“It’s the car right? Chicks love the car.” – Batman (Kilmer)
There are many reasons to anticipate the upcoming release of the third in the Arkham franchise. Arkham Knight will feature a fully realized version of Gotham City that is five times the size of previous iterations, along with a next-gen level of polish that should make raining down sweet vengeance on the cities underbelly a true joy. However, most of these reasons pale in comparison to a new addition that looks to set this game apart from its predecessors in a big way (and I do mean BIG). The Batmobile is not only a fun idea in theory, the footage easily impresses the most jaded of gamers. One look at this crime fighting fortress on wheels, and it’s easy to see that all kinds of fun will be had barreling down the back alleys of Gotham.
Granted, this isn’t’ necessarily the first time we’ve sat behind the wheel of Batman’s iconic ride.
Batman games have been VERY hit or miss over the year (as you probably know if you’ve spent any time with them). The use of the Batmobile has been scarce;, but its appearances to date have become little more than an afterthought (and those god-awful driving levels in LEGO Batman don’t count). So when we heard that Rocksteady would feature the Batmobile as a legitimate part of Arkham Knight’s new gameplay mechanic (unlike the Batwing’s use as a glorified checkpoint system in Origins) some had mixed opinions. Sure the pre-animated cut scenes in the reveal trailer looked awesome. Yes the gameplay footage released after that looked even better. But the question still remained, will the inclusion of the Batmobile end up as a gimmick that players would quickly get bored with (thus returning to the tried and true method of just grappling and gliding around the city)?
Those behind the upcoming game’s release say no, this will be a completely integrated experience.
Guy Perkins is marketing game manager at Rocksteady, and recently revealed to Randolph Ramsay how everything about the vehicle affected the design team’s way of thinking (when approaching things like street design and puzzle solving elements). “It's been at the heart of the design of Arkham Knight. It's informed how big the city is, how wide the streets are, how you navigate through those. And introducing it with the two modes, again, every design decision is made around that…The Batmobile is another character almost in that it works with Batman and augments his abilities…we never want people to feel that this is a very specific Batmobile section and that this is a very specific Batman level. We want them to ask, 'How will the two work together?'” says Perkins.
The latest footage released for the game (which we’ve embedded above for our bat-fan’s convenience) is little more than a tease for E3 next week. In it, we get our first glimpse of “Battle Mode;” a secondary version of the vehicle that will allow players a more offensive position on the fly. With a press of your gamepad, the wheels expand and a tank-sized 60mm cannon appears, with smaller suppression and Vulcan guns flanking the sides (think concussion grenades and Jesse Ventura from Predator). Also, we see that the Bat is packing some serious explosive firepower in addition to live rounds, as a series of rocket launchers line the backend (essentially allowing for an artillery strike whenever the Caped Crusader feels it’s needed). This would make sense, as Rocksteady had referenced player’s ability to blast through walls or traverse obstacles with some of the Batmobile’s “unique” new features. With this kind of weaponry on-hand, I guess we now know exactly what they meant.
While we won’t’ know its full capabilities until we see more from the convention next week, it’s clear there’s more to this vehicle than just some flashy guns and a sleek design. The core of Arkham Knight’s gameplay could very well be altered in a big way. The developers state they want the Batmobile to play an integral role in player’s strategies, no different than any of Batman’s other gadgets would. Scenarios like using it to overcome tough boss battles is one example, and certainly a step in the right direction in making this experience a memorable one.
It seems we’ve been given much more than a new toy to play with in Arkham Knight’s Batmobile. Apparently, we’ll find a new partner at our sides.