Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Batman: Arkham Knight Launch Trailer

Yesterday came a major news announcement:  "Batman: Arkham Knight", the final game in the Rocksteady Batman Arkham tetralogy (if that is a word), coming later this year for two systems I do not own:  the PS4 and the Xboner.  Here is the trailer below:

As a trailer, this is lousy.  It looks cool, but all it is a promotional FMV, probably not even made by Rocksteady themselves.  If any of these specific scenes end up in the video game exactly as they are shown here, I will relaunch this blog as a "My Little Pony" fan forum.  And not the modern "My Little Pony", but the 80s "My Little Pony".  Essentially we can see nothing of what this game will be, aside from a few facts:  1) it takes place after "Batman: Arkham City", 2) old Batman Rogues are coming back to do wicked deeds on the streets of Gotham, and 3) the Batmobile is in it.  So possibly "Batman: Arkham Knight" could be a huge innovation in this series... or maybe it will be "Arkham City" again just with the Batmobile.  Time will tell.

I will say this, I skipped the last game in the franchise, "Arkham Origins" because it looked exactly like "Arkham City", only with a bigger map and a new story.  In some ways I am conflicted about that decision because yes, I was right that the game was nothing more than an expansion pack sequel adding virtually nothing, but, also it was probably the best game in that series - and that's saying something since "Arkahm City" is one of my favorite video games of the last era.  Even though it was made through Warner Bros' Montreal Studio, they managed to make the best story of them all (which I know thanks to that majestic modern marvel for all of us very poor gamers who must choose between filling up our cars or playing as Batman, Youtube).  During "Origins"' year, Rocksteady has been working on "Arkham Knight", so they might have had that extra time to really spruce up the game and make something really new and fantastic.

Because there is room for innovation and expansion in the "Arkham City" model.  It was cool that you could be Batman flying around a huge city doing Batman stuff, but it was considerably less cool that you were stuck in a post-apocalyptic wasteland without any innocent civilians to protect.  I thought the dark esthetic and nightmarish isolation of "Arkham City" was very exciting and it worked very well for that title, but in "Arkham Origins" you're in regular old Gotham, and still the city is completely empty besides from roving gangs of Vandals and Ostrogoths.  If you're going to make a superhero video game, you cannot leave out the superhero element.  You need a living city where Batman can fly around, actually protecting people, not just punching anonymous infinitely-respawning criminals.  The addition of the Batmobile makes me hopeful we are moving in the right direction towards a larger and more sophisticated Batman game, but who knows?  They might go for the cheap victory.

I want a car.  Chicks dig the car.

Either way, they're making the right move by cashing out now.  This Arkham has very rapidly used up pretty much all of the major Batman villains.  My two favorite villains of them all:  the Joker and Ra's al Ghul, are dead.  Speaking of which, I know there is a great temptation to bring the Joker back to life, Rocksteady, do not do that.  All of the villains pictured in this trailer are guys I have already beaten up.  Even "Origins" was really scraping the bottom of Arkham Asylum, with such "impressive" villains as Firefly, and Anarky*.  But its really a problem you can't fix.  You either just fight the same villains every game, or you use losers like Anarky.  I'm not sure how the comics manage to keep their stories fresh, with Batman having to fight the same dozen or so people every single issue, but I know a game franchise will not last that long.

So I'm kinda glad Arkham is ending.  Inevitably Warner Bros is going to reboot Batman's video game license and probably start from scratch with yet another video game where you fight the Joker.  But perhaps its time for... different DC licenses to get video games?  You know?  Maybe Superman?  Aquaman?

Oh wait, "Superman 64" and "Aquaman: Battle of Atlantis" - yeah, you should stick to Batman.  Or make a "Green Lantern" game.

Anyway, "Batman: Arkham Knight" looks like it will be an unmissable video game, and hopefully a grand climax to a very well-made video game franchise.  Now I believe Warner Bros owes me a check for this free advertising...

* Which reminds me:  just recently Cartoon Network experimented with making a Batman cartoon using the third or fourth-tier villains that have not been done to death already.  That was "Beware the Batman", a truly goddamn show.  The main villain was... Anarky, and I have to grimace even as I write that.  Sorry, DC Comics and its associated fanboys, but Anarky sucks.  He has one gimmick and that's some kind of weird exaggeration of 1980s punk rock philosophy.  He's not scary, he's not impressive, he's not a good foil to Batman, he has no character, he's awful.  You know who doesn't suck?  The Joker, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, R'as al Ghul, etc. etc.  So use them, not Anarky.

By the way, everything about "Beware the Batman" was terrible, not just the villains.  This was the show they cancelled the actually decent "Green Lantern" cartoon for.


  1. Was "Beware the Batman" really that bad? I thought it was stylistically based on the campy 60's series, so it's supposed to be uber-cheesy.

    No wait, that's "Batman: The Brave and the Bold", sorry.

    As for "Beware", I didn't think much of it. Oh well. Animated!Batman post-90s isn't much to look at.

  2. The Batmobile is going to be so detailed, it could fill up all the data for the Arkham Asylum disc and there'd be no room for anything else. All the character models are going to have as much polygons as all the environments in Arkham Asylum combined. This shit is going to look amazing.

    1. Sure it will LOOK amazing, but will it BE amazing? I love graphics as much as the next guy, but they can only carry a game so far. We should focus more on the game play, which I hope they show off at E3 this year. I don't want another FFXIII fiasco.

  3. Say whatever you want about beware the Batman but at least it's better that godawful piece of shit Teen Titans go.

    1. "Teen Titans Go!" is my favorite show currently on Cartoon Network's line-up. Its like a more family-friendly version of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They're all sociopaths, they are terrible heroes, they focus more on meatballs than anything else, and more often than not they're all killed. Its hilarious.