Batman: Arkham City will boast a game world that’s around five times larger than the one found in the Caped Crusader’s previous outing, Arkham Asylum, developer Rocksteady’s revealed.
Despite this, the company was quick to point out that the sequel won’t be an open-ended affair, though at the same time assured gamers that it won’t “hold your hand” either.
"The footprint of Arkham City is about five times bigger than Arkham Island, but our primary intention was never to create a bigger game world just for the sake of it," game director Sefton Hill told GameSpot.
"In Batman: Arkham Asylum, we really focused our effort on creating an intense, pressure-cooker atmosphere by locking Batman in the madhouse and allowing The Joker to turn up the heat. In Arkham City, we want to take that attitude to the next level, so we created an experience in which gamers will have a huge amount of navigational freedom, but they will also feel the extreme pressure of the challenges that they face.
"Players will be able to go anywhere at any time, but we have made sure that players will always have a very clear idea of where they are needed most if they want to just stick to the core narrative path of the game. Explore the streets of Arkham City and you will find many side missions, secrets and street brawls, so players won't find it difficult to get into some trouble if that's what they are looking for. “
Hill further added that a “totally open” world wouldn’t allow the team to go about cobbling together the gritty atmosphere they’re aiming for.
"Arkham City is its own place; a massive super-prison, jam-packed with super-villains, thugs and psychopaths. There aren't any rules, but it has a law of its own, and this is why it is a perfect setting for Batman. Gamers will have to think and act like the Dark Knight if they want to survive in a place like Arkham City," he continued.
Arkham City takes place 18 months after the events of its predecessor, with Warden Quincy Sharp having since taken up residence as mayor of Gotham City. As a result, Sharp has expanded Arkham Asylum into the city itself, with Huge Strange now overseeing the sprawling metropolis.
In terms of characters, Arkham City will feature the likes of Two-Face, the Joker and Catwoman, the latter of whom will team up with Batman. As for the Dark Knight himself, our hero will have access to a host of fresh gadgets, including the Bat Claw and a broadcast tracker.
Batman: Arkham City is due for release in late 2011.