New Heroes Mean New Challenges
Part of the reason we love the Arkham series so much is the combat. Sure, we love the stealth sections where you can use all of Batman’s gadgets and tricks to pick off your enemies one by one, but there’s something so immensely satisfying about taking things in the other direction, and fluidly taking down your foes. It’s a system that was so successful, and achieved its goal of putting us in the hero’s shoes, so well that it inspired the combat in Marvel’s Spider-man.
Still, things change. The true successor to the Arkham series – Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – is taking things in another direction, being described as a shooter, but Gotham Knights – developed by WB Games Montreal, who previously worked on Arkham Origins – seems to be sticking closer to the combat system the Arkham series created – albeit with a couple of changes.
“We have entirely redesigned the combat system in order for it to work well in co-op,” says executive producer Fleur Marty. “Of course, we’re still a brawler, and some of the mechanics won’t feel totally alien for people who played and enjoyed the Arkham series, but it is in many ways very different.”
“The two-player dynamic fits the fantasy and the Gotham City setting. The ‘duo’ or team-up is such a central feature of the universe that there’s a literal shorthand for it in the comics, animation, film, and TV versions,” says creative director Patrick Redding. “Gotham is a city of alleyways and rooftops, so the footprint for gameplay needs to be compatible with that.”
Anyone who’s played the Arkham series and done their fair share of sidequests will no doubt be familiar with the sequences where Batman is joined by another hero to take down a swarm of enemies, each with their own unique tricks and gadgets. There’s bound to be technical issues when introducing a variable like a second playable character into such a complex system, so we may not get the same level of fluidity as we did in the Arkham series, but if the team play this right we may get a truly fun and authentic experience – just with a different focus.