cover edits by yours truly
The new Batman: Arkham Asylum game is going to be out soon and after seeing the gameplay videos I have to say I’m looking forward to this one. It seems to have gotten right most of what makes Batman cool for me. Stealth, hand-to-hand combat, high-tech gadgets, and nice atmosphere. The only gripe I have as of now with this title is that it is set in just one location, Arkham Asylum. Nothing wrong with that but imagine being able explore the whole of Gotham City, jumping from rooftop to roopftop, racing down the streets in the Batmobile. It would be a batgeek’s wet dream come true
So as the blog title suggests, I think the best game design idea for a Batman title is to have what basically boils down to a Grand Theft Auto/Batman game. Other games like Saint’s Row & Godfather have tried to rip-off GTA and that’s because if you are going to copy any game design, why not copy one of the best?
Ok now just like GTA IV’s protagonist Niko Bellic, Bruce Wayne/Batman will have a central storyline to follow and play through but at the same time the side missions will be present. I would imagine the main story will have something to do with the Joker since he is everyone’s favorite villain or maybe even Ras Al Ghul. The side missions on the other hand could range from anything as mundane as preventing a mugging to going after the other less stellar villains such as Scarface or The Riddler. Of course the police will come into play and Commissioner Gordon will give you Batman the heads up on the different missions and crimes going around the city. I do like the idea that not the whole police force supports The Batman and so you as the Dark Knight cannot loiter around crime scenes when the boys in blue are around or else they will try to apprehend you.
Another idea I had was that you also have missions where you play as Bruce Wayne. Maybe you have to attend a charity ball or a meeting with Wayne Corp clients and these missions will act as infiltration type gigs. You know, go to the party, mingle, chit-chat, quietly slip away and plant bugs or eavesdrop on secret conversations?
The GTA game formula is almost too perfect for the world of Batman. I would even allow the inclusion of Robin and Nightwing since this would allow for team-play of sorts. The only room for improvement would be the hand-to-hand combat system which is quite important but not superbly implemented in the GTA series.
I am sure this is not the first time anyone has come up with this game idea but it’s so obvious that I’m surprised no one has implemented it. I am also aware the this is the formula that the Spider-Man games went for but that never worked to its full potential so I’m guessing it might have to be Rockstar themselves who will have to develop this Batman title in order for it to work. Fingers crossed. (I recently discovered a full Batman mod for GTA: San Andreas which just further strengthens my resolve that a GTA type game is the best direction for a Batman title – in fact any superhero will benefit from this game brand of game design.)