Batman: Arkham City


Digital FoundryFace-Off: Batman: Return to Arkham

A dynamic duo of Unreal Engine 4 remasters?

Digital FoundryBatman: Arkham City Tri-Format Cut-Scene Performance Video

It's Wii U vs. Xbox 360 vs. PS3 in this revealing analysis.

Digital FoundryBatman: Arkham City Tri-Format Gameplay Comparison

Wii U up against Xbox 360 and PS3 with some surprisingly variable results.

Key events

26th October 2011

Face-Off: Batman: Arkham City

20th October 2011

Arkham City DLC launch mishap

14th October 2011

Batman: Arkham City

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.

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.

Face-Off: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition on Wii U

Expectations were rather low as Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition booted up on our US import Wii U. Images like this one that emerged just after the launch suggested a game with fundamental compromises over the existing Xbox 360 release, while frame-rate analysis of the E3 trailer strongly hinted at a sub-par performance level.

The state of the game was a cause for genuine concern once we managed to get hands-on with a pre-release playable version. A post-E3 preview event revealed unfinished code plagued with bugs and texture issues - all of which didn't quite tally with press assets showing a considerably rejigged Wii U version with some image quality enhancements over the existing game.

So it's with a mixture of relief and slight disappointment that we can report that Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition is actually a pretty close match to the Xbox 360 game, from a visual standpoint at least. Those low-res shadowmaps from the now infamous screenshot? They appear to be confined to a pre-rendered video sequence, presumably dumped from the Unreal Engine editor, and are nothing more than an oversight. Existing renders from the Rocksteady work wouldn't be useable owing to the changes in character costumes.

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Batman: Arkham City - Harley Quinn's Revenge Review

Not content with reinventing Batman for video games, Rocksteady's also gone and made Robin cool. How did the studio do this? Robin isn't cool. His day job is "ward", which is not exactly a recipe for excitement. Nobody's thrilled when he turns up in a movie and even the mildest of street thugs won't be too upset to see him dropping out of the sky with a quip and a couple of raised fists.

The secret, of course, is typically simple: Rocksteady let him hit people with that collapsible pipe of his, and it stuck him in Arkham City. Up until now, the Boy Wonder - hardly the coolest of nicknames there, Robin - has been left to fend for himself in challenge rooms. But Harley Quinn's Revenge, Arkham City's first story-driven downloadable add-on, sends him out into the metropolis itself.

This two-hour mini-adventure takes place just after the events of the main game, and Robin's finally getting a chance to share some of the limelight with Bats. I'd call the whole thing an epilogue, incidentally, except it doesn't really feel like one: it doesn't tie up any of Arkham City's dangling loose ends and I'm not sure it's dropping too many hints of what's to come, either. Well, maybe one hint. But you'll have to really keep an eye out for it.

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Batman Arkham City Game of the Year edition, Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC confirmed for PC

Warner Bros. Interactive has confirmed the Batman Arkham City Game of the Year Edition and the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC will launch on PC.

The Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC, available from 29th May, will launch on PC, but a release date remains unannounced. More details will be revealed soon, Warner said.

It's a similar story for the PC version of the Game of the Year Edition - its release date is TBC. The PC version of the original Batman: Arkham City launched a month after the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version.

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Batman: Arkham City Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC confirmed

Batman: Arkham City Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC confirmed

UPDATE: Available 30th May, Game of the Year edition coming.

UPDATE 2: Warner Bros. Interactive UK has revealed new information on the Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition.

It launches in the UK on 7th September for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - over three months after the US gets it. No mention was made of the PC version.

The Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC adds more than two hours of fresh gameplay to the campaign, Warner said. Also included on the disc are all five previously released DLC packs.

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Batman Arkham City: Harley Quinn DLC details leak

Batman Arkham City: Harley Quinn DLC details leak

Robin, Harley taking centre stage for new add-on.

Batman Arkham City will be expanded in a fresh DLC pack featuring the characters of Harley Quinn and Robin.

PlayStation 3 Trophies for the add-on have leaked online (courtesy of PS3Trophies) and appear to reveal awards for a number of story-based missions.

Trophy details suggest side-kick Robin, who was a pre-order bonus and downloadable character for the main game, is playable in the new expansion.

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Chancellor George Osborne confirms UK video games tax credits

Chancellor George Osborne confirms UK video games tax credits

UPDATE: UK game developers welcome decision.

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed the introduction of tax credits for the UK video game industry.

In his Budget 2012 speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said tax credits will "support our brilliant video games and animations industries". The Government is yet to announce details of the relief, however, but we do know the plan is to have it begin from April 2013.

UK lobby groups such as Tiga have long called for tax breaks to help boost the industry on these shores. The lack of tax credits have been blamed for an "exodus" of game development talent abroad.

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Batman: Arkham City ships 6m copies

Helps Warner to glowing annual financial report.

Batman: Arkham City has now shipped over six million copies worldwide, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive has announced.

Developers' Games of 2011

Levine! Molyneux! Jaffe! Garriott!

We've had our say. You've had your say. But what about the people who made the games? What were their favourites of the year just ended? Yes, it's that time of year again, when we pester our favourite creators for their reflections and then watch them show us up with their witty and insightful explanations.

The truth behind retailer-exclusive pre-order extras

The truth behind retailer-exclusive pre-order extras

Why stores do it and what it means for gamers.

One of the less popular trends of 2011 was the ramping up of the retailer-exclusive in-game extra. You know the sort of the thing - pre-order a title from Game and get a couple of extra character skins, choose HMV and get some weapon unlocks, or give your money to Zavvi and get early access to a map.

Depending on where you stand, it's either a nice bit of added value or a nuisance that prevents fans experiencing absolutely everything a game has to offer. Until recently it's been fairly easy to ignore. But things took a left turn with the release of Batman: Arkham City earlier this year, when UK supermarket giant Tesco secured a significant slab of DLC content all for themselves - a separate set of missions called Joker's Carnival Challenge Map. A sign of things to come, perhaps?

With that in mind we approached a number of UK retailers, publishers and developers to find out more about the process, why it happens and whether gamers are doomed to suffer as a result.

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Digital FoundryPC Tech Comparison: Batman: Arkham City

Issues aside, Rocksteady's superb PC build is a huge improvement over the console versions.

PC versions of cross-platform titles are often characterised as simple ports with only the power of the hardware itself giving any advantage over their console equivalents in terms of higher frame-rates or superior resolutions. Batman: Arkham City on PC is not one of these games. It's enormously improved over the console game, even if the initially broken DirectX 11 rendering mode grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.

PC Batman: Arkham City patch released on Steam

PC Batman: Arkham City patch released on Steam

Improves DirectX 11, but not for 32bit Windows users.

A DirectX 11 patch for Batman: Arkham City on PC has been rolled out on Steam.

This has serious negative consequences for gamers running 32bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

If that's you, you are advised to "avoid" running Batman: Arkham City under DirectX 11 after installing this patch.

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EU PlayStation Store update 23rd November

EU PlayStation Store update 23rd November

Daytona! Robin DLC! Rayman Origins for 47.99!

Sega's revival of Dreamcast racer Daytona USA heads up this week's list of downloadable launches on the EU PlayStation Store.

Daytona boasts smoother graphics, a sharper soundtrack and an unwavering 60 frames-per-second, all of which helped Martin wave a 9/10-bearing chequered flag in Eurogamer's Daytona USA review of last month's XBLA version.

PlayStation Plus subscribers are rewarded with a 30 per cent off the price of Daytona and 20 per cent discount off 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which launches as a download this week for 19.99 for everyone else.

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Batman: Arkham City PC, OnLive, Origin release details

UPDATE: OnLive has just been in touch to say it's offering a free 30 minute Batman: Arkham City demo for US and UK gamers from today ahead of the game's Friday 25th November launch.

ORIGINAL STORY: The PC version of Batman: Arkham City launches in the UK on Friday, 25th November, Warner Bros. has announced.

Then, it goes live in shops and via Steam.

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Saturday Soapbox: Failure is Not an Option

The consequences of not having enough consequences.

"Batman must save Gotham," says everyone's favorite butler/surgeon/IT guy Alfred during the third act of Batman: Arkham City. He's not kidding. If I allow Bats to fail at rescuing even one of serial killer Victor Szasz's hostages it's off to the game-over screen. Retry or quit, there is no fail.

Battlefield 3, Arkham City dominate October US sales

Battlefield 3, Arkham City dominate October US sales

While Xbox 360 tops hardware chart by huge margin.

Battlefield 3 was the top-selling game in the US for the month of October, selling just shy of two million copies, according to the latest NPD sales data.

Batman: Arkham City came in second selling a very healthy 1.5 million units, followed by NBA 2K12 and Rage. According to GameInformer, id Software's shooter sold 550,000 copies in its debut month.

From Software's no-nonsense RPG Dark Souls stormed the chart at six, while Forza 4 debuted in eighth. Sales figures for those titles have not been announced.

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Fusion: Genesis release date, price

Fusion: Genesis release date, price

What's on Xbox Live this month?

Fusion: Genesis, the debut game by ex-Rare staffers Starfire Studios, will be released on 9th November via Xbox Live Arcade. The sci-fi twin-stick shooter will cost 800 Microsoft Points (6.80).

Earlier next week, on 7th November, you'll find Call of Duty subscription service Elite. This costs 4000 MSP (34) and grants access to a huge list of premium features, including 20 pieces of DLC.

Today, according to Major Nelson, you'll find the Forza 4 November Speed Pack, as well as Batman: Arkham City's Nightwing Bundle. Each costs 560 MSP (4.76).

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EA announces major third party Origin support

EA announces major third party Origin support

Warner Bros., Capcom and THQ sign up.

Games from Warner Bros. Interactive, THQ and Capcom will soon be available on Origin, EA's digital PC platform.

Warner's Batman: Arkham City and THQ's Saints Row: The Third will kick things off in November, with more titles from the three third parties to follow in coming months.

"Since launch, we've had overwhelming support from both publishers and developers across the gaming industry, recognising Origin as an opportunity to deliver more of their great content straight to consumers across the globe," said EA's Origin VP David DeMartini.

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Batman: Arkham City's worldwide sales

Batman: Arkham City's worldwide sales

Ships 4.6 million units in a week.

Batman: Arkham City has shipped more than 4.6 million units worldwide in one week, Warner Bros. has announced.

The "week one sales figure" (shipped, surely?) is apparently double that of previous game, Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Batman: Arkham City was released for PS3 and Xbox 360 on 18th October in the US, and 21st October in Europe.

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Digital FoundryHDMI 1.4 stereo 3D arrives on Xbox 360

Arkham City is first full-res Xbox 360 3D release.

A while back, Eurogamer ran a report revealing that full-resolution stereoscopic 3D using the HDMI 1.4 standard was coming to the Xbox 360. Five months on, Batman: Arkham City is the first shipping game to utilise it.

This week, gaming's famous characters - you know, Lara Croft, Mario, that chick who died in Final Fantasy and Soldier Pointing a Gun - make way for two of the 20th century's greatest literary heroes on our screens.

Arkham City DLC launch mishap

Arkham City DLC launch mishap

Some boxes missing Catwoman content.

Some copies of Batman: Arkham City are shipping without the promised code to redeem the game's Catwoman DLC.

Gamers in North America have been complaining about missing codes since the game launched there earlier this week. However, it now seems the issue is affecting UK customers too.

Earlier today, a VideoGamer employee Tweeted that his copy, purchased through GameStop UK, was missing the DLC code.

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Batman: Arkham City PC release date

The PC version of Batman: Arkham City will be released one month from now, on 18th November 2011.

Warner Bros. confirmed the date via a press release today.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Batman: Arkham City will be available this Friday.

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Out This Week - 21/10/11

Batman: Arkham City! Tintin! Ratchet!

This week two very different pencil-drawn heroes of the comic book world each star in their own video games.

Batman Sinestro Corps skin UK details

Batman Sinestro Corps skin UK details

Comes with Green Lantern Blu-ray.

The Green Lantern Blu-ray - released in the UK today - contains a Sinestro Corps skin download code for Batman: Arkham City - out on Friday.

A representative for Warner confirmed the download code's inclusion in the UK version of Green Lantern's Blu-ray editions following news of its appearance in the US.

"The skin will give users the ability to fight crime with the help of the yellow power of fear, giving Batman a unique yellow costume in the story campaign and in the challenge maps," Warner said.

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Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

It's a role-playing game, when you get down to it. Not just because you gain XP, engage in a little light levelling and are free to sharpen your combat skills one upgrade at a time. It's a role-playing game in the most literal sense of the phrase, a game in which you're encouraged to give in to the fantasy, and to see what life is like when it's composed of rooftop brawls and zip-line getaways. Animations, traversal mechanics, takedowns: they're all building towards the same thing. In Arkham City, you become Batman.

And it's an easy role to play, partly because Arkham Asylum already laid out such an excellent framework, delivering not just the power of the Dark Knight but also his cunning and his tightly controlled rage. And partly because, if you're like me, you've secretly been Batman since primary school anyway.

Pretending a series of bedrooms and attics were subterranean strongholds. Daydreaming of dangling cyclists over the ledges of skyscrapers when they rode their freakin' bikes on the sidewalk. Promising to avenge your parents' deaths, even though they were still alive and well and sat in the next room, arguing about why the Morris Minor wouldn't start that morning.

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Batman Returns

Game director Sefton Hill on design, review scores and getting some sunshine.

Batman: Arkham City is finished, and a tired Rocksteady Studios can emerge from its development bunker and catch some rays. Launch is imminent, and the team is excitedly awaiting your reaction to what is expected to be one of the biggest games of the year.

Batman: Arkham City The Album revealed

Panic! Coheed! Motorcycle! Serj!

Warner Bros. has announced Batman: Arkham City - The Album, an 11-track medley of dark and brooding tunes to fuel gamers' excitement for November's Arkham Asylum sequel.

Batman: Arkham City

Knight vision.

I'm playing Batman: Arkham City on a cinema screen. It's just me, in the middle row of the Warner Bros. private screening room in London, with Dax Ginn, Rocksteady's effervescent Aussie marketing man. I've had worse afternoons, it has to be said.

Batman: AC Joker content Tesco exclusive

Batman: AC Joker content Tesco exclusive

Joker's Carnival Challenge Map adds 4hrs.

If you pre-order Batman: Arkham City from UK supermarket Tesco you'll get a code to unlock the Joker's Carnival Challenge Map.

This is a separate set of missions based inside Joker's hideout. You'll need to use detective work, combat and stealth while inside. It's estimated to add four hours of additional gameplay.

Joker's Carnival Challenge Map is a pre-order bonus exclusive to Tesco in the UK.

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Batman pre-order skins will release as DLC

Available to all "down the track".

Rocksteady has confirmed to Eurogamer that the full range of Batman: Arkham City skins being divvied up between retailers as pre-order bonuses will become available to all later on as DLC.

GameStop launches UK online shop

GameStop launches UK online shop

"We'll definitely give the best value."

American mega-shop GameStop launched its UK online store last night.

Some GameStop UK game prices are lower than on competing sites. Batman: Arkham City can be pre-ordered for 29.97 on GameStop - 10 cheaper than on the Game or HMV website.

PlayStation Vita (Wi-Fi) can be pre-ordered for 209.97 from GameStop - 20 cheaper than Game and HMV.

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Talia al Ghul confirmed for Arkham City

Talia al Ghul confirmed for Arkham City

Batman's occasional squeeze joins the cast.

Anti-heroine Talia al Ghul is the latest character announced for Batman: Arkham City.

The daughter of crime boss Ra's al Ghul and Batman's occasional love interest in the comics will be voiced by Stana Katic, star of US TV series Castle.

"Talia is such a complex character and it was great to voice her in Batman: Arkham City," commented Katic. "I was amazed at all the detail put into the project and it's great to see how excited the fans are about the game."

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Eurogamer's Best of E3 2011

Game of the Show, Best Tech, Best Publisher and more.

It began, as ever, with a leak. With just hours to go until Microsoft's absurdly lavish... Wait a second, this is last year's intro. Oh well, it turns out it still works: where last year we heard about Kinect before we'd even donned our space ponchos, this year we knew about Halo 4 and several new Kinect sequels before Don Mattrick even had a chance to start educating us about "growth and innovation".

OnLive: CGI Arkham City visuals possible

"This will be the new standard for gaming."

OnLive boss Steve Perlman believes games with visuals as good as those seen in the stunning CGI Batman: Arkham City trailer, below, will be possible on the online gaming tech.

Cheap This Week - 09/06/11

Arkham City! Mass Effect 3! Witcher 2!

It's an early bird special this week, with many of the biggest upcoming games available to pre-order now for really low prices. With all the new announcements coming out of E3, it looks like we've got an exciting year of gaming ahead of us, and this is your chance get in on the fun at discount prices.

Catwoman playable in Arkham City

Selina Kyle missions unveiled.

Batman: Arkham City's main campaign sees you controlling Catwoman for a number of missions, developer Rocksteady Studios has revealed.

Arkham City campaign lasts 8 hours

But only if you're a "ninja".

Forthcoming superhero sequel Batman: Arkham City will take at least eight hours to complete, developer Rocksteady Games has announced.

Batman: Arkham City release date

Batman: Arkham City release date

Get your Batcave on in October.

Rocksteady Studios' hotly-anticipated Batman sequel Arkham City will launch on 21st October, Warner Bros. Interactive has announced.

Arkham City is said to be five times larger than predecessor Arkham Asylum. It's set inside a heavily fortified district in Gotham City, where all the scum like to hang out.

Christian Donlan's Batman: Arkham City hands-on preview just went live.

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Batman: Arkham City

Dark Knight, Big City.

Are the ears slightly longer? I think the ears might be slightly longer. The cape's definitely the same - still stylishly handy for stunning foes or sweeping across the night sky - and the hulking Bat-armour has that familiar metallic sheen. But the ears look... Different? Maybe? Now I'm not sure...

Batman: Arkham City comics announced

Batman: Arkham City comics announced

Mini-series to plug gap between games.

A new comic book mini-series will bridge the gap between Batman: Arkham Asylum and its impending sequel, Arkham City, publisher Warner Bros. has announced.

Written by Paul Dini - who penned both games and various Batman: The Animated Series episodes - and drawn by the games' concept artist Carlos D'anda, the six-comic Batman: Arkham City series picks up one year after Arkham Asylum, filling us in on how the new Arkham City prison comes into being.

The first two issues of the six-comic run will be available in May, both digitally and in ye olde paper format, priced at $2.99 each. We're checking with Warner for UK pricing.

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Batman, Joker to team up in Arkham City?

Mystery trailer shows unlikely pairing.

Batman and arch-nemesis The Joker will put their differences aside and team up in the forthcoming Batman: Arkham City, if a mysterious leaked trailer is to be taken at face value.

No Batmobile in Arkham City

No need - Bats is "the ultimate vehicle."

Hoping for a bit of Batmobile action in the forthcoming Batman: Arkham City? Tough luck - there are no vehicles in the game, developer Rocksteady Studios has revealed.

Batman: Arkham City details emerge

Batman: Arkham City details emerge

New gadgets! New combat! Catwoman!

Some new details regarding forthcoming PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 title Batman: Arkham City have slipped out.

According to US magazine Game Informer (as read by IGN), the game is set one year after Arkham Asylum. Warden Quincy Sharp is now mayor of Gotham and he's built an even bigger, better facility titled Arkham City.

It's being overseen by psychiatrist Hugo Strange. Inmates are forbidden to try to escape, but other than that there are no rules and anything goes within the boundaries of the facility.

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Batman domains name Arkham sequel?

Batman domains name Arkham sequel?

"Where's Bruce Wayne?" asks one.

More than a dozen Batman-related domain names have been registered by Warner. Among them could be the title of Rocksteady's Arkham Asylum sequel.

Subtitles include Arkham City, Siege of Gotham, Grand Delusion, State of Villainy and Broken Ground, according to Superannuation.

And there are other names that appear to be destined for viral marketing efforts. These are Close Arkham City, People for Gotham, Stop Mayor Sharp, War in Gotham City and Where's Bruce Wayne.

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