Batman: Arkham City is the upcoming sequel to action-adventure stealth video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on DC Comics’ Batman, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Microsoft Windows. It is being developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game was officially announced during the beginning of the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards and is scheduled to be released worldwide the week of October 18, 2011.
Arkham City, like its predecessor, Arkham Asylum, is an open world action video game that incorporates elements of stealth and predator tactics. All of the gadgets previously obtained in the first game will be present at the start of Arkham City, most of them will be possessing improved or new capabilities; for example, the Cryptographic sequencer can also track signals. An additional gadget has been revealed: smoke bombs to confuse enemies. The game incorporates more puzzle elements; the use of Batman’s “Detective Mode”, which highlights elements such as enemy skeletons and clues on-screen, is used to perform forensic activities such as tracing the origin of a sniper round. The player also has access to a criminal database that tracks the major villains across the city and the forensic puzzles much like the first game. However, Rocksteady’s art director David Hego stated that the use of Detective Mode will be changed to an “augmented reality mode”, as they found players had completed Arkham Asylum using Detective Mode all of the time. Game Director Sefton Hill has also stated that detective mode will be used as a tool for identification more than navigation. Optional challenges from the Riddler to collect hidden trophies placed around the city will also be present, but it will require additional effort to locate these, such as interrogation of men loyal to the Riddler, and the use of nearly all of Batman’s gadgets to disable “traps” and barriers places around them. After so many trophies are found, you must go rescue a hostage that the Riddler has captured, and it will require you to disable death traps he has set for you.
The player controls Batman, making his way around Arkham City to complete mission objectives. In addition to the primary mission, the game introduces secondary missions featuring a number of key characters and their stories. The player can opt to move silently, avoiding inmates and other enemies using a combination of gadgets and to sneak up on enemies to take them down silently, using new tactics to surprise the enemy. At other times, Batman may be forced to fight through inmates using an improved version of the combat system from Arkham Asylum, allowing for multiple simultaneous counters, reactions to thrown objects, and the use of all of Batman’s gadgets within combat. Movement about the city is made difficult due to the formation of gangs and territory between rival villains, such as Two-Face and the Joker, that causes in-fighting that Batman needs to avoid.
Catwoman is also a playable character with her own heist-focused storyline at specific points in the game. Her combat is more acrobatics-oriented and features her claws, whip, and bolas. She has her own version of Detective Mode called “Thief vision” to locate items to steal.
The game’s main storyline lasts about 16 hours. And if you want to take down every villain the game lasts 25 hours. The game contains over 400 additional challenges.
The story for Arkham City takes place about one year after the events of Arkham Asylum. Quincy Sharp, former warden of Arkham Asylum, has taken credit for stopping the Joker, and used the notoriety to become mayor of Gotham City. As neither Arkham nor Blackgate Prison are in any condition to detain inmates, Sharp buys out a large section of Gotham’s slums and arms the perimeter with private military contractors from a group called Tyger in order to create “Arkham City”. The prisoners are brought into Arkham City and are given free rein, as long as they do not attempt escape. To oversee the city, Sharp hires psychiatrist Hugo Strange who appears to have his own secret agenda for the city. Batman maintains a vigil over the city, worried that the situation may get out of hand. Part of the setup for “Arkham City” was contained in plans in a hidden room in Sharp’s office in Arkham Asylum.
The events of the game are set in motion when Two-Face, seeking to gain notoriety among the inmates and other villains outside the city, devises a plan to publicly execute Catwoman. Batman decides for both the safety of Gotham and of his past relationship with Catwoman that he must stop the execution by entering Arkham City.
A teaser trailer was released that featured Joker being nursed by Harley Quinn from the effects of the Titan formula (and the explosive gel punch from Batman) while Gotham descends into chaos. The sequel was described by veteran Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy as “really, really dark”. While relating the game’s dark nature to the animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Conroy also said, “It involves a lot of the villains and it goes to that area – it’s that dark.”
The plot of the game involves Catwoman taking advantage of the chaos in Arkham City to take jewelry from the failed asylum of sorts.