arkham games, we play as a Batman who is a well oiled machine. Fighting abilities, detective skills, and strong moral code are all finely honed. In this new game...not so much. Developers tell us of a Batman who, "...is going to make mistakes, but never makes the same mistake twice". A scene from the demo shows Batman questioning a thug, and not knowing the limitations of mere mortals, takes things a bit too far. These are the "growing pains" that we will experience as we work through the game as this young Batman.
2. Rumored: What's in a Name...and for That Matter, a Voice?
It is rumored that the great Kevin Conroy will not voice the Caped Crusader in WBGM's latest Arkham effort. Kevin Conroy gave voice to Batman in the amazing animated series of the early '90's, as well as in several animated films, and in the first two Arkham games, and the latest DC release Injustice: Gods Among Us. Rumors are flying that WBGM may not enlist the voice of Batman for this prequel, in an effort to depict a young, just starting out, Bruce Wayne. It is rumored that they will go with a new, no name, actor to voice the Knight in Origins.
3. Rumored: Why Fight AI, When You Can Fight Friends!
Game developers have hinted that there may be a multiplayer element to Batman: Arkham Origins. Not much is known about, a) whether or not this is true, or b) what a multiplay facet to the game will entail. However, leaks mention playing as some of Jokers thugs attempting to thwart the Dark Knight. Rumors about playable and customizable multiplayer characters such as Bane, Deathstroke, and others have also been heard from little birds.
We'll see if any of this actually comes to fruition. However, even in rumor form, it's a bit exciting, and what a great way for Warner Bros. Games Montreal to step out of the shadow of Rocksteady.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope it gets you as pumped as I am. Honestly, I can't wait to get on the Box and go to work in the actual streets of Gotham (this being the first game in the franchise that actually takes place in Gotham City) and own some new villians. Also, the idea of how incredible the game will look, with the grittiness and bleakness that is Batman/Gotham, set to a Christmas theme. Even in what we've seen in the screenshots, it looks amazing!
Definitely look out for this game, slated to hit shelves on October 25, 2013!
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Thanks for reading!