So, WB Games has finally announced the third game in its Batman: Arkham series in a Game Informer exclusive.
Warner Bros. Games Montreal has taken the mantle of the bat from Rocksteady Studios this time around for Batman: Arkham Origins. WB Montreal has full access to Rocksteady’s custom modified Unreal engine to capture the look and feel of the Arkhamverse. As the title suggests, the game takes place years before both of the previous Arkham titles when a young, unrefined Batman encounters many supervillains for the first time. On our full cover image below, fans will recognize the assassin Deathstroke, who appears for the very first time in a core Arkham game.
I suppose I should be happy, considering how good Arkham Asylum and Arkham City were. Instead, I’m not feeling entirely optimistic.
First off, unlike the first two games, this game isn’t developed by Rocksteady Games, and it is not written by Paul Dini. Furthermore, the voice cast has not been announced, but we can be reasonably sure that the Joker will not be involved (as Mark Hamill has retired from the role). No reason has been given yet for WB Games Montreal getting the reins, but it strikes me as odd that Rocksteady was not given the chance to go again. Also, considering how vital Dini’s writing was to the quality of the first two games, I really hope they find someone just as good to write the story for this game.
The fact that this game is a prequel is troubling as well, as Arkham City had set up three hooks for a sequel; the side mission encounters involving the Scarecrow’s lab, Azrael, and Hush all give ample buildup for a sequel storyline. That the third game is a prequel indicates that such hooks are being abandoned for the time being (if not permanently), which is a real shame; the Scarecrow, for one, was probably the most effective boss in Arkham Asylum.
What troubles me most, though, is that it almost seems that WB Games doesn’t have the faith in this game that it did in Arkham City. WB Games had started marketing Arkham City as early as mid-2010, while the game itself was released in October 2011. By comparison, today is the first we have heard or seen anything concrete regarding the game other than a mention in a conference call a couple of months back, and the game is due to be released this October. Why have we not seen anything else before now?
I know I’m not the only one worried about Batman: Arkham Origins. I’ve talked to a few friends and they all share the same concerns. Until we learn more, though, I’m going to be taking a “wait and see” attitude towards the game. I’m hoping it will be as good as the previous two games in the series. Only time will tell whether it actually is.