Rocksteady have released some more superb screenshots of Batman: Arkham City, showing the Dark Knight taking on a wide variety of uglified goons. it’s good to see Bats back in action after the recent rush of Catwoman information.
Batman’s a bit of an odd case, even as far as videogame characters are concerned. I mean, aside from the tight-fitting latex suit and bat fixation (or should I say Bat-bat fixation), he doesn’t kill anyone. Ever. Oh, sure, occasionally he’ll twist people’s arms for info by breaking their legs, but when it’s all said and done, Batman’s enemies come away relatively unscathed.
Of course, when distilled into videogame form, this strict moral code results in a number of strange, oftentimes chuckle-worthy discontinuities. “So let me get this straight: I hit him with a barrage of pointy metal projectiles, stuck him with a grappling hook and reeled him in Scorpion-style, and then proceeded to jump up and down on his chest like it was a trampoline? And his heart rate sits at… something above zero?!” Doesn’t make much sense, does it? And here I was, all ready to talk about suspension of disbelief and how games still have a long way to go before they create truly believable experiences when I realized something:
At least Batman – a purported “good guy” – doesn’t wantonly murder thousands of people like, you know, every videogame character ever. The rest is after the break!
Getting your sticky fingers on a pirated copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum may not land you in its titular super-powered jailhouse, but make no mistake, thieves and ne’er do wells, there will be consequences. See, one pirate – who apparently forgot to steal himself a brain -- tried to contact developer Rocksteady with a game-related query. Problem: he posed his question roughly a week before the game’s PC launch date.
“When I…jump from one platform to another, Batman tries to open his wings again and again instead of gliding,” the user wrote, detailing Batman’s repeated plunges into Arkham’s poisonous underbelly.
“The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free,” replied Rocksteady’s community manager. “It’s not a bug in the game’s code, it’s a bug in your moral code.”
We’re not saying anything. We’ll just let that sink in.
Videogames have taken us everywhere. Space, the Wild West, the Oregon Trail, the future, heaven, hell, purgatory (Ever played Big Rigs? Yeah), World War II, the apocalypse, the post-apocalypse, and World War II again. You name it, and gamers have probably been there, done that, and gone to Hot Topic to pick up the T-shirt. So, what’s left? Where are we to boldly go without even a walkthrough to guide us? Well, if you’re I’m asking me, I’d say we should forget the rest of our well-trod universe and try picking our own brains. Yep, it’s time for a bit of good old-fashioned psychology.
At this point, I imagine many of you are remembering simpler times, when tales of Rorschach inkblot tests, salivating dogs, and men who loved their mothers lulled you to sleep in your public educational institution of choice. And a few of you might be thinking of Psychonauts – to which I say “good!” We’ll get to that in a little while.
Anyway, games obviously aren’t the domain of stuffy old guys with fancy degrees and fancier couches. However, that doesn’t mean some of the more universal psychological themes can’t find their way into videogames. Case in point: Batman: Arkham Asylum.
While Arkham may be known foremost as the only Gotham prison less effective than a wet paper bag, it is – in actuality – more of a correctional institution than anything else. The game, then, portrays Arkham’s staff members as hard-working ladies and gents who are trying their darndest to crack classic nutcases like the Joker, the Riddler, Scarecrow, and Killer Croc. The player, as Batman, stumbles upon evidence of these correctional interactions in the form of taped interviews focusing on different villains.
Batman: Arkham Asylum’s PC edition may have overslept and missed its bat signal, but its DLC won’t be making the same mistake. The PC DLC – which is going for the positively batty price of free-99 – is launching day-and-date with consoles on September 17. That’s two days after Arkham Asylum skulks onto the PC.
Unfortunately, in true Batman style, the DLC’s content is still shrouded in mystery. The game itself is quite good, though, so we’re thinking the DLC will be pretty alright as well.
So, who’s picking up Batman next week? You should. It’s BioShock with a crazy guy in a bat suit, doncha’ know.
Jingle bells, Batman smells, and PC gamers never get their way. Console gamers sure do, though. See, Batman’s swinging onto consoles just in the nick of time, but for some reason, he’s decided that PC gamers need to fend for themselves for a couple more weeks. The end result: PC gamers get Batman: Arkham Asylum on September 15, while everyone else steps up to bat (“Booooo! You suck!”) on August 25.
If it’s any consolation, the game’s set to support Nvidia’s PhysX tech, which will be right at home alongside Batman’s increasingly proprietary Bat-gadget arsenal.
“Supporting NVIDIA PhysX technology has allowed us to add that little bit extra to the PC version of the game,” said Sefton Hill, Game Director at Rocksteady Studios. “As Batman interacts with the world, the aging asylum creates a more immersive, believable world which really draws the player in.”
There’s a demo out if you’d like something to wash down the bitter taste of waiting. Some running around in a bat suit and clobbering people is better than none, right? Sadly, WHAMs, POWs, BIFFs, and Adam West aren’t included. But then, nothing’s perfect.
Ever have one of those moments where you said something completely inappropriate – like, say, any number of four letter words – while strolling through a locale where things like that just don’t fly – like, say, your kindergartener’s bring-your-parent-to-class day or a nun convention? You know how it is; seas of chit-chat part, as though diving out of the way of the approaching eighteen-wheeler that is the crushing realization that you just screwed up big-time.
Electronic Arts recently found itself caught in the sizzling headlights of a similar situation. In promoting upcoming hack ‘n’ slash ‘n’ totally ignore the source material Dante’s Inferno, EA thought it might be fun for gamers to take pictures of themselves performing “acts of lust” with its already swamped staff of Comic Con booth babes. The winner of this competition would then get a night on the town with said babes, and some other odds and ends. Yeah. Predictably, the entire gaming community immediately ceased to jabber about other topics, crossed its collective arms, and sent a damning glare in EA’s direction. “Oh, haha, we didn’t mean it like that,” EA essentially said in reply, backpedaling. But obviously, that didn’t undo the damage that’d already been done.
Clearly, EA – in this situation – had its audience pegged incorrectly. Despite our apparent love of some of life’s baser aspects (shooting, explosions, and John Madden, for instance), gamers don’t take too kindly to blatant misogyny. Big whoop, though, right? In many gamers’ eyes, this is just another dark mark on a record already stained by countless instances of greed and sloth. Throwing in lust just rounds out the roster, right? It’s EA, after all. And as we all know from previous experiences, stereotypes and generalizations are always right.