Batman is finding himself in Warner Bros. Games Montreal's Batman: Arkham Origins.
While the studio is building on the gameplay foundation laid by Rocksteady Studios (the developer of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City) for Arkham Origins, its story focuses on a younger, more arrogant Batman.
WB Games Montreal is telling a different type of origin story for the Dark Knight. It's not about Bruce Wayne turning into Batman; it's about the less experienced Batman becoming the self-assured Batman we know from the two previous Arkham games. That older, wiser Batman, in addition to fighting criminals with world-class combat skills and high-tech gadgets, can actually match wits with the arch-villains he faces.
"Our story is one of personal growth. It's one where the Batman at the start of our game is someone — he's used to being the best," said Eric Holmes, creative director at WB Games Montreal, in an interview with members of the media during New York Comic Con this weekend.
To this point in his crime-fighting career, Batman has been beating up on two-bit thugs with ease. He thinks nothing of them — underestimates them, in fact — so when they band together and bring in a team of assassins to take him down, it catches him by surprise.
"The challenge that he faces in Origins suddenly ramps up from a three out of 10 to a 12 out of 10," explained Holmes. "And so the approach that he's been using so far is not really something that's going to work anymore against characters like Deathstroke, right? These guys are peers, or in many cases, you could argue, even his superiors."
Batman is "used to being the best"
Having to deal with the assassins is a bit of a humbling experience for Batman.
"It's something he hasn't fully understood before, the challenge he faces," said Holmes. And coming to grips with this new class of villains is part of Batman's growth as, well, Batman.
As Holmes sees it, in the early part of Batman's career, he's still Bruce Wayne — a billionaire playboy who dons a cowland cape at night. Through the events of Arkham Origins, players will see the evolving relationship between Bruce Wayne and Batman.
"I think that having Batman in a very different place at the start of the game to the end, [with players] understanding his role and understanding more of how deep he'll have to dig to overcome the opposition he faces, I hope that'll be a satisfying story for players," said Holmes.
For gameplay impressions of Arkham Origins, check out our most recent hands-on preview.