Interviews

Batman Arkham City: 'It's just a better game'

We swoop in on Rocksteady Studios for more on Arkham City

As one our favourite games of 2009, we've been desperate to find out more on Arkham Asylum's sequel. So we grabbed a few words with a busy Sefton Hill from Rocksteady Studios, Game Director of Batman: Arkham City

Were you prepared for the huge praise that was attached to the first game? Is there more pressure to make an even better game?

When you work on something for two years so closely you have no idea how it will be received so the huge praise really did surprise me. In fact one of the key moments was the great GamesMaster review. This was the first moment that I thought we might have achieved our goal. The positive reception and critical acclaim has given us a lot of confidence as a studio to try different things and pursue unconventional ideas for Batman: Arkham City.

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Batman has a stock of iconic villains - how do you decide who will make an appearance?

Choices are determined by the characters that will help us tell the best story in the most interesting way. We work closely with Paul Dini and DC Comics to develop and define the story. Each of the villains has an agenda within the walls of Arkham City and gamers can explore their motivations.

Interrogations will replace the Riddler challenges - how will these work?

The interrogation system is a new feature integrated into Batman's Detective Mode. Batman can scan thugs and cross reference with his criminal database to identify goons that are on the Riddler's payroll. The challenge is to keep them conscious until the end of the fight. Once the informant is the last man standing it's time for the interrogation when the Riddler informant will reveal the location of nearby secret trophies.

Can we expect to see some new gadgets in there?

It was important that players felt a sense of continuity between the end of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Therefore Batman will retain many of the core gadgets he had at the end of the first game and these will be sporting new upgraded features.

A couple of new gadgets include a new smoke pellet, which can be used as covert exit from danger, and the Broadcast Analyser, which enables him to hack into encrypted transmissions from various criminal bosses.

Arkham City is more open than the Asylum. Was it a challenge creating a bigger environment?

Two of the key elements that people loved in Arkham Asylum were the attention to detail and the intense atmosphere. Arkham City is about 4-5 times bigger than Arkham Island so the biggest challenge was keeping the same level of detail on a significantly larger scale.

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Our primary objective was never really to make a bigger game, just to make a better game. We felt we could increase the feeling of being Batman by allowing players the wish fulfilment of gliding through the Gotham streets and expanding moves and abilities way beyond Arkham Asylum.

The larger environment also allows us to introduce optional side stories, giving the player greater control over the missions that they choose.

You're planning to make the Detective Mode even more important this time, aren't you? How will this work?

The Detective Mode is a critical feature of Batman: Arkham City and we're totally committed to creating a game that explores every aspect of Batman's complex character.

For us, forensic investigation is just as important as high-impact combat and nail-biting stealth. However, the super villains have been working hard to develop strategies to defeat the Bat and counter his technical dominance.

Players will have to stay one step ahead if they are to survive on the streets of Arkham City.

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