Ah, springtime! The time of the year when things begin to heat up, flowers start blooming, and when comics, video games and movies tend to get really interesting. Last week during the Game Developers Conference here in San Francisco, many members of the press got their first sneak peek at the demo for Batman: Arkham City. Those that were lucky enough to get into the show and take a closer look at the game play footage were not only impressed, they were mystified! In fact, the footage prompted Giantbomb to ask a couple of interesting questions about the upcoming game.
Based on the demonstration footage that GB caught at GDC, something called "Protocol 10" is going to make a big impact in the upcoming video game. According to the article, after successfully saving Catwoman, Batman interrogates her for information regarding Doctor Hugo Strange's "Protocal 10," which was presented as backwards audio during the video. We can only guess that Protocol 10 is going to be a big part of the game- and unfortunately, it isn't something that is brought up or mentioned during the most recent gameplay footage released by Rocksteady. However, there may be some interesting clues as to Hugo Strange's possible motives. Over the course of the last several months we have seen a plethora of images leaked online that hint at what we can expect going into Batman: Arkham City; and even though a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words, it's often when everything comes together that we can really begin to see the bigger picture. We decided to take that minute and a half worth of footage, and do some detective work ourselves.== TEASER ==
Batman: Arkham City picks up one year where Batman: Arkham Asylum left off. Just as it was hinted in the first game, and in many of the interviews and images that we have seen, something has completely changed Gotham City, and enabled everyone that had been locked up in Arkham Asylum, to roam free- seemingly under the control of the Arkham Asylum's Warden, Doctor Hugo Strange.
The gameplay footage opens with a close up of Doctor Strange who looks to be in Arkham Asylum, with the faint sound of a respirator in the background. Based on the image, Strange could very well be operating on someone, something he is known to have done in comics to many patients- including pre-crisis Bruce Wayne.
The footage opens with Strange and pans quickly to the image of Batman looking out at Gotham's rooftops. Strange is heard saying, "Have you ever considered that this is all your fault? That your presence creates these animals?" This very concept is what keeps Batman going in the comics, so it's no shocker that the creative team would integrate that into the new game. The idea that Batman's existence is what prompts the rise of psychotic super villains isn't a new news. In fact, that very idea is what propelled Frank Miller's famous Batman tale, The Dark Knight Returns. Published in 1986, DKR takes place in the future where Batman is 55 years old and has come out of retirement. His return awakens the Joker who has been comatose for years. The Joker is a contrary force that is prompted an awakening by Batman's return, proving that without Batman, there would be no Joker.
The image of Batman looming over Gotham transitions out and the focus moves to the Joker's Playground, further reinforcing this idea that perhaps if there were no Batman, there would be no chaos.
The video pans to Gotham's court house and the fact that there are "Arkham City Inmates" roaming freely around the court house is indicative that they have the flexibility to roam the city with little restriction.
Could it be that Black Mask will make an appearance in the upcoming game?
If you caught some of the previously released images, you may have noticed that Two-Face will be making his debut in Batman: Arkham City. The footage depicts him holding Catwoman captive, debating whether or not to kill her. It is in this scene that Batman saves Selina's life and proceeds to interrogate her about "Protocol 10," (though it's not specified in this footage).
The scene switches from the brief dialogue (and evident chemistry between the two characters), to full fledged action. In a previous interview, Rocksteady developer Sefton Hill stated that more than just the game's setting would have to change for the sequel. Hill inferred that giving Batman some new toys and gadgets would not be enough because he will be "fundamentally facing a new game world and [a] totally different range of enemies in this game [Batman: Arkham City]. The image above demonstrates a new move, where Batman enters the scene gliding downward, fist first, stunning a group of Arkham City inmates. Needless to say, he's got some pretty cool new moves.
One of the cooler gameplay features in Batman: Arkham Asylum was the ability to glide with the assistance of a grappling hook. Here, Gliding is taken to a whole new level and will enable Batman to attach himself to moving object like Helicopters, for example.
The ability to glide will be expanded, and will be utilized as a defense mechanism throughout gameplay as well, which is demonstrated in Batman's display of dodging oncoming ammunition mid flight.
In addition to expanding his gliding capabilities, it seems that "detective mode" is back- but with some upgrades. Not only will Batman be able to scan his adversaries, but also surrounding objects.
The big question is what will the premise for Batman: Arkham City be? As with it's predecessor; Batman: Arkham Asylum; Batman: Arkham City will not only take all of it's characters, but also many of it's concepts directly from the comics. Based on what we know, Arkham Asylum has been moved off the island and into a blocked off area of Gotham City where Hugo Strange has been appointed Warden. Just as in the comics, Hugo Strange knows Batman's true identity, which he very likely will use as leverage to analyze Batman, but since it might be hard to have him on Strange's operating table, he'll be forced to analyze Batman from a distance. I predict that Strange will quickly realize that the best way to analyze Batman, is to use Arkham City and all of it's inmates against him. As Warden, Strange has established a set of rules, or "protocols" which must be abided by all patients and prisoners of Arkham. If I had to guess, "Protocol 10" could refer to a hit placed on Batman. Perhaps in the upcoming game, Arkham City are the hunters, and Batman is the hunted. Think Gavin Lyall's 'The Most Dangerous Game.' What do you think the premise of the Batman: Arkham City will be? And just in case you haven't already checked out the gameplay trailer, here it is!