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The Dark Knight returns in 2013 with Batman: Arkham Origins

Game Informer’s May cover story has been revealed to be Batman: Arkham Origins. The official announcement says:

As the title suggests, the game takes place years before both of the previous Arkham titles when a young, unrefined Batman encounters many supervillains for the first time. On our full cover image below, fans will recognize the assassin Deathstroke, who appears for the very first time in a core Arkham game.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Rocksteady Studios isn’t making Arkham Origins (!) – Warner Bros. Games Montreal will be taking the reins on this one.
  2. Eight of the world’s foremost assassins have come to Gotham City on Christmas Eve for caroling to kill the Bat (and then maybe caroling).
  3. Arkham Origins will be the first Arkham game to actually take place on the streets of Gotham (as mentioned in the developer video I’ve embedded after the break).
  4. Batman: Arkham Origins will release on October 25th for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

There’s a lot to talk about here. No Rocksteady, and no Paul Dini? That’s worrying enough, but when you consider that the man tasked with “heading up the vision for Arkham Origins” is Eric Holmes, best known for “being the lead designer of open world action hits The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype” – that, right there, is when I started to worry. Still, as long as they don’t deviate too much from the foundation that Rocksteady’s laid down, we’ll get a good game.

Another sour note rings out, however – Mark Hamill’s stated that he’s done voicing the Joker, which leaves two possibilities. We’ll either be getting a prequel Arkham game with a ‘young, unrefined’ Batman that will not feature the Clown Prince; or, somebody new will step into Hamill’s cavernous shoes. Neither of those prospects is terribly appealing. Still, Deathstroke could be an extremely capable Big Bad if given the right treatment, and he’s been sorely under-used so far.

Personally, I’m finding the lack of any mention of next-gen platforms to be rather interesting. Of course, they could be saving that for a later announcement – maybe sometime next month? – but it does leave the door open for a Rocksteady-made Arkham City sequel for next-gen consoles, which would be…eggcellent.

Of course, we then run the risk of Bat-saturation (baturation?) but that’s chance I’m willing to take.

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Rocksteady’s next Batman game might be Silver Age prequel

Rumours coming out of Hollywood would indicate that Warner Bros. is pushing for a Justice League movie by 2015, in response to the commercial bonanza that was The Avengers. Naturally, Warner and DC want to grab the spotlight back from Marvel’s motley crew; and, while The Dark Knight Rises (which releases today!) will undoubtedly do that at the box office, there’s going to be renewed activity on the gaming front. Members of the Justice League figure prominently in Lego Batman 2, as well as next year’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. What’s more, Rocksteady – the folk behind Arkham Asylum and Arkham City – have apparently been drafted in to create a stylized, Silver Age-based Batman prequel game, that will also feature some of his costumed compadres.

Of course, the atmosphere of the Silver Age differs greatly from the dark and gritty world that Rocksteady’s given us so far; and it would mark a rather substantial departure from the formula that’s given us two awesome games. Still, Rocksteady’s more than earned a little faith; and, despite some misgivings about the source material, who’s to say they won’t knock it out of the park one more time? I believe in those guys – it’s rather hard to make a good superhero game, and they went and did it twice. Just…please give Robin some pants, guys. That’s all I ask.

Seriously, dude’s showing more skin than Wonder Woman.