Batman: Arkham Asylum

Spotlight

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Batman: Return to Arkham

A dynamic duo of Unreal Engine 4 remasters?

Digital FoundryBatman Arkham Asylum PS3: 2D vs. TriOviz

Investigating TriOviz performance hit on PS3.

Digital FoundryBatman Arkham Asylum 360: 2D vs. TriOviz

How much does TriOviz 3D impact performance? Not much...

Digital FoundryBatman: Arkham Asylum OnLive vs. PC

Face-Off video plus OnLive video quality showcase.

Key events

Digital FoundryBatman: Return to Arkham has stealth PS4 Pro support

And it shows us how standard PS4 games could run with access to full Pro power.

Yesterday we talked about Overwatch's PlayStation 4 Pro patch, which only adds superficial improvements. Today, it's the turn of Batman: Return to Arkham - a game that boosts performance but nothing else. It's as if developer Virtuos simply pulled a switch to enable PS4 Pro's additional CPU and GPU power on its base title with little regard as to what would actually happen. The results are predictably variable and rather poor overall, but it may well address unfinished business from our PlayStation 4 Pro review - just what would happen if users had the ability to enable the full resources of the new hardware on existing PS4 titles?

Face-Off: Batman: Return to Arkham

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Batman: Return to Arkham

A dynamic duo of Unreal Engine 4 remasters?

At the very least, the Batman: Return to Arkham remasters are an interesting technical exercise, bringing the newer features of Unreal Engine 4 to two older classics - Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City. Each were originally built on a modified Unreal Engine 3, but developer Virtuos (best known for the Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD remaster) chooses to revamp its character models, overhaul its lighting, and add higher resolution effects across both. The visual changes are often striking - but sadly, glaring issues with performance can't be overlooked.

In the absence of a PC release, the brute force offered by a hardware upgrade can't address the struggling frame-rates. However it does create an interesting setup for a comparison, letting us pit these PlayStation 4 and Xbox One conversions against the original PC code running at max settings. It's worth stating right away that the Nvidia PhysX enhancements on PC remain locked to that platform, and neither console gets the physics-based smoke, particles and debris. But putting this aside, what are the key changes of this remaster?

First up there's the obvious: the character models. Much like Virtuos' work on Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD, the game's vibrant cast of heroes and villains are given facelifts to varying degrees. Such changes may irk those familiar with the original's stylistic direction; in some cases details are simply amplified, in others we get wholesale overhaul. A case in point: the Penguin gets a complete revamp of skin shaders across his face, adding more stubble in the remaster, and generally rearranging all scarring detail on his forehead. Even his monocle is given a crisper glass material, now uncomfortably crammed into his eye socket. It's one of the most striking changes in the game - but better? It's up for debate.

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With the release of Batman: Return to Arkham bringing Rocksteady's first two Batman games to PS4 and Xbox One, we felt it might be time to take a look back and get a sense of the studio's achievements with these wonderful superhero adventures.

Breaking up with Batman

Rocksteady talks VR and its future away from the Arkhamverse.

Rocksteady Games, creator of the Batman Arkhamverse, is here at EGX to show off Batman VR - a brand new Batman Arkham experience made after the studio said they were definitely done with Batman.

Batman: Return to Arkham out this October

New video offers PS3 / PS4 comparison.

Batman: Return to Arkham, the remaster of Rocksteady's excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum and its open world follow-up Batman: Arkham City, comes out on 21st October 2016, Warner has announced.

Peek at the cancelled Batman The Dark Knight game

Early game footage of the cancelled Dark Knight movie tie-in has come to light, courtesy of Unseen64.

The game was originally due to launch alongside Christopher Nolan's critically-acclaimed film in June 2008, although the only public mention of its existence came when Jim Gordon actor Gary Oldman revealed in an interview he had contributed to the project.

Behind the scenes, Star Wars: Battlefront developer Pandemic was having trouble sticking to its schedule. Matters were complicated further when the studio was acquired by EA.

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Warner says a new Batman Arkham game will be out this year

Could this be the Silver Age Asylum prequel Rocksteady has been working on?

Turns out Warner did have something to say about games in its financial splurge last week. It was news that a new game in the Batman Arkham franchise - the excellent series made by Rocksteady - will be released this year.

Cheap This Week - 27/07/11

DNF! Old Republic! Arkham Asylum!

It's Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing: I'm back with yet another selection of the finest discount gaming offers to tempt your wallet with. Throughout the week you can keep your finger on the pulse of cut price gaming by checking SavyGamer.co.uk. Read on to find out what's cheap this week.

Saturday Soapbox: Loathing the Enemy

Tom's surprised that gaming's henchmen still fall below par.

Pretty much since I was a child, video games have been full of jerks. Donkey Kong? What a prick. Super Mario Kart? Full of jerks. I wasn't that familiar with the expression "climb a wall of dicks" when I was 10 years old, but if I had been then I would have directed it in Princess Peach's direction almost as often as I burst into tears because she pipped me to the line on Rainbow Road.

Is PEGI too tough?

The ratings game.

Later this year PEGI will become the legally enforceable ratings body for games in the UK, completely replacing the BBFC. Wherever creative content is legislated in this way, friction is inevitable. And almost always, controversy arises because a rating is seen to be making it too easy for inappropriate material to reach the jam-stained fingers of our innocent children.

Uncharted 2 dominates BAFTA Awards

Batman: Arkham Asylum wins Best Game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum shocked the BAFTA Video Game Award 2010 audience by winning Best Game - a trophy expected to fall to Uncharted 2. The Rocksteady-developed superhero game also took Best Gameplay.

Arkham Asylum GOTY with 3D option

Out this month, works on normal TVs.

Square Enix has announced plans to release a special Game of the Year Edition of Batman: Arkham Asylum this month, complete with a 3D viewing option that works on regular TVs.

If you'd told me in January that my favourite game of the year would be Batman, I would probably have scoffed in your face. Scoffed. If you'd told me that the game in question wouldn't just be a great superhero game, but simply a great game, I might have even ROFLed with a side order of LMAO. Superhero games, particularly those drawn from the DC Comics properties, just aren't supposed to reach thsse giddy heights.

More free Batman DLC tomorrow

Update: Appears to be on Live today.

Eidos has announced plans to release another free downloadable map pack for Batman: Arkham Asylum on 24th September.

Face-Off: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Face-Off: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Holy anti-aliasing.

Some might say we're late to the party with the face-off coverage of Batman: Arkham Asylum, but we've got two very good reasons to explain the delay. First up, our demo showdown did a fairly effective job of discerning the key talking points with the console versions. Secondly, developer Rocksteady has put a great deal of effort into the PC build and we wanted to cover that in-depth too. Since Eidos wouldn't supply PC or indeed PS3 code, we ended up buying them, which meant waiting for the official release like everyone else.

In many respects Arkham Asylum is a perfect convergence of technology, art and design. While some developers have managed to break free of its stylistic shackles Rocksteady has instead embraced the core look of the Unreal Engine 3 technology, with a hardcore-pleasing rendering of Batman and his world that looks fantastic. On a similar theme, the gothic renderings of Arkham Asylum often have echoes of some of the architecture seen in Epic's own games featuring UE3 technology.

Combine this with a game design that truly reflects the character of the Dark Knight, the key voice actors from the animated series plus a great story from Paul Dini, and it's pretty easy to see why Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the best games of the year.

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Free Batman DLC dated, detailed

Insane Night maps for Thursday.

Eidos has dated and detailed the Insane Night Map Pack for Batman: Arkham Asylum, following an announcement-spoil by the in-game news ticker last week.

NPD: PS3 and 360 on equal footing

As DS and Madden romp results.

August NPD figures show cheapened consoles selling well, outrageously, as Xbox 360 and PS3 finish almost neck-and-neck with 215,000 and 210,000 units sold in the US.

UK chart: Batman wings again

As PS3 Slim launch shakes list.

Batman: Arkham Asylum leads the UK All-Formats charts, finishing ahead of Wii Sports Resort for a second consecutive week.

UK charts: Batman straight in at the top

Eidos' knight in shiny armour beats Lara.

Batman: Arkham Asylum has swooped to the top of the UK all-formats chart, providing Eidos with a champion bigger than both Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.

PSN update: Smash Cars, Battle Tanks

PSN update: Smash Cars, Battle Tanks

Plus Buzz! Home space and loads of DLC.

The PS3 Store refresher boasts new games, demos and DLC aplenty, while PlayStation Home opens a new Events Space for Buzz!

Get questions right and a tomato will be lobbed at a rotating Buzz statue. Get 10 questions right in a row and you will unlock a tomato head to put on your Home avatar.

Smash Cars and Battle Tanks are the low-key PSN additions, although their price - 12 and 8 respectively - is steep. Conversely, Crash Commando has had a price-cut to promote new content added today.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Character goes a long way. Developers know this, which is why most games based on existing characters are, at best, adequate in their construction. Ghostbusters, for example. It's a rather ordinary corridor shooter, really. Dress it up in a funny script, get a beloved movie cast back together and throw in Slimer and Marshmallow Man, and suddenly you've got something that fans will embrace regardless of the pedestrian construction. The litmus test for any licensed game is to strip away all the fan service and see if we'd still be as interested.

Within the first hour of play, Batman: Arkham Asylum passes that test with flying colours. The appropriately named Rocksteady has delivered a solid, immersive blockbuster title. It's well paced, boasts a well-judged variety of gameplay elements and is brought to life with excellent visuals, a compelling story and superb voice acting. Even if you were controlling a generic ninja rather than an iconic superhero, this would be a polished and engrossing game.

Add the Batman to that recipe and you've got something remarkable; a game that doesn't just use its famous character to make up for rote design, but one that takes a rich and detailed fictional universe and uses it to enhance an already enticing prospect. The great thing about Arkham Asylum isn't that it's a Batman game, it's that it only makes sense as a Batman game. Every plot detail, every gadget, every action set-piece ties the game back into the world of DC Comics in a way that feels utterly organic.

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Batman PS3 unlocks Batcave in Home

Well, it does in America anyway.

The US PlayStation blog reports that the PS3 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum will unlock a Batcave personal space - i.e. apartment for your avatar - in PlayStation Home.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Rocksteady answers your questions.

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

Batman bonus for GAME pre-orders

Special level with Scarecrow in it.

Eidos has announced that pre-ordering Batman: Arkham Asylum from GAME will grant you access to a special Villains Challenge Map.

Eidos expects Batman to score in the 90s

Plus: next TR to "reinvigorate" franchise.

Eidos president Ian Livingstone is expecting Batman: Arkham Asylum to get "review scores in the 90s", and reckons the recent delay was due to "the right reasons".

Joker exclusive to Arkham Asylum PS3

Joker exclusive to Arkham Asylum PS3

"Nothing's sacred to those devils."

Eidos has confirmed that The Joker will be an exclusive playable character in the PS3 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

He'll be free to download from the PlayStation Store, but will only be playable on the Challenge Maps.

Eidos was unable to tell us what treat may or may not await Xbox 360 owners in response. But we'll let you know what we hear.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Exclusive hands-on with two new challenge rooms.

On the one hand, there's something maddening about turning up to Eidos' Wimbledon headquarters to play Batman: Arkham Asylum and discovering that it's another two challenge rooms - self-contained, unlockable leaderboard-based action set pieces - that I'm here to play, rather than the single-player story mode itself. But on the other, there's something unusually reassuring about it: I'm desperate to play Batman: Arkham Asylum, a licensed superhero videogame. This may actually be a first.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Hospitality.

In some ways, Batman is the comic book hero most suited to videogames. Unlike Superman, he's not irritatingly invulnerable; unlike the Hulk, no-one expects him to do anything too CPU-intensive, like destroy an entire city; most importantly, unlike Spider-Man, he isn't saddled with a phoned-in Tobey Maguire voice track that makes him sound like he's battling evil while strung out on Co-codamol. Instead, all Batman needs is a natty cape, two fists, and access to the world's most elaborately deadly issue of the Innovations catalogue.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batting for the right team.

I had the same reaction, when I heard about Arkham Asylum, as I did when I heard about the Watchmen game. A defensive reflex, based on the mistaken assumption that this new game was going to be a baffling gamification of Grant Morrison's excellent 1989 graphic novel. Developer Rocksteady is understandably keen to distance itself from that assumption. Arkham Asylum draws from more than one Batman, but it's definitely a DC Batman. Despite a fashionably darker look, Arkham Asylum has its strongest links with the excellent early 90s cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series.