Batman: Arkham Knight

A confident mixture of familiar gameplay and bold storytelling brings Rocksteady's superhero trilogy to a satisfying, memorable close.


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Digital FoundryBatman: Arkham Knight PC revisited - can today's best hardware deliver 4K at 60fps?

Cutting-edge PC tech takes on one of PC's most notorious ports.

This is a challenge for Nvidia's new top-tier RTX hardware that's very, very different from the usual benchmarks and gameplay tests - is it actually possible to run the deeply flawed PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight at 4K resolution at a smooth, locked 60fps? Three years on from its highly controversial launch, has the quality of the port improved at all? Can the latest mainstream PC technology attain the consistent performance level that has traditionally eluded this most baffling of ports? And perhaps more to the point - why return to Arkham Knight at all?

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.

There's a new Batman film out this weekend and it's certainly taking a beating by critics. That's not unusual for the brooding vigilante, who holds the heavy burden of fan expectations on his armoured shoulders. Just last year the caped crusader received a thrashing when Rocksteady released the finale of its dark knight series, Batman: Arkham Knight, with a botched PC port. It was a sad state of affairs that Warner Brothers was rightfully taken to task for, yet this conversation - and some nitpicks about the new batmobile - overshadowed the fact that Rocksteady delivered Batman's finest video game adventure to date.

New Arkham Knight PC patch doesn't solve underlying issues

Digital FoundryNew Arkham Knight PC patch doesn't solve underlying issues

'Improved VRAM management' - but gains are marginal.

Warner Brothers has released a new patch for the beleaguered PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, correcting a whole host of minor bugs, laying out the groundwork for yet more DLC support, but most tantalising of all, promising 'improved VRAM management to reduce frame-rate hitches'. Could we finally be getting a comprehensive solution to the game's severe streaming issues?

Based on fresh tests with the new update, there are marginal improvements to the title, but the underlying issues remain much the same. There are a couple of fundamental problems we have with the PC version of the game - first and foremost, Arkham Knight's performance issues when paired with graphics cards with 2GB of onboard graphics memory. The game's built-in VRAM allocation meter strongly recommends that you drop down to low quality textures in order to eliminate hitching and stuttering on 2GB cards - a state of affairs that just isn't good enough.

On a Radeon card, there are few alternatives here, but with Nvidia hardware, 2GB does seem to go further. In combination with a 30fps cap, you can raise quality levels to console-equivalent levels and still enjoy fairly consistent gameplay - though it does require dropping to normal-level textures and shadow quality.

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Performance Analysis: Batman on PC is still a disappointment

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Batman on PC is still a disappointment

Arkham Knight is back on sale - but it's still nowhere near good enough.

It's been four months from the initial release of the nightmarish PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight - an outsourced port so bad that the publisher felt it had no choice but to remove the game from sale. An interim patch was pushed out for existing owners last month, but a new 2.3GB update was unveiled on Wednesday, alongside a re-release of the game. Yes, Batman Arkham Knight is available for sale once more but the question is, are the major issues surrounding the title resolved? Is it actually worthy of purchase?

Looking at the latest patch notes, it's safe to say that we went into our testing with little optimism. Warner Bros' focus is seemingly on bringing the PC version of the game up to date with the console releases in terms of DLC content. While the September interim patch listed some technical enhancements - plus the addition of a high quality texture option - there was nothing in the latest update to suggest any further enhancements to the technological nuts and bolts of the game - and that's a fundamental problem.

Looking back at our initial report on the PC version, we saw a woefully optimised release, lacking visual features found in the console versions of the game. Arkham Knight was also unable to sustain 60fps, even with the artificial frame-rate cap unlocked, and with a Core i7 and a powerful GTX 780 Ti powering the game. A week later, the visual issues were mostly resolved, and we posted our recommended settings - effectively using the Nvidia control panel to force a properly frame-paced 30fps, even though our GTX 960 and GTX 970 were left brutally under-utilised as a result.

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Rocksteady has revealed all remaining Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass content, and there's quite a lot, comprising Batman skins, alternative Batmobiles, AR Challenges, two short story additions and a pack of Most Wanted Challenges. Is it enough to satisfy people who've paid 32.99 for a Season Pass? It's a topic in hot contention. The game's early Batgirl DLC left us flat.

Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch released, pulled

Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch released, pulled

UPDATE: Interim patch released proper.

UPDATE 4th Sep 2015: Warner Bros. has released the Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch properly this time.

The promised "interim" patch is now available to those who already have Batman: Arkham Knight for PC, while the game itself remains off sale.

Here are the patch notes:

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Batman: Arkham Knight's PC "interim patch" due in the next few weeks

Warner Bros. has said the promised "interim" patch for the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight is due in the next few weeks.

The patch is being tested now, Warner said in an update on the Batman: Arkham Knight Steam page.

"If all goes well, we expect to issue the patch in the next few weeks. We'll be sure to report back in the next two weeks on how the testing is coming along."

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VideoVideo: The best end songs ever

Sing when you're winning (at video games).

When Lethal Weapon 3 got its cinematic release in 1992, my parents dutifully went along to the cinema to watch it. At the end of the credits, they were delighted to discover, there was one last scene - an easter egg to reward those who watched all those names scroll past on the screen. So began an excruciating family tradition.

My favourite part of any of the Batman Arkham games has always been keeping an eye out for the spectacularly subtle comic book references. Over the years, developer Rocksteady has become adept at slotting these secrets into the various grim and gritty environments of Gotham. And honestly, I'll take a couple of hours playing spot the reference over driving the Batmobile any day of the week. You know, I think that's actually part of the reason I don't like the Batmobile's inclusion in Arkham Knight; it makes it that bit more difficult for players to appreciate these little nods when they're speeding past at 100mph and definitely not killing the bad guys they collide with because science.

Batman: Arkham Knight PC "interim" patch planned for August

Warner Bros. hopes to release an "interim" patch for Batman: Arkham Knight's broken PC port at some point in August.

The patch will target some - but not all - of the issues that are currently plaguing the PC build, and which have caused it to be withdrawn from sale worldwide.

Warner Bros. posted word on the patch to the Arkham Knight Steam page over the weekend.

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Batman: Arkham Knight's first major DLC falls short

32.99 is a lot of money for a Season Pass. You know this, I know this, and Warner knows this, or at the very least, it does now after the initial announcement of its pricey post-launch DLC plan was met (rightfully) with much incredulity. The publisher did its best to assuage fears that its "regular new content for six months" was a rip-off by going into more detail on what fans who chose to throw down the cost of almost an entire new game could expect: new story missions, additional super-villains who invade Gotham City, 'legendary' Batmobile skins, advanced challenge maps, alternative character skins and new drivable race tracks. New tracks and skins are standard DLC filler material, Challenge Maps will be a welcome inclusion as they're sorely lacking in the base game, but the real attraction is the additional story content. The first of these three planned single player excursions focuses on Batgirl, the only time she's been playable in the Arkham series thus far. And as a first taste of what value we can expect from the Season Pass, the hour-long experience doesn't do much to help Warner's case.

A Matter of Family takes Barbara Gordon's Batgirl, flanked by Robin, to a new location - Seagate Amusement Park; a nautically-themed funfair which has, predictably, been given a gothic makeover by the Joker and his goons. It's quite a claustrophobic space - there's barely enough room to glide end to end - but it does hide one or two secrets if you're prepared to look hard enough.

Batgirl herself controls almost exactly like her mentor. She's essentially Batman on a budget - packing explosive gel, a line launcher, grappling hook, Batarangs and a remote hacking device. And that's about it, really. There are no upgrades, no new gadgets, and no unique vehicles or skills.

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Digital FoundryWhat does it take to run Arkham Knight smoothly on PC?

Digital Foundry aims for console parity - or better - with the sorry PC build.

Is it actually possible to run the current, hobbled version PC of Batman: Arkham Knight at 60fps at any resolution? Indeed, is it actually capable of matching the 30fps performance profile of the console versions without investing a small fortune in hardware? Rocksteady and PC port developer Iron Galaxy are currently working on substantially improving the lacklustre performance, and the game itself is currently withdrawn from sale. But for those of us lumbered with the existing code, what can be done to get a decent experience?

What's your favourite Batmobile? If you answered the Tumbler, the thick, bulky and brutally functional supercar/tank hybrid from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, then I'm afraid you're just plain wrong. The Tumbler had a place within Nolan's universe, with its thudding logic dictated by the inevitable and rather joyless collision of immovable objects, but looking back through the history of Batman's garage it's an unsightly addition - a tool fit for a soldier rather than a vigilante, a guardian, a silent predator.

Batman: Arkham Knight launch sales beat Arkham City

Batman: Arkham Knight launch sales beat Arkham City

Biggest launch of 2015 so far, despite the whole PC sales fiasco.

Batman: Arkham Knight is the UK's new all-formats chart number one, with launch week sales that are the highest for any game in the Batman series.

Impressively, it beat the launch week sales of Batman: Arkham City despite only launching on PC and the new generation of consoles, versus City's launch on the more-established PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

But it did benefit from an early Tuesday "event" launch rather than the typical Friday release, which Arkham City was not afforded.

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Face-Off: Batman: Arkham Knight

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Batman: Arkham Knight

Rocksteady delivers on an Unreal promise.

Despite the drama surrounding the PC release leading to its subsequent withdrawal, there's a sense of success in the console space as PlayStation 4 owners, and indeed those on Xbox One, get a superb rendition of Batman: Arkham Knight. It's fair to say Rocksteady sized up each console's strengths well ahead of producing its first current-gen title, and it's paid off in one of the best Batman games we've seen in years. But in playing the game this week, the evidence strongly suggests that Unreal Engine 3's impressive Samaritan tech demo in 2011 paved the way for many of the game's crowning technical achievements.

From the city's crisp neon reflections and bokeh-dotted backdrops to the colour-shaded rain and smoke, the Samaritan teaser didn't just bring a spec feature-list, but a pretty close match for what would become Arkham Knight's final aesthetic. It's an approach that likely struck a chord at Rocksteady at the time, a team that in the same year had just wrapped up development of Arkham City and looked towards its next venture - seemingly too early to catch Unreal Engine 4's wave. Looking at the demo and final game side-by-side, the end result is uncanny in its similarities, especially in the use of lighting effects, point-light reflections, and the integration of Nvidia's Apex tech for cloth simulation across its characters.

Of course, Rocksteady adds much more to the equation on its own. The scale of Gotham City is unlike anything we've seen on the engine, as well as the procedural method to enemy encounters - cut-scenes that dynamically weave into play as you traverse the city (often inviting you to a new side-quest). The seamless nature of the animation system, with its single camera swoops to and from the Batmobile cockpit, also deserves huge credit. An absence of loading screens also sets it apart from last-gen hardware, where RAM proved a limitation in streaming open-world environments - particularly as dense as this rendition of Gotham.

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Warner suspends Batman: Arkham Knight PC sales

Warner suspends Batman: Arkham Knight PC sales

UPDATE: Rocksteady has "best engineers working like crazy" on this.

UPDATE 26TH JUNE 9AM BST: Batman: Arkham Knight creator Rocksteady has pledged its best engineers to the job of fixing the PC version, as one would hope. The PC version of Arkham Knight was - optimised might be the wrong word - tailored by Iron Galaxy.

"Totally supported decision to suspend PC version," Rocksteady co-founder and Batman: Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill tweeted. "We have our best engineers at Rocksteady working like crazy to help fix the issues ASAP."

Nevertheless, the game remains suspended from sale and the issues unresolved.

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Digital FoundryIt gets worse - Batman: Arkham Knight on PC lacks console visual features

Performance is poor and specific graphical effects are missing too.

It's unusual to see PC multi-platform titles failing to match up to their console equivalents - Xbox One and PS4 are based on PC technology, after all - but in Batman: Arkham Knight we have a rare example. Having tested the PC game on a Intel Core i7 3770K machine, with 16GB of memory and a GTX 780 Ti, a solid all-round experience should be within easy reach. In reality, performance levels are poor with this setup, and to throw salt into the wound, the PC's top tier settings miss out on visual effects found in the PlayStation 4 release.

Batman, as we all know, has sworn an oath not to kill people. But what you don't know can't hurt you, apparently, as the world's greatest detective seems to not understand basic concepts like the fact that people aren't indestructible robots. We can't all afford state of the art pectoral armour like you, Bruce!

Digital FoundryBatman: Arkham Knight on PS4 is a technical tour de force

Rocksteady's superb work doesn't deserve to be overshadowed by the poor PC version.

The launch of Batman: Arkham Knight may have been blighted by the arrival of the PC train-wreck, but let's be clear - Rocksteady's console game is a slickly presented finale to the saga that should not be overlooked. Based on early impressions, the game has already proven itself in the performance stakes, and that solid frame-rate and stability is backed up by a more ambitious approach to the open world gameplay pioneered in 2011's Arkham City.

Batman: Arkham Knight review

Arkham Knight opens with a spoiler, and it sets the tone for what is to come. This is that rare beast: a blockbuster game with plot twists that matter and narrative flourishes you'll want to experience rather than skipping every cut scene.

That first spoiler is open season, though, since it's a spoiler for 2011's Arkham City and if you've not even played that, why are you reading this?

So, we open on The Joker's dead body, and the game wastes no time in reassuring fans that this isn't a fake out. The very first thing that happens when you touch the controls is that the furnace fires up to cremate the Crown Prince of Crime. That's it. He's ash. Gone for good. The next thing you do is step into the first-person shoes of a Gotham beat cop who stops at a diner for waffles and bacon - "Don't tell my wife" he pleads with the waitress - before Scarecrow turns the scene into a nightmare with a souped-up version of his toxic fear gas.

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Batman: Arkham Knight's Limited Edition has been delayed

Amazon still distributing download codes, bonus goodies to follow.

UPDATE 19/06/2015 9pm This delay appears to be the case with Gamestop's Limited Edition as well (which also includes the Batman statue), at least in Finland. And like Amazon UK, Gamestop will be sending download codes to appease those affected.

Digital FoundryDigital Foundry: Hands-on with Batman Arkham Knight

Rocksteady's epic bucks the trend of unfinished, unpolished launch code.

It's a sad fact that this generation's big releases are often playing catch-up on their promises post-launch - a "release now, fix later" mentality that developer Rocksteady thankfully doesn't appear to subscribe to in its excellent Batman Arkham Knight. Having played the PlayStation 4 review code extensively, we're pleased to see the game is set to launch in a very refined, polished state. As the finale to the Arkham saga, it's a superb production, but crucially it also turns in a slick, stable playing experience with solid performance on day one.

Batman: Arkham Knight's Season Pass includes all retailer-exclusive content

Batman: Arkham Knight may have a ton of convoluted retailer-exclusive bonus goodies, but Warner Bros. has confirmed that all of these will be included in the Season Pass within six months of the game's launch.

In fact, it shouldn't even take that long as developer Rocksteady suggested these retailer-exclusive perks will be widely distributed come August or September.

"Throughout the six months of additional Batman: Arkham Knight content, Premium and Season Pass owners will receive all in-game content that is offered through various retail pre-order incentives," the developer noted on its official forum.

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Batman: Arkham Knight's 170 Batmobile Edition has been cancelled

Batman: Arkham Knight's 170 Batmobile Edition has been cancelled

Due to "unforeseen circumstances" with "the quality of the Batmobile."

The ludicrously expensive Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition has been cancelled.

At least that's the word coming from some of our readers, along with a poster at NeoGAF, after getting an e-mail from their local GAME retailer explaining the situation. Apparently it has to do with the poor quality of its transformable Batmobile figurine.

"Regrettably, due to unforeseen circumstances that greatly compromised the quality of the Batmobile, included within the Batman Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition, Warner Bros has decided not to release this product," GAME stated in its email to customers.

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GAME-exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight Red Hood DLC gameplay

GAME-exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight Red Hood DLC gameplay

First look at the retailer's pre-order pack.

Here's a quick look at Batman: Arkham Knight's Red Hood story pack, which is a pre-order bonus at GAME in the UK.

The advert below is for GameStop, which has the same pre-order exclusive in the US, but the content is the same.

If you don't order from GAME then do not despair - completionists will be able to buy the pack separately at some point after the main game launches.

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FeatureBatman: Arkham Knight is another step away from the intimacy of Arkham Asylum

A brief hands-on sees Rocksteady's latest get more and more bombastic.

The original Arkham game was an intimate affair. One night, one location, one man standing against his nemesis in a battle that was as much about wits as it was about brute strength. It teased the world outside the walls Amadeus Arkham built, but we never got to go there. The graphic novel from which the game took its name, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison, is a thoughtful, claustrophobic comic heavy on symbolism, psychological horror, and hard to read lettering. A couple of games on, however, and Arkham Knight feels more like the popular Jeph Loeb comic arc Hush; a flashy, Michael Bay-like explosion of set-pieces, secret identities, and a lengthy all-star line-up of both allies and antagonists. Bigger doesn't always equate to better, but this kind of build-up is unavoidable where a series of this magnitude is concerned, especially since key mechanics like the combat were pretty much nailed the first time around.

The 33 Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass

New story missions, super-villains, challenge maps and drivable race tracks.

Batman: Arkham Knight has a Season Pass, as you might have expected - but what you might not have expected is just how expensive it is.

New Batman: Arkham Knight trailer shows off Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman

New Batman: Arkham Knight trailer shows off Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman

UPDATE: Dual play mechanic lets you switch between Batman and his allies during combat.

UPDATE: Batman: Arkham Knight has a new "dual play" mechanic, Warner Bros. has confirmed.

This sees the player "switch seamlessly" between Batman and his allies, including Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman in "free-flow combat".

So, no co-op, then, as some took the trailer below to indicate, but exciting nonetheless.

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The Rogues Gallery stars in new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer

The Rogues Gallery stars in new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer

Scarecrow! Two-Face! The Riddler! Harley Quinn! Poison Ivy! More!

Rocksteady's Batman games are known for leaning heavily on the Caped Crusader's Rogues Gallery of super-villains, and it looks like Arkham Knight will be no different.

Warner released a new trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, called "Gotham is Mine", which provides us with a good look at the character designs of Gotham's infamous bad guys.

Chief troublemaker is Scarecrow, who alongside the mysterious Arkham Knight is causing all sorts of trouble. But we also get an eyeful of Two-Face, Penguin, Riddler, the Arkham Knight, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

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Batman: Arkham Knight trailer swoops into Ace Chemicals

Batman: Arkham Knight developer Rocksteady Studios has released a good slice of new gameplay footage.

The trailer takes Batman to Ace Chemicals for a mission that sees him infiltrate the facility by land, air and in the Batmobile.

It's the first we've seen of the game for some time - since E3, when we also heard word of its delay into next year.

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Batman: Arkham Knight gets a June release date

Batman: Arkham Knight gets a June release date

169.99 Batmobile Edition includes a transforming Batmobile statue.

Batman: Arkham Knight - the fourth game in the Arkham series and the conclusion to the trilogy helmed by Rocksteady - is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC worldwide beginning on 2nd June 2015.

The highly anticipated sequel will come in two collector's editions: the Limited Edition that goes for 89.99 on consoles and 74.99 on PC, or the even more ludicrously expensive 169.99 Batmobile Edition.

The Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition includes the following:

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Batman: Arkham Knight's Red Hood Story DLC is a GameStop exclusive

Batman: Arkham Knight's Red Hood Story DLC is a GameStop exclusive

UPDATE: Will be available in the marketplace post launch.

UPDATE 24/07/2014 8pm: GameStop has confirmed to Eurogamer that while the Red Hood DLC is currently a GameStop-exclusive, it will be available post launch in the marketplace.

ORIGINAL STORY: 24/07/2014 3.45am: Batman: Arkham Knight will have story-based DLC based around Red Hood that's exclusive to GameStop.

A promotional image of the add-on was leaked at Batman News, and the retailer has since confirmed to Polygon that it will indeed be an exclusive pre-order bonus.

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Batman: Arkham Knight's PS4-exclusive Scarecrow Nightmare Pack detailed

Sony has revealed new details on Batman: Arkham Knight's PlayStation 4-exclusive content, the Scarecrow Nightmare Pack.

The add-on will re-introduce the Batman: Arkham Asylum villain after his absence in Arkham City.

"Gotham falls victim to Scarecrow's fear toxin, transforming the famous city into a twisted, hellish nightmare in the Batman: Arkham Knight Scarecrow Nightmare Pack," a description on reads.

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Watch five minutes of Batman: Arkham Knight gameplay

Watch five minutes of Batman: Arkham Knight gameplay

PlayStation gets exclusive “Scarecrow Nightmare Missions”.

Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady's highly anticipated third chapter in its dark knight series (the Origins prequel was handled by Warner Bros. Montreal), has received a new five-minute gameplay walkthrough during Sony's E3 press conference earlier today.

The caped crusader's general move set looks as delightfully empowering as we remember, but now we get a better look at the collossal, labyrinthine lair that is the whole of Gotham City. Prior to this, players were restricted to cramped mini-districts, but now the map is five times the size of Arkham City's expansive urban prison.

Furthermore, we get a stronger sense on why Batman would ever use the batmobile when he could otherwise glide about. The heavily armoured vehicle ("car" doesn't really do it justice) is armed with some pretty heavy duty cannons, which are pretty useful for blowing up unmanned tanks. Those things are rather tricky for a man who doesn't use guns (yet for some reason thinks it's okay for his car to use guns).

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Batman: Arkham Knight release date slips to 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight release date slips to 2015

In the meantime, there's lots more detail on the Batmobile.

Rocksteady Games' Batman: Arkham Knight will not be with us this October after all, the developer has revealed, but instead will make its debut on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2015.

That's obviously a disappointment, but the developer is hoping to soothe our frustrations by telling us more about the Batmobile.

Eurogamer's sister site USgamer went hands-on with Batman: Arkham Knight ahead of E3 and reports that the Batmobile comes across as a "heavily armoured and heavily armed war wagon that players can take into a huge number of exterior spaces in the game's massive, free-roaming rendition of Gotham City".

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Batman: Arkham Knight trailer teases in-game footage

Here's a first look at in-game footage from Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady's final chapter in its trilogy starring the Dark Knight.

The trailer below gives us a glimpse at the Bat in action on the streets of Gotham, gliding in the air above and taking to the road in the Batmobile.

Roads are now wider to accommodate your ability to drive around the city. You'll also be able to accelerate up walls and drive while inverted in tunnels.

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