Batman: Arkham Asylum
DC Comics hasn’t had a particularly good run of things lately. To be frank, the publisher has done blown it a number of times over the past few years. But don’t worry, DC fans — I’m sure it’ll soon be Marvel’s turn, as the two rivals seem to trade off every five years or so.
I’ve been calling out DC for the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean everything it does strikes me as wrong. It’s important to declare shenanigans, but it’s also important to recognize when a publisher does something that’s good for comics.
So here are six things DC is doing right:
1. Digital comics: Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman are digital-first anthology series that feature some excellent creators (from Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee to J.M. DeMatteis and Jeff Lemire) producing completely accessible and entertaining stories that stand on their own; no college course on the New 52 or Crisis on Infinite Earths required. Yes, these stories are out of continuity — so for a percentage of readers, they don’t count. That’s a mistake, because there’s nothing wrong with a straight-up superhero tale that exists on its own terms. These two anthologies are the gems of DC’s digital-first line-up, but Batman ’66 and Batman: Li’l Gotham also offer fantastical takes on the iconic Caped Crusader that are bright and fun. For those exhausted by the angsty versions of serious stories, you owe it to yourself to check these out.
Rocksteady Studios, the British developer behind Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Batman: Arkham City, is believed to be developing a new installment of the blockbuster video-game series that will feature Superman, Wonder Woman and DC Comics’ other major heroes.
Variety reports the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game will serve as a prequel to 2009′s Arkham Asylum and revolve around Batman’s first meeting with his arch-nemesis The Joker, which apparently occurs around the time of the Justice League’s formation. Although the trade paper references DC comics of the 1950s, it seems more likely the team lineup will reflect the publisher’s New 52.
Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, don’t look for Warner Bros. Interactive to return to movie tie-ins anytime soon.
Instead, the new Warner Bros. Games Montreal has been given a mandate: to just make good video games. Specifically, good games based on DC Comics properties. “It’s really about make the game what it needs to be and forget the movies,” Reid Schneider, the studio’s head of production, told Canadian Business.
“If you look over the past decade of superhero games, there were two. The first one was when Neversoft made Spider-Man — I think it was back on the PS1. People were like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ and then a couple of things came out that were okay,” he said. “Then Rocksteady came out with Arkham Asylum and that again changed the expectations. If you look at the similarities between the two, they weren’t based on movies per se. They were just taking that really rich fiction from the comic books and exploring the characters. It’s not about hitting the movie date or some arbitrary date — it was giving the game the time it needs to be successful and really just concentrating on the quality of it.”
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
Strap yourself in, kids, because this is going to be a big one, as we run through the lengthy and considerable career of one of mainstream comics’ biggest stars, Grant Morrison.
If you were perplexed by the Robin design released last month for Batman: Arkham City by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment, you weren’t alone. Some Robot 6 commenters referred to the look as “Eminem” and even (shudder) “horribly Schumacher-esque,” while at the Batman: Arkham City Community forums the discussion continued at length.
Now, however, Rocksteady Studios senior concept artist Kan Muftic has stepped forward with “the final word on Robin,” providing some insight into the game’s version of Tim Drake and revealing an additional piece of color concept art.
“We wanted to create a Robin that players would identify as a contemporary character and move away from the traditional ‘Boy Wonder’ image that most people know,” Muftic wrote in a message posted on the forum. “Our vision of Robin is the one of a troubled young individual that is calm and introverted at times but very dangerous and aggressive if provoked. The shaved head is inspired by cage fighters, because we thought that Robin might be doing that in his spare time to keep him on his toes. Still, we kept all the classic trademarks of Robin’s appearance, such as the red and yellow colors of his outfit, the cape and the mask. We really hope that people will discover our Robin as one of their new favorite characters in the Batman universe. He is back and he means business.”
Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the bestselling 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. Robin will be available as a playable character in the challenge mode to those in North America who pre-order the game from Best Buy.
Arkham City will be released Oct. 18 in North America and Oct. 21 in Europe.
Following leaks on retail websites, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have finally confirmed that Robin will be a fully playable character in the challenge mode of Batman: Arkham City, the hotly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed 2009 video game Arkham Asylum.
However, the “Tim Drake Robin pack” — yes, it’s Tim Drake, not Dick Grayson — is available only to those in North America who pre-order the game from Best Buy. So, sorry, fans of Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne and … anyone outside of North America.
Batman: Arkham City is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. Robin, who comes with his own gadgets and special moves, will be playable in all challenge maps, as well as to additional maps included with the pack — Black Mask Hideout and Freight Train Escape. There’s also a bonus Red Robin character skin.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City will debut in October.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this morning announced Batman: Arkham City as the title for the follow-up to its bestselling video game Batman: Arkham Asylum.
For those who have been following along, the title doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as ArkhamCity.com and BatmanArkhamCity.com topped a list of Batman-related domain names purchased in recent months by Warner Bros.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, the London-based studio behind 2009′s Arkham Asylum, Arkham City will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC next fall. (Warner Bros. acquired a majority stake in the developer in February.)
According to Warner Bros., the game will send players into Arkham City, the new maximum-security home for all of Gotham’s “thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.” Arkham City “introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”
Officially announced in December, the sequel is reported to feature such villains as Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Talia al Ghul, the Riddler and the Joker, the latter voiced for a final time by Mark Hamill.
Batman: Arkham Asylum debuted in August 2009, and sold 2 million copies in its first three weeks of release.
Warner Bros. announced today it has bought a controlling stake in Rocksteady Studios, London-based developer of the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game.
Although specific financial terms weren’t released, the deal gives Warner Bros. 68.4-percent interest in the six-year-old Rocksteady.
“The biggest gap this fills is that it locks in development talent on one of our most valuable pieces of intellectual property for games: Batman,” Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros. Entertainment Group, told the Financial Times.
This is only the latest recent video-game acquisition by the entertainment giant, which in 2007 purchased LEGO franchise developer TT Games, and last year bought Snowblind Studios and the assets of the bankrupt Midway Games.
Debuting in August 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum sold a reported 2 million copies in its first three weeks of release. To date, more than 3 million units have shipped worldwide. A sequel was announced in December.