Rocksteady reveals Batman: Arkham Knight in detail

"We wanted to make the best car in any game ever."

The aim when making the Batmobile for Arkham Knight was "to make the best car in any game ever", Sefton Hill, game director at developer Rocksteady, told GameInformer magazine.

The car alone takes 160MB memory, or thereabouts, art director David Hego added. "It will fit just about in an Xbox 360 if [that was the whole] game. It's very next-gen."

It's the only vehicle Batman will use in Arkham Knight but it's as integral to the experience as Batman's cape. Burnouts, jumps, boosts, circle rotation - the Batmobile can do it all. Its bulletproof armour even lets it smash through barricades, trees and, swoon, building corners.

"Basically ... nothing stops the Batmobile"

Sefton Hill

"Basically ... nothing stops the Batmobile," said Sefton Hill. "It's pretty much an unstoppable force."

The car can be summoned to Batman quickly at a button press, and he can eject out at high-speed, zooming up into a glide while the car brings itself to a halt. Quickly in, quickly out.

"When you think Batman, you do think Batmobile," added Hill. "It's the one key thing that we've really felt that we always wanted to do."

No multiplayer

Arkham Knight won't have any multiplayer. "This is a single-player game," stated Hill. "There is no multiplayer.

"We don't have the time to do multiplayer. We want to focus on making the best single-player experience we can. We don't feel that it needs a multiplayer element. Warner Bros. backed that up right at the start."

Actor Kevin Conroy returns

Kevin Conroy - for many people, the voice of Batman - returns for Arkham Knight, after being replaced in Batman: Arkham Origins (not made by Rocksteady) by Roger Craig Smith.

Actor Nolan North will play Penguin, Wally Wingert will play Riddler, Tara Strong Charley will play Harley Quinn and Troy Baker will play Two-Face.

A new arch-villain

A completely new villain, built from scratch by DC and Rocksteady, will hound Batman in Arkham Knight - hence the ominous name.

He (presumably a he) looks similar to Batman, judging by his silhouette, although he's missing a cape.

"We wanted to introduce someone who could really challenge Batman, to go head-to-head with him in lots of different ways," said Sefton Hill. "... this guy is definitely a formidable foe for Batman."

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

"It's not a challenge moving to next-gen: the real challenge is making sure you're getting the best out of the machines," said Hill.

"Obviously you see a lot of games that are cross-gen and they feel a bit reined in because of that.

"Because we were able to make that decision quite early, we were able to be more ambitious with the design and make a real, genuine next-gen game."

"We were able to be more ambitious with the design and make a real, genuine next-gen game"

Hence the new open world of Gotham City, which will be split into three islands. It's five-times the size of Arkham City, apparently.

"We're not trying to create the biggest open-world game ever," Hill added. "We are trying to create a really rich, vibrant, dense open-world."

Characters in Arkham Knight are much more detailed, flexing textures and polygon counts three-to-four times higher than in Arkham City. "One character is as big as the polygon count of Arkham City - the whole environment," said lead character artist Albert Feliu.

Arkham Knight has three-to-four times the number of thugs active than in Arkham City, too, and crowds can number up to 50 people.

Apex cloth physics has been integrated for Batman's cape, among other things. He'll have a new suit, incidentally, with new toys and abilities, but won't access it until a little way into the game.

The other big improvement to Arkham Knight is no loading screens. "There is no feeling between outside and inside now," said Hill. "It's just one continuous experience."

Combat

Batman moves around the world more quickly. He can dive off buildings, plummet at terrifying speeds and then stiffen his cape and glide, using his grapple gun to swing around the city (or a zipwire as a make-shift perch).

Before he even gets to the floor he can take out multiple foes, firing Batarangs and landing with a kick. He can disarm enemies, turning their weapons against them, and smash heads and bodies into environmental hazards.

Throw-counters open enemies to even more damage, and Batman can perform quick ground strikes mid combat flow.

On top of that are fear take-downs that slow time, giving you a chance to quickly hide again.

In other words, Batman's more powerful than ever, although Rocksteady has been careful not to "overcomplicate" the signature combat of the series - "[its] strength is in its simplicity".

Story

Arkham Knight takes place a year after Arkham City. Crime is low (after that thing that happened), but criminals are working together now rather than warring.

The Scarecrow has found a new strain of fear toxin and has planted bombs containing it around the city. People are evacuated and Batman is sent in.

Arkham Knight will bring an end to Rocksteady's terrific Batman adventure, for now, and Sefton Hill wants to "close the trilogy with a bang".

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