The Internet is awash with rumours about the follow-up to the last Batman game "Arkham City" and it seems that everyone wants to second guess the details, from who the development team will be to what the game will be about? But what do we really know about this new title?
All that we can be sure of at this moment is that a third Batman game will definitely be out this year. Warner Bros confirmed that when Senior Corporate Executive John K. Martin revealed: “We also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise.”
Even a simple statement about a vague release date of this year can tell us something, namely the imminent release of a Batman game suggests a PlayStation 3 rather than PlayStation 4 game. That notion seems to be further compounded by developer Daniel Wang when he posted in his LinkedIn profile that he is working on Batman 3 using the Unreal 3 engine.
So the game will be out this year, but who is actually making it?
Well, I think at the moment the developer could be one of two games studios, either Rocksteady Studios (though some sources believe this won’t be the case) or Warner Bros Montreal studios. Rocksteady's reputation speaks for itself as its first two Batman games were well received by reviewers and fans alike, however its website is currently quiet and doesn’t state what it’s working on. Warner Bros Montreal has just created Batman Arkham City Armoured Edition for the Wii U, but surely while working on this it wouldn’t have had time to be working on any new Batman title for the PS?
My money is on Warner Bros bringing the Batman game back in-house, simply to maximise profits and better control one of its major money-making franchises. If this did happen it would certainly be a gamble as Rocksteady has a proven track record with Batman and a poor game could damage the character's reputation, just as the George Clooney film "Batman and Robin," wrecked the image of the big screen Batman until Christopher Nolan's gritty reboot.
So while we can only second guess who is creating the next Batman game perhaps we can do better on trying to work out what the game will actually be about? Here a lot of people are certain that the next game for the Dark Knight detective will be a silver age prequel to his Arkham adventures, but where did the idea come from?
Well it seems fans and writers picked up on an article on the Variety website from November last year which said,
' ( A) new highly stylized title is being developed as a prequel that revolves around Batman’s first meeting with the Joker. It’s based on the Silver Age of DC’s comicbooks from the 1950s when the Caped Crusader teamed with other heroes like Superman and founded the Justice League of America. '
The quote gives no idea where this information was obtained from but if true would a silver age Batman game be to player's tastes?
Batman's current PS outings allow people to play a Dark Knight facing down psychopaths and serial killers. Could a fifties-based game be this gritty, when to a lot of people it was a time more famous for the Cold War and the space-race rather than vigilantes taking the law into their own hands? Sure, Batman was around in the fifties but in his comics he was battling aliens and monsters from weird dimensions aided by his usual supporting cast, plus Bat-Mite, an imp with magical powers, and Ace the Bathound.
Much as I enjoy the fifties Batman comics I'm not certain how well they or any fifties persona of Batman would translate into a game, I think it would be far better to base a game around the 1987 Batman comic book story written by Frank Miller entitled " Batman year one." This story, often seen as the definitive modern-day Batman origin story, has many superb elements that would go well in any prequel game that focused on Batman's beginnings. It would also be interesting to start the game in a similar way to the comic with Bruce Wayne as a vigilante who hasn't yet adopted the Batman persona.
So when it comes to straight facts about the Batman game we only know it will be out this year, we are no wiser at this point in time as to who the developer is or whether the game might be a silver age prequel. Even if the next Batman game is set in the fifties, will it give fans the game they are expecting? A silver age Batman game might bring a fresh perspective to his world but if it deviates from the gritty feel of the first two games it could backfire and alienate fans and reviewers.
So what do you think the next Batman game will be and is there any part of Batman's world not yet seen that would make a good addition to this next instalment?