Batman: Arkham Origins will be the first game in the series to feature multiplayer. These three-sided online matches, seen in the trailer above, will let players become super heroes, super villains or hapless minions.
In Invisible Predator Online mode, Bane and Joker's gangs are trying to complete the same heist. Gangs of three players apiece will fight for control points. These henchmen are armed with shotguns, grenades and other heavy weaponry. Each gang has a limited amount of respawns so you're rewarded for proficient killing in addition to capturing points.
These gangs can't be too focused on fighting each other, though. They also have to watch out for Batman and Robin, controlled by two other players. These players will have many of the same gadgets as they do in the single-player campaign, including the batarang and grappling gun. Attacking armed thugs head-on would be suicide so they'll have to stay hidden and strike from the shadows. With each takedown, their intimidation level will rise. Once they hit a certain amount of intimidation, the gangs will retreat and the match is over.
Fortunately, the minions can call in some super-powered back-up of their own. They can periodically become Bane or Joker and use those villains' unique talents to turn the tide of the battle. Playing as these villains carries risks, though; if Batman or Robin take them out, they'll get a significant boost to their intimidation level.
I'm a little surprised that Bane is one of the two supervillains in the mode rather than say, Deathstroke. It doesn't sound like Bane is a very huge part of the campaign's plot. Maybe he was chosen because he's a very clear contrast with the Joker with a distinct set of abilities (clobbering stuff).
The multiplayer for Origins was developed by Splash Damage, who previously made Brink and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Customization is as important in this game as it was in those previous titles. Players can tailor their loadouts to their playstyle and also earn additional items through gameplay.
When multiplayer is added to a traditionally single-player series, it's easy to be skeptical. It always feels like a design decision that the publishers foisted on the developers in order to increase sales and decrease trade-ins. That being said, Invisible Predator Online doesn't sound like the tacked-on multiplayer we've seen in other games. It feels like an appropriate complement to the single-player experience, if only on paper.
The press release for the multiplayer mentions it will be featured on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game. There's no mention of the Wii U. Does that mean the Wii U is completely bereft of multiplayer? Or are they getting some other mode instead? I'm sure we'll find out one way or the other as we approach the game's October launch date.
Update: "MP will be available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC," a spokesperson for publisher Warner Bros. told Eurogamer this morning. "The team is focusing development efforts on platforms with the largest MP audience."