Batman: Arkham City was an amazing game. The game reviewed highly and has already sold millions of copies just being on the shelf for a couple of weeks. Now that many of us have completed the Arkham City storyline, we are left wondering where the series can go from here. Myself, as well as my fellow staff, have some ideas about the direction the next Batman game should take. I promise to be vague on the story of Arkham City and will not spoil anything major to the storyline.
The leap from Arkham Asylum to Arkham City wasn’t anything revolutionary but it didn’t need to be. Arkham Asylum accomplished so much within gaming culture. Think about how often a good licensed video game comes around. B:AA brought a fluid combat system, as well as an interesting story that took you around this huge prison filled with tons of iconic Batman villains; some might argue too many villains. Arkham City built on the foundation of Asylum but added more characters, a bigger environment, and a more interesting yet screwed up storyline.
Now where could the third game go now? We have the leap from a prison to a city but do we need something bigger? Could bringing a bigger environment help the sequel be better from its predecessor? What about including all of Gotham and create a GTA style batman game that has you driving around Gotham in the batmobile? I might actually enjoy that as well.
But we all know that including too much can hurt a game. I thought Arkham City might have included too many characters reaching deep into the comic lore of Batman villains. Most of these villains are interesting enough to have a game centered around them which would be a good start for the sequel. Scaling the amount of enemies down could really help focus the story on a more involved relationship that Batman has with these characters.
The next Batman game might not necessarily be named Arkham, although that word has a lot of value to this series. There isn’t too much more they could do with a prison setting; the whole “let’s turn this prison into a city” was a bit obtuse anyway. So lets include all of Gotham, or just a small section, in the next game and get out of the prison territory. Also we need to focus more on the Batman himself. The Arkham games never really delve into too much detail about Bruce himself. They sprinkle hints here and there but that's mostly side stuff that most gamers will skip over. The story needs to center around Bruce and help him grow as a character and not just him being a jerk to everyone he comes across. They do a decent job allowing a few characters to interact more with Batman in Arkham City but I want them to go way further. Show Batman and Selina Kyle interact outside of their night lives. Hell, put them out on a date and let the gamer become more attached to Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle.
Now for those who have beaten Arkham City might know a certain direction the story is heading. The good aspect is that they allowed themselves a lot of wiggle room with the next game. They could almost treat it either as a reboot, or stick with what they got and finish the Arkham trilogy. My vote is they expand their scope, bring in a more enriching narrative but also focus more on far fewer characters and give them time to explain them more to an audience who might not know who they are. Also, while they have dived far into the catalog of Batman continuity, there are still many stories to get involved with. DC is also famous for doing cross-character story arcs, so maybe we could actually see Superman make his way into the next Batman game.
What would you like to see out of the next Batman and what were your thoughts on Arkham City? Would you like to see another Arkham prison game or could the series use a new setting?