The Dark Knight returned during Sony’s PlayStation 4 presentation last night at E3 2014 and we were treated to some wicked gameplay footage from Batman: Arkham Knight which will be the fourth in the award-winning Arkham series published by Rocksteady and developed by Warner Bros. Interactive.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released in early 2015 after a slight delay, and follows 2013’s Arkham Origins but the story will be set one year after the climatic events of 2011’s Arkham City and the gameplay trailer kicks off with Bats getting suited and booted in a new cybernetic armoured costume, which mirrors that of a new villain – The Arkham Knight, a never before seen character created especially for the game.
As segments of the armour lock into place the Bat symbol appears on the hero’s chest and his futuristic cowl locks down by itself completing the character’s revamp in style. The new lair is also re-imaginated and it looks like Bats has been taking interior décor tips from fellow billionaire superhero Tony Stark, moving out of the Batcave as the demo starts in a teched up penthouse. From here Batman takes a leap, cape extended, gliding over the gothic and architecturally stunning cityscape of Gotham city, which we think looks a lot like the Tim Burton 1989 movie version, only with a futuristic spin and highlighted with neon – lots of neon.
Players will be able to guide Batman’s direction while in motion, and also deliver fight moves while descending to attack ground based foes and prompts will appear on screen to ensure a gracefully flight. In the clip the Dark Knight’s feet touch the ground and one of the franchises newest and most long-awaited features is showcased – a drivable Batmobile!
And this ain’t Adam West’s Batmobile either – the ride pulls up looking like a beast, a cross between Micheal Keaton’s stylised wheels from 1989 and Christian Bale’s ‘Tumbler’ from the Dark Knight Trilogy. After a rampaging race across the city, the Batmobile transforms into Battle Mode for attack, panels flipping, wheels extending for a 180 degree rotation allowing movement in all directions as well as strafing and a large mounted cannon emerge from the vehicle’s roof. A targeting system is displayed and Bats defies his ‘no guns’ rule when he proceeds to demonstrate his firepower against enemy vehicles, and we’ll forgive his hypocrisy because it’s a freaking awesome sight which we can’t wait to try when the Batmobile revs into Arkham Knight and can be controlled via remote or manually driven in the game.
With justice served in the Batmobile scenario our hero propels from the driver’s seat, again taking to the skyline and onto a building rooftop to demonstrate hand to hand combat despatching a disposable foe in slo-mo. There’s a spot of detective work as bats patrols the rooftop, and glances down to spot a rotund figure and his lackey. The shrill voice gives away that this can only be the Penguin who proclaims the Batman is about to become extinct but before that can happen the Dark Knight busts through a vent and slides down to attack.
At this point the trailer appeared to go haywire, glitching with an irritating squawking noise much like large birds, and a hooded figure appears seated and proceeds to give a speech about Batman’s questionable stand on justice – employing “fear violence and darkness”. The figure promises to drag Gotham into oblivion. The capsules worn on this villain’s costume presumably containing mind altering toxins, and the sound of crows gives us a fair idea of who this is and as the figure’s head lifts, we see a part ripped burlap sack mask, covering a frightening face – The Scarecrow, and he’s scarier than we’ve ever known! His appearance on the main stage of E3 suggests a larger role for the creepy character to fill the shoes of the absent Joker and exclusive Scarecrow missions will be available only on PS4.
Other baddies we love to hate will be returning, including Two-Face and Harley Quinn with voice actors back for another round namely long-standing Batman performer Kevin Conroy. Old favourite gadgets and gameplay features like the batarang and detective view are also back along with new tech like the sweet new suit, new fighting combos and grapple moves, counter attack and of course that drivable Batmobile is a major new addition.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on PS4 and Xbox One in 2015.