Batman: Arkham City - Rocksteady on Detective Mode, boss battles and more

Studio's Dax Ginn talks multiplayer, open worlds and brand new characters...

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The way in which we are pacing out the narrative reveals is through the internal areas so coming to the court house, before the whole Catwoman/Two-Face thing, it wouldn't have been available, there would have been some other priority that would have been the focus at that point. So it's the internal locations that are used to book-mark that experience.

But there's loads of content out there in the streets and you can engage with in any order you want right from the beginning.

How much more difficult would you say it is with something so plot driven to move to the open world but keep that suspense going?


It's really hard. The decision to take the game out into the streets and out into an open-world structure - the first thing that's going to do is deal a massive body blow to your ability to tell a tight story. So that's why we developed these ambient story-telling systems, which meant we weren't just relying on cinematic cut-scenes to tell the story, we're bombarding the player with story all the time because you're constantly hearing discussions of thugs or they're bricking it before you take them down.

So we developed systems over and above what we had in Arkham Asylum in order to allow us to continue to tell story even though we've got no idea which direction the player's going in or where they're heading at any point in time.

We can hit them at every angle rather than waiting for them to hit a linear point.

How important do you think the music is to keep people in the moment?

Our audio team - and they're creative as well as really technical - everyone works hard but these guys never stop. Every night they're the last guys to leave. The amount of effort that goes into the audio for this game, and I think for Arkham Asylum as well, is just immense. I think it really pays off but it's not something that's top of you list of development priorities but I think if it wasn't so strong you'd really feel like something was missing.

When we think about all the things that make up the Batman experience, I think the great thing with what we're doing at Rocksteady is not just, "Let's make sure we have him beating up people and flying around." It's like, "OK, let's deal with the detective forensic side of him and let's deal with the psychological side of him, let's deal with the things that are unexpected but are really intriguing, that are loaded with gameplay potential."

It's probably difficult to put a number on it but how long do you think the campaign is altogether?

You're right, it's very difficult to put a number on it. I can tell you that our QA guys, who are ninjas and obviously know everything in a game can just do the core story missions in about eight hours with nothing else, just in a straight line, and they know exactly where to go and what to do - the most efficient way of doing everything.


Someone who has no idea what to do and wants to complete everything, it's going to be significantly more than that.

People wanted to see Detective Mode and boss battles from Arkham Asylum fleshed out. Are those things you guys have identified as needing improvement and how have you done that?

I could have finished that question for you. Yeah absolutely, they were the two things we were hearing loud and clear as well. The Detective Mode question was a really interesting one for us to work out where it went wrong, but I think once we identified what it was it was an easy fix.

Our assessment of that was, we always saw it as a tool and it's a tool that indispensable to Batman because we wanted to explore the detective side of his role so we couldn't just get rid of it in order to solve that problem.

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