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When Batman: Arkham Asylum came out in 2009 it was more than just a hit. Both critics and gamers alike endlessly praised the story, gameplay and the look, but perhaps it’s biggest success was simply making a Batman game that actually managed to get the classic character right. The incredible success of Arkham Asylum spawned an equally impressive – if not more so – sequel in the form of Arkham City, and once again there were rave reviews and much elation to be found. And now we are coming up on part three: Batman: Arkham Origins.
With the game set to be released this October - the story set before the events of the last two titles and featuring Batman battling off highly-trained foes working to collect a $50 million bounty on the hero’s head - the folks over at WB Games Montréal came down to San Diego this afternoon and held a panel to give fans a sneak peek of what the studio has in store. Featuring a lineup that included voice actors Roger Craig Smith (Batman) and Troy Baker (The Joker), as well as Creative Director Eric Holmes and DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns, the presentation gave the audience some great insight into the making of the upcoming game, as well as a few awesome details. Read on to find out the five coolest things we learned!
This is a very different Batman from the first two games.
Not only is Batman: Arkham Origins a prequel to the events of the last two games, it introduces us to the hero at a time before he has really fully established his identity. Taking inspiration from the late 80s/early 90s comics “Legends of the Dark Knight,” the game will see Batman as he is starting to grow and learn who he is. When we meet the character in the game, he has been having a great deal of success in his battle against mobsters like Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone, but isn’t quite ready for the kinds of threats that villains like Black Mask and Deathstroke provide. What’s more, there will be elements of the character that fans won’t recognize at first, but that part of the story is helping Batman evolve and become the character we know and love.
The villains are growing too.
And Batman isn’t the only character whom the game sees evolve – the bad guys will be changing too. The best example of this given during the panel is how Arkham Origins changes Bane. The villain played a prominent role in the last two games, pumped up with the steroid-like drug Venom that causes him to bulk up to extreme sizes, but the prequel will be giving us a new look at him. Taking more inspiration from the character’s first appearance in the early 90s, the character will still have extreme strength, but won’t be starting out as the monster we all know.
The new voice cast wants to respect what was done before, but also create something new.
One of the best aspects of the first two Batman: Arkham games was that the studio got both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill – voices of Batman and The Joker, respectively, in the beloved animated series from the 90s – to once again bring the comic book characters to life. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case with Batman: Arkham Origins, but the incredible impact of Conroy and Hamill’s work certainly isn’t lost on Smith and Baker. The voice actors recalled memories from childhood running home from school to catch the new episode of Batman: The Animated Series and have a deep respect for what those performers brought to those parts. Working with Eric Holmes, the game’s voice director, Smith and Baker said that it was a very collaborative process to find exactly what they wanted. At the end of the day, they don’t want gamers hearing or identifying the voices of the actors, they just want the characters to stand on their own.
Copperhead will be one of the foes that Batman squares off against.
There wasn’t a great deal of footage shown during the panel, but what there was revealed that one of the characters that Batman will be facing will be the snake-inspired villain Copperhead. Rather than using the original version of the baddie, however, they are utilizing the design from DC Comics’ rebooted New 52 – which actually completely changes the character and turns what was formerly a “him” into a “her.” In the footage, Copperhead could be seen breaking out of custody and then facing off against Batman. She is a master of martial arts as well as a contortionist, and in the clip she is basically wrapping herself around the hero like a snake. She also has a knack for using poisons, which will be an included element in the game.
(Image via GameInformer)
New Batman skins revealed!
We’ve known for a couple months now that Batman: Arkham Origins would allow those who pre-ordered the game to play as Deathstroke, but the panel also revealed some new designs for Batman himself. PS3 owners will get the chance to play as the Dark Knight in both the Adam West/1960s TV show costume as well as the Knightfall costume worn by Azrael in the famous “Knightfall” storyline from the comics (the arc that saw Batman’s back snapped by Bane). But that’s not all. The game will also have the get-up from Grant Morrison’s great “DC One Million” crossover storyline from the late 90s as well as a design called “Worst Nightmare Batman” – a terrifying design inspired by how lowly criminals see Batman when they encounter him for the first time. If you want to play in that outfit, however, you’re going to have to work for it, as it will only be unlocked when the game has been 100% completed.