- "So, you know my name... Good. Because I know everything about you. Your darkest secret. Your ultimate weakness. I know you are Bruce Wayne."
- ―Hugo Strange, Batman: Arkham City "Hugo Strange" trailer
|Batman: Arkham City|
Warner Bros. Games Montréal (Armored Edition)
Virtuos (Return To Arkham)
NetherRealm Studios (Lockdown)
|Publisher(s)||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
NA October 18, 2011
|Genre||Action-adventure, beat 'em up, stealth|
|Rating(s)||Template:W: Teen (T) for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco and Violence
Template:W: 16+ (only in Europe)
PlayStation 4 (Return To Arkham)
Xbox One (Return To Arkham)
Wii U (Armored Edition)
|Input method(s)||Gamepad, keyboard & mouse|
|Preceded by||Batman: Arkham Asylum|
|Followed by||Batman: Arkham Origins|
Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game and the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U. It was released for consoles in North America on October 18 2011, with the PC version released on November 22. This is one of the two games that have been remastered in Batman: Return To Arkham, which was converted and developed by Virtuos. The mobile spinoff title, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, was developed by NetherRealm Studios.
The Wii U version, entitled Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal and released on November 18 2012. This version has new armored tech suits for both Batman and Catwoman as well as new and revised cutscenes that are tailored to the armored tech suit. The armored tech suits also have upgradable ablilites. It also has the option to play with the original suits in Riddler's Revenge mode. This version also has gamepad support to use in investigations and puzzles.
The game was once more written by Paul Dini, and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker. It tells the story of Batman being incarcerated inside a prison facility called Arkham City on Hugo Strange's orders. While investigating the mysterious Protocol 10, Batman is forced to re-encounter several of his oldest foes as he tries to stop the Joker from poisoning all of Gotham City with a deadly disease, and thwart Strange's diabolical schemes.
Batman: Arkham City was met with even more acclaim than its predecessor, and a prequel entitled Batman: Arkham Origins was released in October 2013. Batman: Arkham Knight is due for release in 2015 as a sequel to Arkham City.
Batman: Arkham City is an open world action-adventure game played from the third person. The player takes control of Batman as he is trapped inside Arkham City, the controversial super-prison located in the heart of Gotham City. The whole facility is open to the player almost immediately, allowing full exploration anywhere within the prison's boundaries. Batman can use his cape to glide throughout the city, making use of swoops and dives to extend flight.
Batman has a tool called Detective Mode at his disposal. Detective Mode is used to highlight objects and points of interest and provide contextual information. The device also displays a tactical assessment of the player's surroundings, showing how many enemies are in the area, and what weapons they have; it also displays the status of these enemies. Detective Mode can also be used to perform forensic activities, locate clues, and locate trails that Batman can follow in order to solve a puzzle.
The freeflow combat has been upgraded, and Batman has an expanded set of moves to perform in combat. Batman can counter up to three enemies simultaneously, catch and redirect projectiles, attack from the air, and perform a quick succession of attacks in order to defeat his enemies. More of Batman's gadgets can now be used in combat against thugs. Enemies are armed with a greater variety of weapons and armor, ranging from baseball bats to guns. Many enemies require more tactical methods in order to be defeated; enemies with stun sticks must be attacked from behind, enemies with shields must be attacked aerially, and enemies armed with armor must be stunned and then receive several consecutive attacks. Combat will always reward players with experience points, and more elaborate combos will provide larger bonuses.
Most gadgets from Arkham Asylum are available in the beginning of the story, while others become available as the game progresses. Most returning gadgets have expanded features; the Cryptographic Sequencer can be used to intercept radio broadcasts, the Line Launcher can now be redeployed while already traversing along it as well as being made into a tightrope that can give Batman a vantage point, and the Remote Controlled Batarang now has a brake, boost, and a 180-degree turn feature. There are several new gadgets in the game. Smoke Pellets can be used to cover an escape, or leave enemies unable to see. The Disruptor can be used to deactivate guns or detonate mines. The Remote Electrical Charge can be used to stun enemies and activate power motors. The Freeze Blast and Freeze Cluster Grenade are used to temporarily freeze enemies in place and create platforms in water.
Arkham City includes a wide variety of side missions that can be completed at any time. These side missions generally feature characters from the Batman universe that are not connected to the main plot. The Riddler returns as part of these side missions, and once more has scattered hundreds of challenges for Batman to solve. Most of these challenges consist of gathering trophies that have been hidden throughout the city and require cunning use of gadgets to be acquired. Batman can interrogate informants working for the Riddler in order to find out where these challenges are, which can make the process of finding them much easier and faster. Challenges also include riddles, which will unlock "Arkham City stories" that provide background on characters and events, and help to bridge Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Once Batman has solved a select number of these challenges, he must rescue a hostage taken by Riddler from one of his death-trap puzzle rooms, most of which require the use of gadgets to conquer.
Upon completing the story on "normal" or "hard" difficulties, an option called New Game Plus becomes available. New Game Plus allows the player to replay the game with all gadgets, upgrades, and experience gained from the initial playthrough; however, enemies are significantly more challenging, and the icon that indicates incoming attacks is disabled. Another feature unlocked over the course of the game is a series of challenge maps similar to that of Arkham Asylum. These maps focus on the completion of set goals, such as taking out waves of enemies in combat while scoring as many points as possible, and clearing predator rooms as fast as possible while performing specific actions. The overall score after each round is based on how many different moves and takedowns the player performs.
While holding a press conference and announcing his campaign to close Arkham City, Bruce Wayne is detained by TYGER forces on Hugo Strange's orders and detained in the prison himself. As Bruce regains consciousness after the attack, Strange reveals that he knows that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same. Strange gloats over his apparent victory, and declares that "Protocol 10 is ready to begin". Strange also warns that if Wayne attempts to stop him, then he will reveal his identity as Batman. After trying and failing to escape, Bruce is processed and sent out into Arkham City proper, along with Jack Ryder and other prisoners. As he saves Ryder from attack, Bruce is swiftly captured by the Penguin, who desires revenge for his family being bested by the Waynes over several generations. Bruce is able to escape the Penguin's clutches, and obtains his equipment via an airdrop sent by Alfred. Upon donning the batsuit, Bruce hacks into TYGER's communications, and learns that Two-Face has apprehended Catwoman in the Solomon Wayne courthouse and intends to kill her. Bruce decides to rescue her, as he suspects that Catwoman will be know something of Protocol 10.
Entering the courthouse, Batman is able to subdue Two-Face and rescue Catwoman. However, when he inquires about Protocol 10, Catwoman replies that she has never heard of it. Asking her about Strange, she replies that she does not trust him, and that there are rumors that he is working with the Joker. As they continue speaking, Batman observes that a sniper is aiming at Catwoman, and pulls her out of the way just as the shot is fired. Determining that it was the Joker who attempted this assassination, Batman sets up a crime scene and discovers that the shot was fired from the church, which is now being used as a medical center. Batman decides to find his oldest foe and interrogate him to find out what Protocol 10 is.
Upon arriving at the church, Batman is greeted by Harley Quinn and a group of thugs. After she leaves, Batman defeats the thugs and rescues the hostages taken. Making his way to the bell tower from which the sniper shot originated, Batman is greeted by a recording of the Joker. As Batman scans the gun and determines that it is being controlled remotely, Joker starts a countdown that will trigger bombs set in the tower. Batman is able to narrowly escape just as the tower explodes, and decides to track the signal used to remotely control the sniper rifle in order to find Joker.
Batman follows the signal to the Sionis steel mill, which is being used as Joker's base of operations. Entering via the main chimney, Batman observes Harley Quinn ordering the torture of kidnapped doctor that had failed to cure Joker's apparent illness. After Batman rescues the doctor, she confirms that Joker is indeed dying, and that TITAN is responsible for poisoning his blood. Batman makes his way to the manager's office only to find Harley Quinn sobbing over the Joker's seemingly lifeless body. As Batman scans the Joker's body and discovers that there is no heartbeat, another Joker leaps out and gases him, causing him to collapse. As Joker taunts Batman for falling for "the ol' fake Joker gag", Quinn beats him into unconsciousness with a baseball bat. After Batman wakes up, Joker reveals that he has infected him with his poisoned blood, dooming them both to the same fate; unless Batman helps Joker find a cure. When Batman retorts that he is comfortable with both of them dying, Joker casually responds that he has spent several weeks shipping samples of his blood to hospitals across Gotham, spreading the disease rapidly. Batman assumes that Joker's plan to poison Gotham is Protocol 10, though Joker claims that he has never heard of it. Joker then pushes Batman out of a window, claiming that he will keep in touch.
Batman is soon contacted by the Joker, who tells him that Mister Freeze was developing the cure, but has been out of contact. In order to find Freeze, Batman calibrates his cowl to locate the coldest point in Arkham City, which he finds to be the abandoned GCPD building. Inside, he discovers that Penguin's thugs have captured Freeze's lab and taken him hostage. Freeze is now imprisoned in the museum, which has been transformed into Penguin's base. With little choice, Batman decides to make his way to the museum and rescue Freeze.
As Batman exits the GCPD, Penguin detonates bombs placed on a bridge, cutting off access to parts of the prison and keeping Joker's forces at bay. Undeterred, Batman continues on and enters the museum. However, he is unable to proceed beyond the main entrance due to jamming devices deployed by Penguin, which have prevented Batman from using devices that require communication with the Batcomputer. Batman leaves and hunts down the jammers, which have been set up in various locations throughout Arkham City. Upon disabling the third and final jammer, Batman is able to gain access to the museum.
Once Batman enters the museum, he rescues a prisoner being interrogated by Penguin's thugs. Batman discovers that the prisoner is part of an undercover police strike team sent into Arkham by James Gordon. The officer reveals that the strike team was found out by Penguin, and each member of the team is being held hostage, and Batman promises to rescue them. Batman soon finds the Penguin in a large chamber set up like an arena, and when he refuses to surrender, Batman is forced to fight off several thugs hoping to kill him and be accepted in Penguin's gang; after this initial fight, Penguin then unleashes a thug supplied with TITAN. When Batman relays this development to Alfred, Oracle joins their conversation as she is disturbed that TITAN has made its way off of Arkham Island. Batman continues to pursue Penguin, though he is caught off guard and trapped by Penguin with a Freeze cannon stolen from Mister Freeze. Once he breaks free, Batman finds Freeze and makes a deal with him: if Batman finds and returns Freeze's suit, then Freeze will provide Batman with the means to override Penguin's ice gun. Once Batman liberates several police officers and Freeze's suit, he takes the override chip required to stop Freeze's gun and heads to the Iceberg Lounge to confront Penguin. As Penguin is feigns defeat, he detonates explosives set around the base of the iceberg, causing it and Batman to crash into a chamber below. As Penguin remarks that he tried to help Batman by giving him the chance to just walk away, he wakes up Solomon Grundy in order to kill Batman once and for all. Against all odds, Batman emerges triumphant against the undead Grundy and finally defeats Penguin. When Batman talks to Mister Freeze about the development of a cure for the TITAN disease, he replies that there is no cure. Freeze elaborates that creating a cure was easy, but it degrades at a rate that renders it impossible to help its host; it requires a restorative enzyme that needs to be adapted to human DNA, which would take decades. Batman realizes that Rā's al Ghūl has been exposed to a suitable enzyme for centuries. As Freeze informs Batman that he needs a sample of Rā's' blood to complete the cure, a member of the League of Assassins breaks out of a display case and leaves a trail of blood as she makes her escape. Batman decides that he can follow the blood trail to find the assassin and locate Rā's.
Following the assassin's trail, Batman observes that Penguin's forces are in disarray, and Two-Face is poised to claim their territory. Undeterred, Batman follows the blood trail until it runs out. As he attempts to locate more evidence, he is attacked by the assassin, who quickly attempts to flee. Batman soon gives chase, and successfully plants a homing tracker on her. However, he is quickly knocked down by the assassin and is ambushed by several more. As they stand victorious, Robin appears and comes to Batman's aid, and the assassins leave after ordering Batman to cease following them. Robin offers to help Batman in Arkham City, though he is rejected, and Batman firmly states that he did not need his assistance. He gives Robin a sample of his poisoned blood for analysis, and to search hospitals and emergency rooms. Batman also says that anyone with the blood in them will be dead within twenty-four hours. Once Robin leaves, Batman continues to track the assassin through Arkham City and is eventually led to an entrance to the sewers running beneath the prison.
Batman continues to follow the assassin's signal through the sewers until he is led to the ruins of Old Gotham, when the effects of the TITAN disease begin to show. Batman collapses and suffers weak vision, but fights the illness and continues on. He discovers that Hugo Strange is providing Joker with weapons to fuel his army, but is unable to figure out why. As he ponders this, Oracle urges him to find the cure before he allows himself to be distracted. As Batman follows the signal into the ancient and mysterious Wonder City, the TITAN disease wears him down enough that he collapses near-dead and suffers a vision of his parents urging him into the afterlife. Resisting the urge to give up, Batman carries on, but his health has dropped to the point that he can barely move. Oracle informs him that he likely only has mere minutes left to live, and begs him to tell her what to do in the event of Batman's death. Batman shrugs off these thoughts with a defiant "I'll make it". Unable to continue, Batman falls to his knees and is once again ambushed by assassins, who prepare to execute them. Before they can do so, however, Talia al Ghūl orders them away. Batman claims to desire to take his place as Head of the Demon at Talia's side, and she allows him to take the Demon Trials to prove his worth. After completing these trials and becoming rejuvenated after drinking some of the Lazarus chemical, Batman is taken to meet Rā's al Ghūl himself. After refusing to kill his enemy, Batman reveals that he did not intend to become Rā's' heir, and only said so that he could retrieve a sample of his blood. Enraged, Rā's immerses himself in his Lazarus Pit and is restored to a more youthful form, so that he can do battle with the Dark Knight. However, Batman defeats Rā's and extracts some of his blood, and orders him to call off his crusade, as the Pit could be incredibly dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. With all he needs to have the cure developed and a few more precious hours of life, Batman heads back to Mister Freeze so that he can finish the cure.
Once Batman arrives back into Arkham City proper, Hugo Strange announces that Quincy Sharp, the mayor of Gotham and "failed warden of old Arkham Asylum" has been admitted to the prison. Strange then requests that he be given "the welcome he deserves", inviting the prisoners to find and kill him. Batman soon finds Sharp and rescues him from a group of prisoners, but immediately interrogates him. Being held upside-down over the edge of a building by Batman, Sharp reveals that Strange first approached him at the asylum with the plans for Arkham City. Strange said that he had powerful friends who could ensure that Sharp would become mayor and help develop the new prison. Sharp justifies his scheming by stating that the scum of Gotham needed to be punished, and remarks that Arkham City was meant to be his legacy. Disgusted, Batman reminds the mayor that Strange has been sending innocent people into the prison, and coldly instructs the mayor to enjoy his legacy. Finishing with the mayor, Batman travels to the GCPD building to finish the cure after being urged once again by Oracle.
Once Batman reaches the GCPD, he discovers that Joker's men have been trying to gain access to the building and take Mister Freeze's cure, as Joker believes that he and Batman have betrayed him. Once he get inside, Batman gives Freeze the sample of Rā's' blood, which allows him to finish the cure. Freeze is able to create two doses of the cure, and places one of them inside a safe. Taunting Batman, Freeze shatters the remaining vial of the cure, and demands that he rescue Nora. Once Batman ignores the command and tries to take the cure, Freeze attacks him. After a lengthy battle, Batman emerges triumphant and unlocks the safe to the cure. However, he finds that Harley Quinn had stolen the cure during the fight. Freeze remarks that he is unable to manufacture any more of the cure, but urges Batman to take it back. Batman is given advanced weaponry from Freeze in order to aid in reclaiming the cure, and promises Victor that he will find Nora. Batman then leaves the GCPD so that he can re-enter the steel mill and confront Joker.
As Batman exits the GCPD building, he is greeted by the sight of Vicki Vale's news helicopter. While Vale comments that her "mystery caller was correct", Joker fires a missile at the helicopter, causing it to spin out of control and crash in Arkham City. Batman finds the location of the crash site, and finds that Joker has dispatched snipers to assassinate the reporter. Once Batman dispatches the snipers and takes Vicki to safety, Joker contacts him and reveals that he arranged this event to guarantee that Harley had enough time to get back to the steel mill with the cure. Joker continues that he may save some of the cure for Batman, and relishes in the fact that he is now Batman's last hope for survival. Batman then makes his way to the steel mill so that he can finally be cured.
Infiltrating the steel mill, Batman learns that Joker has ingested the cure, and the morale of his army has increased greatly. They are planning to conquer Arkham City and then lay siege to all of Gotham. Batman eventually reaches the Joker once again, who does not appear to be cured and healthy as previously thought, and demands to be given the cure. As Joker rebukes his enemy for his lack of manners, he turns around and faces Batman, and is miraculously healthy and restored to his natural appearance. Joker then challenges Batman to a one-on-one fight, but is swiftly defeated. Rather than admit defeat, Joker summons a large amount of his thugs, including a henchman enhanced with TITAN, to help him. However, not even this is enough and Joker is once again the only one left with Batman. Before Batman can act further, the room begins to collapse and he is pinned to the floor by a large piece of rubble. Joker prepares to execute the Dark Knight, but is stopped by Talia. Talia offers Joker the Lazarus Pit and immortality in exchange for Batman's life. Joker is initially skeptical, but when Batman urges Talia otherwise, he realizes that it is a genuine offer. As Joker accepts Talia's offer, Batman once again tells Talia to stop. After Joker delivers a strong kick to Batman that slowly sends him unconscious, Talia activates the tracker placed on her assassin hours prior so that Batman can locate her. As Joker and Talia leave, Batman drifts into unconsciousness.
Batman is eventually freed from the rubble by Catwoman and discovers that Protocol 10 has begun. Hugo Strange is launching missile strikes from Wonder Tower and dispatching TYGER guards with helicopters to destroy key targets in the prison and kill every single inmate of Arkham City. Batman at first decides that his first priority is to rescue Talia from Joker, but his tracker will not activate. When he asks Oracle to reroute WayneTech satellites to boost the signal, she refuses, as he needs to help stop Strange from annihilating the prisoners. Alfred also refuses to allow Batman to ignore Protocol 10, and convinces him that "one life is worth sacrificing to save a thousand". Though Batman relents, he orders Oracle to keep Talia's signal, as he plans to rescue her once Protocol 10 is stopped. Batman deduces that he cannot access Wonder Tower without the access codes, which can be downloaded from a certain helicopter. Once Batman finds the helicopter and downloads the necessary codes, he heads to the processing chamber at the entrance to Arkham City where he was originally admitted to the facility. Once he arrives, Strange communicates Batman from the top of the tower. Strange taunts Batman over his impending victory, and proceeds to blame him for the excess of crime and supervillains in Gotham, citing the Joker as an example; Strange states that he would not exist were it not for Batman. The professor also remarks that he will soon take his place at his master's side, and that they will rule over the world, and sardonically thanks Batman for his help. After fighting several of Strange's guards, Batman enters the sewers so that he can access Wonder Tower via the foundations.
Batman makes his way back to the foundations of Wonder Tower via the collapsed streets of Old Gotham, and climbs his way to the observation deck. Once he reaches the top, Batman defeats Strange, and Oracle aborts Protocol 10 remotely. Despite his defeat, Strange is adamant that he cannot be stopped. As he makes a speech about he has achieved what Batman never could, and that he will be forever thanked by Gotham, Strange is suddenly stabbed in the back by Rā's, who is revealed to have been Strange's master and backer all along. Hugo came to Rā's with Batman's identity, and told him of his plan to annihilate all crime in Gotham. Rā's supported this plan, and provided Strange with all resources necessary for the Arkham City project. As Strange lies dying, Rā's brands him a failure, and rejects Batman's pleas to help save him. With his dying breath, Strange activates Protocol 11, which starts a countdown to destroy the observation deck in an explosion. Batman tackles Rā's out of the window shortly before the deck explodes, and the two briefly fight as they fall; Rā's attempts to kill Batman by plunging his sword through both of their bodies, but Batman sees this coming and sends Rā's plummeting down alone, before he crashes onto the Arkham City sign and is killed instantly. Once he lands safely, Batman is contacted by Joker, who threatens to kill Talia unless Batman attends a "show" that he has arranged. Activating the tracker, Batman discovers that they are located in the Monarch Theater, and hurries there before can Joker harm Talia.
Batman enters the theater and finds Joker holding Talia hostage. Batman asks to negotiate with Joker, though he is rejected, and Joker demands the cure. This confuses Batman, as Joker supposedly already has the cure. While Joker is distracted, Talia grabs her sword, immobilizes him, and thrusts the sword into his back, killing him. A shocked Batman tells Talia that she did not need to kill him, and that there is always a choice besides murder. Talia reveals that she took the cure from Harley Quinn after she stole it, and justifies her actions by stating that she had to save Batman. Batman is troubled by Joker's death, and suspects that something is not right. Batman recounts several details and discrepancies concerning Joker's activities, and concludes that there have somehow been two Jokers throughout the night. Batman calls out to warn Talia, but is cut short when she is shot in the back another Joker. As Talia dies, the cure slips out of her hand and rolls toward the dead Joker, and the second Joker reveals the truth: he is the real Joker, while the one who Batman has been dealing with was actually Clayface impersonating him. The Joker, who is still dying from the TITAN disease and looks far more sick than Clayface made him out to be, demands that Batman hand over the cure, but before he can do so, Clayface absorbs the cure into his body and reverts to his standard form before attacking Batman. Batman uses his Freeze Blasts to freeze Clayface in place and cuts him into pieces with Talia's sword. Watching the fight, Joker detonates bombs placed on the theater floor, which sends both Clayface and Batman plummeting down to the chamber containing Rā's al Ghūl's Lazarus Pit. Batman overcomes Clayface yet again, and retrieves the cure before ingesting a portion, saving him from death. Joker then prepares to immerse himself in the pit and attain immortality, but Batman destroys it, causing a terrific explosion that knocks him unconscious. Once Batman wakes up, Joker frantically calls out for the cure, and points out that no matter what he does to torment the city, Batman will always save him. Batman openly debates curing his foe, noting that no matter how many times he is stopped, Joker will just escape and continue creating chaos. But before Batman can reach a decision, Joker leaps out of the shadows and attacks him, causing him to drop the vial containing the cure to the floor, smashing it. Joker desperately tries to drink the cure from the floor, but he gives up and resigns to his fate. Batman admits that despite everything the Joker had done, he would have saved him. Joker begins to laugh at this, but his condition worsens and he falls onto his back wheezing and gasping for air, before finally dying with a smile on his face. Batman can only stare in silence at the body of his oldest foe.
As Joker's thugs amass outside the theater, chanting for their leader, Batman emerges with the Joker's body in arms, silencing everyone watching and leaving Harley Quinn distraught. Batman carries Joker's body through Arkham until he exits the main gate to find the GCPD and Gordon gathered outside. Gordon is shocked as Batman places Joker on the hood of a police car. As Gordon asks what has happened, Batman says nothing, and merely walks away in silence.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman and Hush
- Mark Hamill as the Joker
- Tara Strong as Harley Quinn
- Nolan North as the Penguin and Black Mask
- Tom Kane as Quincy Sharp
- David Kaye as James Gordon
- James Horan as Jack Ryder
- Wally Wingert as the Riddler
- Danny Jacobs as Victor Zsasz
- Fred Tatasciore as Bane and Solomon Grundy
- Tasia Valenza as Poison Ivy
- Grey DeLisle as Catwoman and Vicki Vale
- Troy Baker as Robin and Two-Face
- Martin Jarvis as Alfred Pennyworth
- Kimberly Brooks as Oracle
- Corey Burton as Hugo Strange
- Stana Katic as Talia al Ghūl
- Maurice LaMarche as Mister Freeze and Calendar Man
- Rick D. Wasserman as Clayface
- Dee Bradley Baker as Rā's al Ghūl
- Peter MacNicol as Mad Hatter
- Chris Cox as Deadshot
- Khary Payton as Azrael
- Steve Blum as Killer Croc
Rocksteady initially conceived ideas for a sequel before development of Arkham Asylum had finished, and developed ideas for the sequel's setting and story so that the two games could be narratively connected. The original idea was to take the game out of the asylum and onto the streets of Gotham while retaining the level of detail put into the asylum. To achieve this, Rocksteady wanted to include well-known locations from the Batman mythos that would be meaningful to Batman instead of a collection of generic streets.
Serious development of the game's story and concept began in February 2009, and teams were moved to Arkham City immediately after completing work on Arkham Asylum. By the time Rocksteady programmed Batman to dive and glide between buildings of the asylum, adapting to the gameplay of the city was considered natural. Rocksteady's key goal in developing the game was to deliver an authentic "Batman in Gotham" feeling.
As part of the "Batman in Gotham" philosophy, Batman's arsenal of gadgets and moves were greatly expanded. Although the team developed several ideas for new gadgets, moves, and abilities, they only went forward with those that felt were authentic to Batman. They also decided that players should start the game with access to almost all gadgets and abilities from Arkham Asylum, in order to create the feeling that Batman has been prepared for the inevitability of Arkham City going out of control. Rocksteady reviewed the systems used in Arkham Asylum and built new moves as an extension of the existing system. Rocksteady's goal was to develop these systems and add even more depth and gameplay instead of changing them fundamentally. To reflect the expansion of Batman's abilities, the amount animations was doubled from Arkham Asylum. Detective Mode was redesigned because Rocksteady felt that it was too useful in Arkham Asylum, which resulted in some players using it throughout most of the game. Its visual effect also obscured the game's art direction. One idea was to design a time limit for its use, but this seemed like a device that Batman would not make. Instead, it was decided that Detective Mode should be less useful in some aspects. For example, it obscures the background and navigational information.
Another way in which Rocksteady wished to enhance the experience was through the much larger game world. Arkham City's world is five times larger than that of Arkham Asylum, and the navigational element was improved in order to present players with "the freedom and exhilaration of gliding down alleyways and soaring above the skyline". Although the concepts were compared to that of an open world game, Sefton Hill noted that such freeform nature would not be appropriate for a Batman game because it would contradict the atmosphere they wanted to create, and that Arkham City was designed to challenge the player to think like Batman in order to survive. In order to counter the large game world, Rocksteady also sought to increase the amount of challenges whilst also keeping players aware of the primary objective. Riddler Trophies were designed near the end of the game's development and were scattered across every part of the map, resulting in well over a hundred trophies to be found in the game. Rocksteady's intention was to make the player think creatively on how to retrieve trophies rather than have them placed in obscure locations as collectibles.
Along with the larger and more open world, Rocksteady decided to include more villains in order to challenge Batman in original ways. Hugo Strange was selected to be the main antagonist, as his power and controlling manner help to enforce the the lockdown of Arkham City once Batman enters. Strange is aware of Batman's true identity, which leaves Batman vulnerable in a new way. Catwoman was chosen for inclusion in the game due to her long history with Batman, and she was given her own story that ran parallel with Batman's. Catwoman's storyline ended with her rescuing Batman, but during the later stages of development, the developers decided to create an alternate ending featuring Catwoman leave Arkham City with her loot and abandon Batman to his fate; this was implemented within two days. Robin, Batman's apprentice, also appears with a new design intended to move away from the traditional Boy Wonder image. Robin was designed to stay true to his image, while also match the tone of the grittier and darker game. Rocksteady did not originally intend to include Robin in the story, but later decided to in order to provide an authentic means of supplying Batman with equipment, as well as to introduce their version of the character and his relationship with Batman.
Rocksteady intended for all playable characters to offer different playing experiences. Other villains from Batman's rogues gallery were added to show that the prison is a melting pot for Gotham's criminals. The developers decided that providing a small portion of each villain's story rather than focusing on a select few would allow players to meet many more characters and conveyed the feeling of being in a super-prison filled with supervillains. The decision to have Joker die in the story was made early by Rocksteady, and developed the idea of him poisoning Batman with his own illness, in order to show how the two contrasting characters would interact in pursuit of a shared goal. Warner Bros. and Paul Dini were comfortable with the Joker dying, so long as it was not done for mere shock value, and it was made clear that Batman was not responsible.
Variety was added to the prison environment. Areas were designed and decorated around the villains in control of that territory. Rocksteady's goal was to help the player feel like they're making a physical transition into another emotional space. The architecture was intended to blend together a late 19th century Art Nouveau design with that of a modern hyperrealism. The hyperrealism is especially apparent in character designs. To keep environments fresh and engaging for the player, locations such as Mister Freeze's ice-themed area, Joker's fire-themed area, and Poison Ivy's jungle-themed area were populated with contrasting colors and elements in order to create clashing environments that would keep players entertained.
New purchases of the game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are provided with a unique code that unlocks the Catwoman DLC, enabling a series of missions for Catwoman, with unique weapons and moves. The Catwoman DLC also contains two alternate skins for the character: her appearances from Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Long Halloween. The Nightwing pack includes Batman's ally Nightwing as a playable character for the game's challenge maps, a Batman: The Animated Series alternative skin for the character, and two additional challenge maps: "Wayne Manor Armory" and "Wayne Manor Main Hall". The Robin pack contains the Robin pre-order content and includes two alternative skins: The Animated Series Robin and Red Robin. It also features two challenge maps: "Black Mask" and "Freight Train".
The Skins pack includes several different skins for Batman to wear, including: 1970s Batsuit, Year One Batman, The Dark Knight Returns, Earth One Batman, Batman Beyond Batman, Batman: The Animated Series Batman, and Sinestro Corps Batman. The Challenge Map pack includes various challenge maps: "The Batcave", and pre-order maps "The Joker's Carnival" and "Iceberg Lounge VIP Room".
Harley Quinn's Revenge, a story based campaign expansion, was released on May 29, 2012, for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, with a PC version following a week later. The campaign features a new story, new areas, new enemies, and both Batman and Robin as playable characters. The story takes place two weeks after the events of Arkham City. The mega prison has since been evacuated, but Quinn returns and sets up in Joker's former base. The game follows Robin's search for Batman, who has gone missing while hunting Quinn; Batman has been acting differently following the end of the main game story, concerning his allies.
- Main article: Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins was released in October 2013 worldwide and serves as a prequel. Arkham Origins was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal and is set several years before Arkham Asylum. The game follows a younger and less refined Batman on Christmas Eve as he fights against eight of the deadliest assassins in the world hired by Black Mask.
- Main article: Batman: Arkham Knight
Batman: Arkham Knight was announced in March 2014 as the sequel to Arkham City and the conclusion to the Batman: Arkham series. The game is being developed solely for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and is scheduled for release on June 2 2015.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Batman Arkham City interview: superhero development
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Batman: Arkham City Gotham on Lockdown (page 1)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Batman: Arkham City interview with Sefton Hill (archive)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Arkham Asylum art director talks mistakes
- ↑ Batman: Arkham City preview (page 2)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Why Did Batman: Arkham City Have 440 Trophies?
- ↑ Batman: Arkham City Gotham on Lockdown (page 2)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 'The ending was almost taboo' - Rocksteady looks back on Arkham City (page 2)
- ↑ Batman: Arkham City Artist Explains The Look Of Robin, New Art
- ↑ The Dark Knight Returns: Rocksteady riddles Arkham City
- ↑ GDC 2012: The Art and Design of Batman: Arkham City