Players in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate will be able to pick their path through the game in terms of boss fights, director Mark Pacini told Polygon.
According to Pacini, the game's final half hour is vastly different depending on which boss you fight and what items you receive. The idea is to encourage players to try the game several times; each time, players will receive different items that make a subsequent playthrough easier, Pacini said. Items such as suits will give players perks like invulnerability or buffed bullet resistance.
Interchangeable bosses provide an extra challenge for the developers, where big fights are often designed around a specific item. However, since players can have several different items at any point — depending on their path — a new solution was necessary.
"It's more akin to how Mega Man used to do it," Pacini said, "where if I get this item, then this boss is a lot easier."
Blackgate's narrative is kept cohesive by weaving together a lot of "micro-stories" within the overarching plot, Pacini added.
"If we didn't get those right, it wouldn't feel like Batman. It would just be a game starring Batman."
When crafting the handheld title, the developer had to be mindful of the amount of content it was capable of working with. According to Pacini, the team worried about "underscoping" it, which would mean that players wouldn't feel like they were traversing a world with enough space to use their abilities.
"That was the thing we were trying to avoid specifically because it was on a handheld," Pacini said. "We didn't want to make it overly complex as well because we are missing two buttons that the console games have that we don't. The challenge there was that we didn't want to make the game overly complicated by forcing things into the game that didn't necessarily need to be there."
Blackgate sacrifices those less than essential traits, such as moving and aiming at the same time, to avoid a cluttered, overly complicated experience. Instead, the team focuses on two core aspects: combat and stealth. Pacini said combat needed to "feel like Arkham combat," while stealth should make players feel like they're actually hunting.
"What we wanted to do was take the core of the Arkham games, the free flow combat and gadget use, and take that over but put it in a different context," Pacini said. "The ultimate goal will be when you play it, this feels like an Arkham game, but it's different."
"If we didn't get those right, it wouldn't feel like Batman," Pacini added. "It would just be a game starring Batman. It wouldn't be Arkham."