Batman: Arkham Asylum - Megathread - One of the best this year?

Jan 29, 2009
For the most part, superhero games have only managed to be "good" and not "great" in the past. But we may get something very special when Batman: Arkham Asylum releases in June (yep, another potentially hot June title).

According to MCVUK, Eidos says that Batman will be one of the biggest productions of 2009 and moreover, it will "set a new benchmark for licensed video games." As the article points out, this is yet another bold claim from a publisher; you may recall Activision's statement saying that Modern Warfare 2 will be the "#1 entertainment property" of the year. But despite the perceived rashness of such claims, from what we've seen of Arkham Asylum, we're almost ready to believe Eidos. Said head of UK marketing Jon Brooke:

"We expect Batman Arkham Asylum to not only be the biggest game of the summer but one of the stand-out games of the year. It’s as close to perfect as we’ve ever come, it looks amazing, plays beautifully and has a rich twisting storyline with enormous replayability. I’m confident enough to say that it will set a new benchmark for licensed games and it’s going to establish itself as one of our best games ever."

...if that's not confidence, we don't know what is. Brooke also went on to say that they've got some serious advertising and marketing lined up to push the game, and it'll run for about four months. He says it's their "biggest campaign of the year" and they're definitely going to "make some noise." Well, we don't mind that. If you haven't done so already, check out the latest video for the game; the Invisible Predator Trailer. As you can see, this title really does have a ton of potential, and those of you waiting for Infamous - which releases right around the same time - may be faced with a tough decision...

Source: - Eidos: Batman
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Jan 29, 2009
Eidos and Warner Bros. are teaming up to create a collector’s edition for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 and Xbox 360 videogame. The collector’s edition will include a 14” Batarang (complete with stand) that matches the in-game design, an “Arkham Doctor’s Journal” with 48 pages of notes on Arkham’s inmates that comes in a leather dust jacket, and a Behind-the-scenes DVD—along with the game of course. The map will also come with a code for a special downloadable challenge map, entitled “Crime Alley.” We’re not sure if the doctor’s journal will actually contain helpful information for dealing with in-game characters, but considering the style of the game’s art, it should be pretty cool either play—plus we can add information on all of our crazy co-workers to it as well!

Batman: Arkham Asylum is scheduled to be released back into the general population on June.


Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
It would seem that, far from being a complete waste of time, PlayStation Home can actually be a good source of leaked news. Advertisements for Batman: Arkham Asylum littered Home today promoting the fact that the hot looking game will allow you to play as The Joker. That's right, Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime will be yours to enjoy.

The ads have since been taken down and it would appear that we were not supposed to know about it yet. However, the world has inadvertently been made aware that "exclusive challenge maps" will let players take control of Batman's notorious arch nemesis. Whether or not these maps are simply exclusive to Joker, or exclusive to the PS3 entirely, is up for debate. The Home integration would seem to suggest that PS3 fans have a little bonus treat in store, however.

If this is indeed a PS3 exclusive, I believe I know which system I'll be picking this one up for. Not that Sony ever writes checks to allow this sort of thing.

[Update: Eidos and Warner Bros.' PR lasers were set to blast, confirming this not long after the story went live. Yes, this will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3, and The Joker will be available as a free download when the game is released. It appears he'll only be playable in the game's Challenge Maps.

More information can be found in the June issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine, so go on and find that. Also... new screenshot of the Joker!]


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beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
IGN: What is FreeFlow Combat?

Sefton Hill: FreeFlow Combat is designed to let the player experience what it is like to be the master of hand-to-hand combat, allowing them to showdown with huge groups of the Joker's henchmen in brutal melee brawls while chaining together unlimited combos seamlessly.

The player is not limited by which animations can link together or by having to learn a series of button combinations to pull off a move. They are free to perform any move at any time and as long as this move is successful, the player can continue this flow until they have taken down all the villains!

The combat has a unique look and feel. All of the moves flow beautifully together because of the way that Batman reacts to his attackers based on their positions and attacks. Each fight session looks beautifully choreographed, however the player is in complete control at all times.

IGN: How does it work from the player's perspective?

Sefton Hill: The main moves from the start of the game are the strike, counter, cape stun, redirect and ground takedown.

The strike is self explanatory and allows Batman to attack in any direction. The counter button allows Batman to block and then counter incoming assailants. This is definitely one of the most satisfying moves to pull off, as Batman catches an incoming fist or grabs the leg as a thug tries to kick him and then exacts a swift, painful response.

The redirect move causes Batman to vault over incoming thugs or flip out of the way of attacks. This move gives players more space and time when surrounded, and the cape stun move uses the weighted tips of Batman's cape to temporarily stun all thugs within close proximity. Both of these moves become essential tactics for some of the more skilful and well armed thugs later in the game.

Finally, there is the ground takedown move. This is an immediate knockout move that can be pull off after knocking a thug to the ground, but it is risky to do as it leaves players vulnerable while they perform the knockout blow.

The key to successful and powerful combat in Batman: Arkham Asylum is chaining all these moves together. This is done by linking together three attacking moves in quick succession. When this is done, players enter FreeFlow and all moves become much more powerful and cover a much greater range. All of these moves can be used as part of the combo flow, with the long range ground takedown particularly spectacular as Batman summersaults and spins in the air before landing on his target and punching them out. As long as players continue to perform successful moves, this combo can continue indefinitely! However, if they make a mistake, they will lose their combo and leave themselves vulnerable to attack.

Once players have mastered the basics they can introduce Batarangs, the Batclaw, takedowns and throws into their combo flow, all of which increase strategic choices even further and must be used against tougher enemies further along in the game.

IGN: How is it different from your typical button-mashing system?

Sefton Hill: Button mashing will only get you so far because you will quickly lose your combo and attacks will become much less effective. Against the weakest enemies in the game this will mean you will get hit if you do not counter the incoming attacks and just try to strike through these. Against the tougher enemies armed with knives and stun sticks, you will get punished even more if you make the wrong decision at the wrong time.

To take down enemies successfully you need to constantly assess multiple variables within the game: who is my next target, what is the most effective move to use on that target and then get the timing right for that attack. In order to master the FreeFlow system you need to make split second decisions on all three of these areas constantly which takes a very quick assessment of the situation and a lot of skill!

There is also a critical strike bonus which doubles the power of each strike. However, in order to use this power you need to get the timing of each strike perfect. If you mash the buttons you will never get the critical strike bonus.

IGN: Why did it seem like a good fit for Batman?

Sefton Hill: The FreeFlow system was designed with Batman in mind. We wanted a system that makes players feel like the ultimate melee combat master when they pick up and play Batman: Arkham Asylum for the first time. We really felt that it was important for first time players to experience what it is like to be Batman. Batman does not have any trouble dispatching any of The Joker's thugs, so why should the player struggle with this? At the same time we also designed the system to support large brawls with lots of different types of characters because Batman is going to be up against some of the toughest opponents he has ever faced all at once.

IGN: How do you keep the experience of fighting fresh? When I got to take on a roomful of bad guys at GDC, it was fun, but how do you keep that feeling alive five hours into the title?

Sefton Hill: When we started work on the FreeFlow system our goal was never to make something that would be fun for a few minutes or even hours. We always wanted to create something that could work as a standalone game on its own because Batman's melee combat skills demand that he has a great combat mechanic - this can't just be a novelty experience. To deliver this we developed the FreeFlow in isolation from the rest of the game to ensure that it was good enough to justify its place not just as part of a larger experience, but as a core mechanic in its own right.

In the main story mode you start off fighting a few of The Joker's henchman and things quickly ratchet up as they scavenge new weapons from around the asylum and attack in much greater numbers. This forces players to use more advanced tactics including the evade and cape stun to subdue these henchmen. On top of this, there are more advanced enemies, such as the deformed henchmen (you get a sneak peak of in the combat trailer) that requires its own unique tactics to takedown and changes the overall fight dynamic completely as players figure out how to use the enemies against each other. In Batman: Arkham Asylum the player's constant need to select the best move, the direction of the move and get the timing right keeps the gameplay fresh throughout the entire story. And, of course, players are rewarded after each fight with extra XP for achieving a high combo and also for the amount of variety in move selection.

Beyond the story, the gameplay of the FreeFlow continues in the challenge maps where the goal is to perfect the flow and get the best scores possible. In these maps, each move has a score and this is multiplied by the current combo count. Players must to choose when to perform particular moves to get the best score, but also to keep the combo multiplier going. At the end of each level, bonuses are given for variety and not having taken damage. There is also a special "flawless" bonus for completing an entire round in one single combo flow. Each map is graded by score, and to get the top rank of three medals, players need to keep their combo flow going and pull off a great variety of moves.

Even within the studio, having played it for over a year, scores are still increasing each week as players get better and there's a massive difference between the scores players can achieve depending on how skilful they are. I was actually playing the hardest combat challenge map myself last night to try and get up on the leaderboard. I started at midnight for a quick 20-minute go and didn't finish playing until 4 in the morning!

IGN: Does the fact that there's a focus on the hand-to-hand combat mean that we won't be using Batman's gadgets as much in this game when it comes to taking bad guys down?

Sefton Hill: Batman can use most of his gadgets effectively in hand-to-hand combat in some way. The Batarang and Batclaw can be used as part of the FreeFlow at any time. The Batarang can even be upgraded allowing the player to throw three of these at once, which is really useful for crowd control.

The player can also use the explosive gel to place traps when they feel there may be an ambush. The Line Launcher (a horizontal zip line that Batman can fire out) can also be used as an entrance to combat, with Batman flying in and kicking down anyone in his way while on the launcher.


beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
Milwaukee, WI

The Internets are burning up with rumors about Batman: Arkham Asylum getting delayed until the fall and moments ago, Warner Bros. confirmed the bad news with IGN.

"Eidos Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment can today confirm that Batman: Arkham Asylum will be released at the end of summer 2009," a spokesperson said. "This additional time will allow us to ensure Batman: Arkham Asylum is of the highest quality for gamers."

As gamers will recall, Arkham Asylum was set to be released on June 23, 2009. Summer officially ends in September, so look for Batman's latest adventure -- a third-person action title pitting him and his gadgets against everyone in the nuthouse -- sometime around then.