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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Rocksteady answers your questions.

Batman: Arkham Asylum game director Sefton Hill has been answering your questions live on Eurogamer this afternoon.

He's talked about Batman's underpants, review scores, demos, downloadable content, bosses, villains and staying true to the revered comic-book licence.

Thank you very much to Sefton Hill for taking part, and to Eidos and Rocksteady for letting him. And thank you to all of you who asked questions.

The full transcript of the chat follows, with the earliest questions and answers presented first.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

Coverage

A% Super Moderating Hero: Hello, Eurogamer readers! Sefton Hill is with us now and ready to start taking questions. Let's begin...

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Hello Sefton Hill. Please can you tell our readers a bit about who you are and why you are so famous?

A% Sefton Hill: I'm the Game Director at Rocksteady Studios. I'm pretty sure I'm not famous!

Robert Purchese

Q%the_dudefather%17369% What was it like working with a IP like Batman, was there a lot of quality control from DC or did you get to have a lot of freedom with the characters?

A% Sefton Hill: It was great working with DC and Warner on Batman. I think very early on they realised that we are huge Batman fans and that we have a massive amount of love for this character. I was really surprised and honoured at the freedom they gave us to work on Batman.

Robert Purchese

Q%Britesparc%49182% Are there any aspects of the Bat-licence that make for frustrating gameplay, or are limiting in some way? Perhaps the inability to use firearms or kill people?

A% Sefton Hill: I think this all depends on how you approach it. It certainly means you have to move a little away from some gaming conventions but overall I think that challenges us as designers to do something new and different. It certainly meant that we had to discuss everything more to ensure that it was true to Batman and I think that had a really positive effect on the overall game.

Robert Purchese

Q%darkmorgado%316985% How did you decide which villains to include? Are they personal favourites or simply the most popular characters? And are there references to Batman's comic history throughout?

A% Sefton Hill: This was definitely a difficult choice. Something incredible about Batman is that, not only is he an amazing character, but he has undoubtedly the best array of antagonists of any comic book hero. Choosing which ones to include was difficult! However we decided that every character really needed to earn their place in the game and the story to be included.

That was always what it came back to...

A% Super Moderating Hero: (What elements of Adam West's Batman are included, Sefton Hill? Can we POW! people and THWACK! them senseless?)

A% Sefton Hill: And of course you can properly POW! and THWACK! people - a little bit harder than Adam West got to.

Robert Purchese

Q%SammiiDoogles%348656% Are there any other Villains who we will get to fight as bosses that haven't been revealed yet?

A% Sefton Hill: With the announcement of Scarecrow, the main villains in the game have now been revealed, but we're not really giving away too much about how you'll get to fight them. We've spent a lot of time creating boss fights which we feel are unique and represent the character themselves as opposed to creating generic boss fights. And I can also assure you that they'll be no QTEs!

A% Super Moderating Hero: Ooh can you give us a clue, Sefton Hill, can you?

A% Sefton Hill: I'm not allowed!

Robert Purchese

Q%beachballin247%348662% A lot of people previews have admitted to a boss battle before the Bane fight, but have deleted this boss' name. Any chance at a reveal of who that boss is?

A% Sefton Hill: Ha ha ha... no chance!!! Sorry, but we've really tried to keep the story secret as we've worked so hard on it and we feel that an original gripping story is so important to making a true Batman experience.

Robert Purchese

Q%Shinomo%147965% Touching more on MZ's question. There is an "Arkham Asylum" comic book that delves very deeply into Batman's mind (courtesy of the Joker and the psychiatrist he has held hostage) and makes him question his own sanity and -therefore- whether or not he should be in Arkham along with all of the people he has put in there himself. Should he be? Is this sort of material touched on?

A% Sefton Hill: This psychological aspect of Batman's character is something that really resonated with us and this is definitely something that you get to experience in the game. The psychological torment and drive are what keeps him going when any normal man would have stopped. However, just to be clear, Batman is not insane! [But does he wear rubber underpants we wonder? - SMH]

Robert Purchese

Q%henza%205606% Why is everyone so buff in the game? Even the doctors look like they've been drinking four litres of Nourishment a day! Batman is pumped!

A% Sefton Hill: Ha! We wanted to give a true representation of Batman from the comics. Here is a guy who has trained tirelessly to reach physical perfection. He is pumped and ready for action. Joker's thugs are on at least four litres of nourishment trying to keep up with him.

Robert Purchese

Q%skinnyguns%348667% Carrying on from your answer to Shinomo's question - do you think in the 21st century it is still necessary for Batman to wear underpants on the outside?!

A% Sefton Hill: No one tells Batman what to do. He can wear his underpants wherever he likes. Unless you want to tell him different!

Robert Purchese

Q%SammiiDoogles%348656% When's the demo coming? And what sort of demo will it be?

A% Sefton Hill: It's coming soon and it's going to be a really good demo! Unfortunately I can't say more than that but there will be more info released very shortly. Sorry!

A% Super Moderating Hero: What makes it a really good demo? Is it particularly lengthy? Contain some particularly exciting content? Include rubber Bat-pants?

A% Sefton Hill: Unfortunately my rubber Bat-pants idea got vetoed so you'll just have to make do with a demo that shows off some of the key elements of the game.

Robert Purchese

Q%Yossarian%12086% How closely involved was Paul Dini? Did he just fire a script over, or was it more of an ongoing collaboration? And has he done any work at the micro level, writing dialogue for individual scenes and so on?

A% Sefton Hill: Paul Dini worked very closely with us on the project and added a huge amount as there is literally no one who knows Batman like Paul. He came over right at the start and worked with us here at Rocksteady for a week developing the story. After this it has been an ongoing collaboration working on all the scripts with our Lead Narrative Designer, as well as attending the VO sessions...

...so VERY closely!

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Has Eidos' high expectations on review scores had any impact on you?

A% Sefton Hill: Our drive has always been to make a game that we are passionate about. We believe this is how you make a game that other people enjoy as well so I would say the biggest pressure comes from us. From everyone who has actually got their hands on the code we have had nothing but amazing feedback which is great to hear.

Robert Purchese

Q%darkmorgado%316985% How long does the main single-player campaign take to complete on average, and are there any incentives such as collectibles to reward exploration or additional playthroughs? Can you give us an example of them? Will Batman have a whole wardrobe of costumes to choose from by the end?

A% Sefton Hill: Depending on your skill level it can vary but I would say you're looking at around 12-15 hours. On top of this there are 240 Riddler secrets in the game to collect. Solving these gives you more XP which you can use to upgrade. You can then use these upgrades in the main game as well as the Challenge maps so it pays to try and solve them. Upgrades include controllable Batarangs as well as new combat moves.

A% Super Moderating Hero: Do you have a real-life Batman costume, Sefton Hill? How tight is it?

A% Sefton Hill: I'm wearing my Harley Quinn outfit now. It looks great but to be honest it's chaffing a little.

Robert Purchese

Q%TruWari3r%70429% Will the Xbox 360 version get any exclusive content like the PS3 version got the Joker?

A% Sefton Hill: There are no plans for exclusive content for the 360 version. Sorry!

A% Super Moderating Hero: Why is that, Sefton Hill? And will The Joker ever make his way to 360?

A% Sefton Hill: All I can say is the PS3 version has the exclusive playable Joker and there are no plans for exclusive content for any other platform.

Robert Purchese

Q%Monkey_Chops%23188% Any chance of co-op add-on where we could play as Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl or Bat-Mite? Go on say yes!

A% Sefton Hill: Lots of exciting ideas there! Unforuntely there are no plans for co-op. Sorry! But rest assured the time we didn't spend on co-op all went into making Batman as good as he can possibly be!

Robert Purchese

Q%Britesparc%49182% Come one, let's all be honest: the only people who don't like Robin are people who are embarrassed at reading a comic book and want to legitimise it in some way by saying it's "realistic" and "for adults". Batman needs Robin the same way Holmes needs Watson, and the two characters are inseparable, thematically speaking.

A% Sefton Hill: I love Robin! Time-wise Arkham Asylum pre-dates Robin but a lot of people who don't read the comics don't know how cool Robin can be so I'm with you on this one.

Robert Purchese

Q%darkknight2805%348648% What was like to work Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill? did they have any opinions on game? Is Mark Hamill still a little upset that Harrison Ford upstaged him in Star Wars?

A% Sefton Hill: Working with Kevin and Mark was amazing. We knew from day one that we wanted them. Mark delivers an awesome performance as the Joker. He's a deadly sociopath while being extremely charismatic and funny. It's a really enjoyable combination! We actually went away and wrote a tonne of new lines for Mark after the first session because his performance was so good.

Robert Purchese

Q%darkmorgado%316985% I know the game hasn't been released yet, but have you got any plans for a sequel or any idea where you would take the story? Gotham City is an amazing setting.

A% Sefton Hill: There are loads more stories we'd love to tell and lots of amazing places to go in the Batman universe! We've had tremendous feedback from the press so now it's for the Batman fans to let us know what they think of the game when it comes out. I can't comment on what Rocksteady are doing next but I can tell you that the team have got some great ideas for the future.

Robert Purchese

Q%Britesparc%49182% Warner and DC must be confident in your ability now. Are there any other superhero properties you'd like to get your rubber-gloved hands on?

A% Sefton Hill: Hmm... that's a difficult one because there are so many good choices! I've changed my mind twenty times just thinking about it. A game based around a supervillain would be cool!

A% Super Moderating Hero: Like who? Go on, name one!

A% Sefton Hill: Can't you see I was trying to avoid naming one?!

A% Super Moderating Hero: Who's your favourite?

A% Sefton Hill: I'm a big Bane fan!

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Time for one more question...

Robert Purchese

Q%Drazlol%348651% Any news regarding Eidos, Rocksteady and composer Ron Fish releasing a soundtrack for the game? Since it apparently got removed from the Collector's edition, a lot of people have groaned for it! Groan is probably the right word.

A% Sefton Hill: I don't have any news but they really should. I know there's been a lot of praise (rightly) for the amazing artwork that Dave Hego (Art Director) and his team have done but the score by Nick Arundel and Ron Fish is every bit as good. Just wait until you hear it.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: And that's it. There isn't even time to ask whether Sefton Hill would prefer lasers for eyes or the ability to turn invisible.

Thank you very much to Sefton Hill for taking part, and to Eidos and Rocksteady for loaning him for an hour.

A% Sefton Hill: Thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoy the game!

Robert Purchese

Q%MZ%253687% How closely does the game tie-in with the Batman universe? Is it based on a particular comic? Will there be any new lore to uncover?

A% Sefton Hill: Very closely! We have the utmost respect for Batman and we wanted to make sure that everything we do is true to the Batman universe. However we are not tied into a particular story or comic. We have been able to draw from Batman's 70 year history to create our own unique story especially for this game.

Robert Purchese

Q%darkmorgado%316985% Have you got plans for DLC beyond additional Challenge Rooms like single-player chapters similar to what has been released for Gears of War? And will any of the announced DLC eventually be available on all platforms?

A% Sefton Hill: We have some cool stuff coming in the DLC but I'm afraid I'm not allowed to talk about it. Sorry!

A% Super Moderating Hero: Can you give us a cheeky example? Will it be Challenge Rooms or something else?

A% Sefton Hill: Sorry! I am sworn to secrecy.

Robert Purchese

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About the Author
Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is a long-time writer and now podcaster for Eurogamer. He loves telling a story and listening to them.

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