Batman: Arkham City Cover Story

Posted on October 10, 2010

Game Informer magazine subscribers already know all about Batman: Arkham City, but we wanted to give some love to our online-only readers as well. Read the entire cover story right here! Be sure to check out loads of additional screenshots right here while you’re going through the story.

Diving into Darkness
Since the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum, warden Quincy Sharp has taken credit for Batman’s successful quelling of Joker’s uprising and used that momentum to win Gotham City’s mayoral election. The first of his broad-sweeping plans is to proclaim Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison unfit to house criminals. Sharp buys up a large swath of Gotham’s slums and walls it off, stocking the perimeter with highly trained armed mercenaries from an outfit named Tyger. All prisoners are transported to this new facility dubbed “Arkham City” approximately a year after the events at the asylum. They are given only one rule under threat of death: do not try to escape. No other policing takes place inside, leaving a mix of two-bit criminals and super villains to eke out an existence in this lawless, ruthless ecosystem.

Sharp brings in a mysterious psychiatrist named Hugo Strange to head the new Arkham. Hidden from the eyes of the public, Strange is rumored to be up to terrible things, but nothing can be proven. Anyone who investigates his past or Arkham itself seems to disappear, most likely within the walls of the prison city.


Only hardcore comic book fans will recognize the name of Arkham City’s new warden, Hugo Strange. This villain actually appeared in comics before the Joker, and has popped up intermittently throughout Batman history for the past 70 years. However, Rocksteady made it clear that this is the first time Batman has encountered Strange in the “Arkham-verse.” It’s impossible to know exactly what the developer has planned, but a character profile from the first game drops many enticing hints:First gaining fame as a psychiatrist who declared that he’d fully analyzed the Dark Knight from afar, Professor Hugo Strange lent credence to his own claims by deducing Batman’s true identity as Bruce Wayne. However, his interest in the Batman turned into a deranged obsession, and he’s used his medical expertise to hatch a series of bizarre plots based around genetics and mind control in order to defeat the Batman and possibly take his place. Strange’s fragile mental state has left him with intermittent knowledge of Batman’s true identity, a fact that hangs over Bruce Wayne’s head – for if Strange ever snaps completely, Batman’s greatest secret might be revealed…

Attributes »Trained to physical perfection »Brilliant psychological
analyst »Extensive knowledge of genetics »Obsessed with Batman and his secret identity »Plagued by schizophrenic episodes that leave him confused and dangerous.

Batman believes this is a ticking time bomb and has kept a watchful eye on Arkham City for months, looking for any excuse to break into the well-guarded prison. Recently admitted inmate Two-Face needs to gain respect and followers fast or risk being eaten alive by the other super villains on the inside. Both sides of his psyche agree that the best way to accomplish this is with a high-profile show of power: a public execution of Catwoman. Given their past, Batman has no choice but to enter this hellish domain to save her and uncover what’s really going on. With an all-new bag of tricks, he may just survive the night.

Following a Phenomenon
North London-based developer Rocksteady Studios is no stranger to staggering pressure. Despite the lofty expectations of millions of Batman devotees worldwide, this 70-plus person team proved that it’s possible to transform a seemingly cursed licensed game property into a masterpiece – and they made it look easy. The way the team naturally integrated Batman’s characters, combat, gadgets, and dark tone into a compelling gameplay formula made gamers wonder why no one had been able to do so before. This was all from a studio with only one game to its credit (2006’s Urban Chaos: Riot Response).

“I think there’s always pressure to make the best choice at any given moment,” says studio director Jamie Walker. “Obviously, we’re aware the fans want a great Batman game. I don’t think that’s any different from when we started the journey to where we are now.”

This time around, Rocksteady is excited to have a successful gameplay foundation to build upon rather than starting from scratch. But that doesn’t mean the studio is content to simply recycle the asylum environment and toss in a few new villains.

“We want to top everything that we did in the last game,” says Arkham City director Sefton Hill. “We didn’t want to do [an Arkham] 1.5. We want to make the same jump we made from nothing to Arkham. We want to make that same jump again for Arkham City – that same level of ambition.”

Go to Source (Game Informer)

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Categories: Game News, Game Secrets

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