As GameInformer.com's Batman: Arkham Origins exclusive coverage continues to unfold, we've had several details emerge from the October 25, 2013 game. The main villain will be Black Mask, leading a cadre of super-assassins including Deathstroke in a crusade against the Batman - a hero who has been in Gotham City for a bit over a year. The City itself will be over twice as large in playspace as the last entry in the series, Batman: Arkham City.
Today, more about the story of the game was finally divulged, including the writers and a couple more character reveals. Alfred and the Penguin will appear in the game, both with deep personal relationships with the young Batman. The story is "guided" by DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, and written by the team of Dooma Wendschuh and Corey May, whose resumé includes Assassin's Creed.
In a video interview with GI, Wendschuh and creative director Eric Holmes discussed more about the game and the Batman we'll find in this game, compared to the other games which take place later in the series.
Eight assassins gather in Gotham City on Christmas Eve with one main goal: to kill the Batman. The setting of Christmastime in Gotham is like saying, "Happy Birthday! You've got Cancer!" said Holmes. The idea of taking something good and something bad and throwing them at you simultaneously is a theme throughout the game.
While the team definitely drew from Batman: Year One, they point to the series Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight as their primary comic book inspiration for the tone and story of Arkham Origins.
Holmes again said that this is "a dream project" before the pair got into details. Wendschuh calls the setup to Origins "Batman's worst nightmare." The story will take him through the transition from "this young, less-polished Batman to the well-oiled machine that we know from Arkham City and Arkham Asylum."
But that transition won't be immediate. Moving from dealing with "petty criminals" and some mob bosses like the name-dropped Maronis and Falcones to the assassins puts him on a "whole different level of difficulty." Holmes said that while Batman is "used to being the strongest guy in the room, the fastest guy in the room," he'll find out "that changes tonight." The experience will be the impetus for him to "learn, to grow, to adapt."
Some of the differences players will find in this Batman are in the "awesome mistakes" he makes. For example, Holmes said during an interrogation, the young Batman chokes a suspect - and the suspect passes out, ending it before it can really begin. The story is about "filling in the cracks" in Batman and his supporting casts' history.
The title Origins isn't just about his early years, but also about the "origins of key relationships." Wendschuh reiterated, "We're not telling the story of Batman beginning, we're not telling the beginning of Arkham Asylum. We're telling the story of the many various and important relationships that play out through the two games."
While that tidbit seems to hint at a return of some key players like Catwoman, a playable character in the second entry, the duo was mum on all but the two characters above, Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth, and an arms dealer Batman has dealings with named Oswald Cobblepot - the Penguin.
"We wanted to look at the Batman and Alfred relationship in a different way, to make it look more relatable. He sees Alfred as an over-bearing parental figure, and Alfred sees him squandering his wealth on these crazy escapades," explained Wendschuh. "The two of them will clash" in the game, helping the story along as Batman tries to discover himself and his mission's true meaning.
Penguin, meanwhile, is "clearly untrustworthy," but is a source of information for Batman. "The game is really about what you can get and what you can use from anyone and anything in Gotham."
The writers heavily acknowledge the success of the prior games, saying they were heavily inspired and "want to continue that great work" and build on themes like "Law vs Justice."
"In our game he has to decide whether he's going to adhere to the Law, or break rules and deliver Justice to the people of Gotham," Wendshuh teased.
Batman: Arkham Origins hits Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on October 25, 2013, with a companion game, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate released for PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS the same day.