Batman Arkham City is five times bigger

"A huge amount of navigational freedom."

Developer Rocksteady has revealed how the world of Batman: Arkham City will be a whopping five times bigger than Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Arkham City won't be an open-ended sandbox, game director Sefton Hill explained, but Rocksteady won't "hold your hand" either.

"The footprint of Arkham City is about five times bigger than Arkham Island, but our primary intention was never to create a bigger game world just for the sake of it," Hill explained to GameSpot.

"In Batman: Arkham Asylum, we really focused our effort on creating an intense, pressure-cooker atmosphere by locking Batman in the madhouse and allowing The Joker to turn up the heat. In Arkham City, we want to take that attitude to the next level, so we created an experience in which gamers will have a huge amount of navigational freedom, but they will also feel the extreme pressure of the challenges that they face.

"Players will be able to go anywhere at any time, but we have made sure that players will always have a very clear idea of where they are needed most if they want to just stick to the core narrative path of the game. Explore the streets of Arkham City and you will find many side missions, secrets and street brawls, so players won't find it difficult to get into some trouble if that's what they are looking for.

A "totally open" world wouldn't allow Hill to conjure the atmosphere he's after, he went on to say.

"Arkham City is its own place; a massive super-prison, jam-packed with super-villains, thugs and psychopaths. There aren't any rules, but it has a law of its own, and this is why it is a perfect setting for Batman. Gamers will have to think and act like the Dark Knight if they want to survive in a place like Arkham City," he said.

The events of Arkham City will take place a 18 months after those of Arkham Asylum, and there will be plenty of nods to the first game's storyline should you be a fan. Warden Quincy Sharp is now mayor of Gotham City and has expanded his Arkham Asylum into Arkham City. Hugo Strange is overseeing the City, which has barely any rules other than not to escape.

Batman villains Two-Face and the Joker will star, as will Catwoman, who'll be teaming up with the Dark Knight. New gadgets include the Bat Claw and a broadcast tracker.

Combat evolution means Bats, as he's affectionately known to me, can counter two people at once as well as counter projectiles. You can use gadgets in battle, too.

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