Warner Bros. Montreal has admitted facing "resistance and reluctance" at "every level" when it began work on Batman Arkham Origins, the first title in the Arkham franchise not designed by its British creators, Rocksteady.
The game's senior producer Ben Mattes told Eurogamer that WB Montreal had experienced "hesitation" from within the company, as well as a fair amount of scepticism from fans.
"Obviously resistance and reluctance exists at every level," he explained. "There were fans who said: 'They're not Rocksteady, they can't make an Arkham game.' And there were concerns within the organisation that we weren't going to be able to deliver the special sauce of a Rocksteady game.
"And there were concerns within our team, like - 'Maybe we've bitten off more than we can chew? Are we sure we're able to dance with these guys? Do we deserve to be in this same hallowed ground?' - but we wouldn't have continued through the years if we didn't feel we had a shot," he added. "I'm really proud of what we've done."
The majority of this hesitation has now evaporated, Mattes continued, as a natural effect of WB Montreal showing more and more of the game. But at its unveiling, Mattes recalled what he described as maybe a "a 60-40 split of positivity to hesitation or maybe outright dismay" from Arkham fans.
"Y'know: 'It's not Rocksteady. It's a prequel. It's not the original voice actors. Forget it. Ignore. Never paying attention to it,'" he remembered.
"Usually you put on a happy face and say the right things because that's where you are."Ben Mattes, Batman Arkham Origins senior producer
"But I think every subsequent piece of code we've shown has won over more and more of the public, to the point where it now stands out as an exception if we see someone who's still towing that line of: 'It's not Rocksteady, it's not going to be good.' There's only, like, one in a 1000 it seems now still playing that card."
The pressure of having to live up to Rocksteady's past work may have even helped the game, he added, and pushed WB Montreal to deliver a finished product worthy of the series.
"You don't want to be the guys who messed up and ran into the ground one of the absolute, top-rated franchises of all time. You don't want that at the top of your CV. 'Yeah, I'm the guy who turned a 96 into a 60, that's my claim to fame.' So I think there was an extra desire to create something really great as we were fully aware of the opportunity that we had."
With the game due out tomorrow, Mattes concluded he was satisfied with how the project turned out.
"Usually you put on a happy face and say the right things because that's where you are. But secretly you're thinking, 'God, if only they'd given us six more months.' But, honestly, this game we've created is the game we set out to create. It is exactly the story we wanted to tell with exactly the areas of focus we aimed to do.
"And resistance... it was probably more hesitation than resistance. It was never: 'Over my dead body are you guys making an Arkham game!' It was always hedging bets, cautiously optimistic, a healthy amount of hesitation. And that's the right attitude. I think everyone ought to have that attitude. If we'd come in saying: 'Rock-who? Eff those guys man, we'll show you how it's done,' we wouldn't have gotten here."
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