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Batman: Arkham Knight trailer breakdown details story, dual-hero combat

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Batman: Arkham Knight developer Rocksteady Studios launched a new community-focused weekly video show today, "Batman: Arkham Insider," and the company kicked off the series by breaking down a recent trailer and offering new details on its contents.

The "All Who Follow You" trailer, which publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released last week and which you can watch below, introduced a gameplay element Rocksteady calls "Dual Play." The feature lets players switch freely between two superheroes — the possibilities include Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman — for certain fights in Arkham Knight.

"It's fantastic, because we're able to build these relationships not just in the cinematic sequences, but right through the gameplay, through every aspect of the game," said lead scriptwriter Martin Lancaster. Dual Play allows for some pretty cool combat techniques, explained senior animator Adam Vincent. You can start a beatdown with one character and then switch to another to deal with an impending threat; in that case, the AI will take over and complete the beatdown.

Ian Ball, lead designer on Arkham Knight, said that Batman also has new uses for his gadgets in combat — well, technically, prior to combat. You can fire Batarangs, freeze grenades, explosive gel and more while you're gliding down toward a group of thugs. Once you're in combat, you can "pre-aim" your Batclaw to yank the last standing enemy toward you for a clothesline.

Lancaster touched on two of the mysterious characters in Arkham Knight's story. Azrael, who last appeared at the end of 2011's Batman: Arkham City to prophesize that dark days were ahead for Batman, is a vigilante himself. "He sees himself as Gotham's new protector," said Lancaster. "It's really up to Batman, over the course of the story, to figure out whether this guy's friend or foe, whether [Azrael's] motives align with his own."

And of course, there's the titular Arkham Knight, an original creation of Rocksteady's. He's working under the direction of Scarecrow, whom Vincent described as the villains' "puppet master," but the Knight has "got his own agenda, he's got his own plans." The Arkham Knight leads his own army against Gotham, and with the way he mimics Batman's suit, said Lancaster, "There's obviously some kind of personal agenda to this."

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released June 23 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, alongside a $99.99 Premium Edition. Warner Bros. Interactive revealed more of the game's voice cast yesterday, including John Noble as Scarecrow.