By SHADOWINFINITE 25 Comments
If you want more Batman Arkham Asylum, then this is for you.
Our first game picks up right after Arkham Asylum. With Batman and Jim Gordon occupied all night, the escaped inmates have set upon Gotham City with renewed vigor. Two-Face, Penguin and Black Mask are attempting to reclaim their territories, and a gang war has erupted throughout the various districts.
Without getting into too much gameplay, we're envisioning a mixture of Crackdown with Arkham's established formula (which is a bit of a mix between Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and God of War). We wouldn't create a completely open city, forcing instant transportation between "zones" via Batmobile.
Black Mask might look like a clone of Marvel's Red Skull, but he's a perfect boss character for a videogame. Mask would function as our first major obstacle for Batman when he returns to Gotham, and would be the third major player in the gang war that occupies much of this game.
Acting as Mask's lieutenant would be none other than Firefly, a bad guy that is too cool to ignore but a little too lame to be a major component of a Batman game on his own.
Oswald Cobblepot is a bit of an odd character to fit into a combat heavy game, but we think he'd mix things up a bit. The second of three major Gotham lords to overcome in our second game, Cobblepot would be using the services of Great White Shark to finance his operations.
If we had our way (and since this is our article, we will), we'd slot Penguin as the second major boss of the game – and design his battles and environments to be drastically different from the typical battles of Arkham and much of our sequels. Much like Scarecrow, Penguin's encounters could be a great diversion.
One of the biggest Batman villains not featured in Arkham Asylum, Two-Face makes an ideal focus point for our sequel concept. Clearly the Rocksteady designers had Harvey Dent in mind. Not only is he featured in several puzzles, but he's referenced by name in the final scenes.
Our use of Dent sees him returning to Gotham during the events of the first game. Being a heavyweight crime lord in the city, Two-Face quickly seeks to establish his dominance with the help of the ruthless mercenary, Deadshot. As players seek to contain the gang war, they will have to throw down with 'Shot before getting to Dent. We're picturing a sniper-esque battle ala Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid. The one catch? Batman doesn't use guns. Bummer, Bats.
While a gang war is the perfect backdrop of our sequel, we have much bigger plans in mind. You'll get a better picture of this in our "story description" section (see below), but Hush's appearance in our game has far bigger implications. As Batman struggles to contain Black Mask, Penguin and Two-Face, he'll run across Hush, who's obsession with taking down his former childhood friend, Bruce Wayne, has driven him insane.
Hush would function a bit like Riddler in our sequel, albeit one who physically confronts the Dark Knight from time to time. But we have grander plans for Thomas Elliot – plans that lead into our vision for a third game.
Our story starts where the first game left off: Two-Face is robbing a bank somewhere in Gotham. As Batman has secured Arkham Asylum, the realization hits him that the inmates the Joker set free have had plenty of time to wreak havoc on an unprotected city.
It turns out three of Batman's biggest villains (Two-Face, Black Mask and The Penguin) have been violently reclaiming their criminal empires - fighting for total control of the city. With Gotham split into territories (much like a condensed version of the 1999 No Man's Land storyline), it is up to Batman to take down the crime bosses and restore order.
Batman's first stop takes him to the aforementioned bank. Unfortunately Harvey Dent has fled the scene, leaving Batman to deal with hired gun, KGBeast. A quick interrogation later leaves the Caped Crusader with more questions than answers. There's definitely a gang war going on, but why is he hearing that Hush has been spotted throughout the city? And what's this about the League of Assassins? Isn't Ra's Al Ghul dead?
From this point on Batman is forced to fight through each of the three gangs, working his way up the ladder - from street thugs, to underbosses to the head of each gang (much like a "less sandboxy" style version of the videogame Crackdown). Batman targets the Black Mask's criminal organization first - which includes Firefly for muscle. With part of the city back in police control, the Dark Knight is confronted by Hush, who cryptically mentions the League of Assassins. After Hush makes a daring escape, Batman sets his sights on The Penguin and The Great White Shark (see what we did there?), who have united to claim another area of Gotham.
After defeating Penguin, Batman takes on the final villain reclaiming his territory: Two-Face. This proves to be the toughest fight yet as Dent has hired the assassin Deadshot as an enforcer. Eventually Gotham's hero comes face to face with Harvey Dent. Exhausted from stopping the war, not to mention the events at Arkham Asylum, our Caped Crusader heads home.
Upon arriving at Wayne Manor, Batman notices some late-breaking news. On every station is "leaked" footage of Batman negotiating with Two-Face, presumably bargaining the fate of Gotham away on a handshake. As this drama unfolds, Hush emerges from the shadows... only with the face of Bruce Wayne. In a much-needed villainous monologue (because we love those), Hush explains he plans to take his old friend Bruce Wayne's life hostage (a la Paul Dini's excellent Heart of Hush storyline) - but only after he defeats Batman once and for all. The final battle of the game features Hush and Batman clashing throughout the mansion and Batcave. But things don't go so well for our hero...
Hush manages to beat the Dark Knight. He drops off his defeated adversary in front of a local police station, complete with a note from Batman. The Caped Crusader is then hauled to Arkham for testing. Let's face it, under any ordinary circumstances, the Dark Knight would seem pretty insane.
The final cutscene of the game features Batman in a secure room sitting across the table from an Arkham psychologist: Hugo Strange (who has managed to convince authorities he can help them interrogate Batman). After turning off the security camera, Strange leans across the table and ends the game by whispering to Wayne, "Welcome to Arkham Asylum... Bruce."
As you saw in our story description, our concept for the second game leaves Batman in a bit of a difficult situation. He's been admitted into Arkham as an inmate - not a good spot to be in since he's imprisoned alongside many of his own enemies. As the storyline progresses, some inmates break free, and they have one goal in mind - kill the Bat. And meanwhile larger threats loom. Hush is out in the wild after seizing control of Bruce Wayne's identity... and Ra's Al Ghul's is still executing a larger plot. Batman had better get out of Arkham - fast.
Gameplay here is more of the same, though obviously we'd think the designers would continue to evolve the system as much as possible. We'll leave those types of suggestions to IGN's gaming sites.
Selina Kyle would play a significant role in both of our games, but only as a sideline player. Due to Catwoman's rather ambiguous nature as a sometimes-foe and sometimes-ally of Batman, we'd play to our advantage, to give Batman a little more personality and emotion in this game.
As much as we love Arkham Asylum, there isn't much depth to the Caped Crusader himself. A little romantic tension never hurt anyone. Selina would be able to redirect the plot and conviently explain certain situations to the Dark Knight - and players.
Clayface is a character we think could make for some wickedly imaginative boss situations. When determining our three major Arkham Asylum opponents, we wanted to insert diversity from the first game as well as selecting villains who could break the "punch, punch, kick" material that dominates this franchise. We don't mind the punching and kicking, but any and all bosses should be completely different as far as we're concerned. Clayface is a character who could bring that type of material out of good designers.
We loved the Victor Freeze "cameo" in Rocksteady's recent release so much that it got us thinking about battling him in a future installment. In our scenario, Freeze is really nothing more than a bump in the road in our larger plot. But he'd make for one epic boss battle. Batman's quest to tame the riots in Arkham wouldn't be over, however, as a familiar foe will have managed to break free as well.
We couldn't resist. Despite having such a major spotlight in Arkham Asylum, we figured any repeat visits to that infamous location would have to feature the Clown Prince of Crime.
There are a couple things to note here. The first is that the Joker would be a stepping stone to the much larger plot we envision for a third game. With Ra's Al Ghul and Hush plotting the destruction of Gotham and evolution of the world, there's no way gamers are going to be entirely focused on The Joker. The second is we'd want this boss battle to be very different from the first game's confrontation. Not to put too fine a point on it but we mostly found Arkham's final boss to be, um, lame. So… less of that, please?
The big daddy of them all. Our determination of Ra's as the final opponent through our trilogy was largely determined by a fun Easter Egg the Rocksteady designers inserted into the Arkham Asylum game. No doubt many of you discovered the "location" of Ra's Al Ghul, correct? Just before you go to fight that final boss, go back and try to find what you saw earlier.Exactly. Sorry, we're trying to be vague for those of you still fighting through the game.
At any rate, the Demon's Head simply has motivations that trump other Batman rogues, which is why he would fit perfectly into our vision to expand this series into a trilogy. The idea of dropping hints throughout the second game only to reveal the truth just prior to a cliffhanger… it's hard to resist. Add in some sort of sword fight atop a tower in some exotic location and you have a winner as far as we're concerned.
Starting where the second game left off, we see Batman shocked that the doctor knows his secret identity. Reveling in his position of power, Hugo Strange then starts a skewed psychological profile on Batman. After the session, the Dark Knight is quickly ushered back to his cell, where he finds Hush waiting for him in the shadows. Still wounded from their earlier fight, Hush tells Bruce how his master has many allies, including Strange. Hush leaves Batman with the thought that this will be the hardest night of his life.
During his next evaluation, Batman finds a way to ambush the guards and take down Strange. Now free, our hero must clash with some of his most infamous rogues who are just waiting to get their hands on their jailer. Get ready to rumble, Bats!
Rogues such as Mr. Freeze, Clayface and The Joker show up to ensure Batman does not escape Arkham alive. Taking up the first half of the game, this Arkham segment will play out quite a bit like the first game, only without the freedom to escape or choose your path (playing out more like the original Metal Gear Solid). As an escaped prisoner, with very few resources, Batman must flee as best he can... from one dangerous wing of the Asylum to the next.
The Dark Knight eventually makes his way back to the Batcave to consider options against Hush and Ra's Al Ghul. After analyzing evidence, the Caped Crusader realizes the only logical destination is Nanda Parbat, a mystical city known to house Ra's and his assassins.
Arriving in Parbat, Batman discovers a Lazarus Pit deep below the surface. He clashes with Hush in the network of caves leading to the Pit, and battles Ra's in the final conflict of the trilogy.
The aftermath of the battle with Ra's leaves Batman free to attempt to resolve his identity crisis and clear his name. But here's the thing - we would leave that plot thread for another day. Some of our favorite Batman storylines involve the Dark Knight fleeing from the authorities, and that situation would be a great setting for more gaming goodness.
This third game is a bit lighter on the plot, focusing more on intense action to give gamers an epic third act. With the emotions inherent in Hush and Ra's Al Ghul (we could definitely see Talia Al Ghul, Batman's former lover, playing a role), there is still plenty of dramatic potential.
Ok there it is nice and plain feel free to ask any questions.