Rocksteady Opens up on Batman: Arkham Knight Villains, Batmobile and Console Capabilities

Batman: Arkham Knight has been dominating the headlines as of late with leaked images and rumors of a launch date to official screenshots. So, what else can the caped crusader be up to? During our time at GDC this year, we got to share a moment with Rocksteady and find out what’s going on with their latest title. There’s talk of next-gen involvement, side quests, villains, the Batmobile and more. Special thanks to Dax Ginn and Gaz Deaves for their time.

[Hardcore Gamer] Let’s start off with the obvious question: is Scarecrow the main villain in the game?

[Rocksteady] Scarecrow is the principle threat against Gotham City during the events of Batman: Arkham Knight. We find him essentially filling the part left after the death of Joker at the end of Arkham City and uniting the Rogues Gallery against Batman to put pressure on him from every side in a bid to finally take down the Dark Knight once and for all.

In Asylum he was more of a secondary character, so why put him in the spotlight here?

We think Scarecrow is a really strong character. He understands fear in a way that matches Batmans’. Batman has always used fear to get what he wants to; as a weapon. Scarecrow also understands that so he’s an excellent counterpoint to that part of Batman’s personality. He’s also a hugely a very popular villain. One of the points that kept coming up when fans would tell us what they want in the new game, “it’s got to be Scarecrow, got to be Scarecrow.” It’s great to deliver that. And the psychological gameplay that you get from the Scarecrow—there’s no other villain that does that.


“Our attitude is: ‘how do we make the most awesome gameplay experience we can?'”

In some ways it’s reminiscent of Batman Begins by introducing Scarecrow as the main villain and a redesigned Batmobile. Was there any influence from the film?

We tend to do our own thing and it’s a question we get a lot. I think the assumption is we look at other movies, comics and cartoons and making that a game. But our attitude is: ‘how do we make the most awesome gameplay experience we can?’ The design of our Batmobile is influenced by the design of the Batmobile we did in Arkham Asylum. You can see very clear visual connections between the two.

We saw Riddler and Scarecrow, can we expect anymore top shelf villains?

There’s a couple in there. You saw Two-Face and Penguin in the demo and will be featured in the game. The trailer also features Harley Quinn who will be playable during Challenge Maps for the first time in the series.

Of course you didn’t work on Arkham Origins, but will any elements from that tie into the game at all?

There’s a lot of territory between Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight. So, our focus for the entire development of Origins has been waiting on this. I think a lot of people will find that Arkham Knight will wrap up [our] trilogy of games and bring them all to a conclusion.


“Arkham Knight will wrap up our trilogy of games and bring them all to a conclusion.”

What about the next-gen hardware? Have you been able to take advantage of it besides increased graphics resolution?

The main thing we wanted to do, with Rocksteady being a visual studio at our hearts, was use the power of next-gen hardware to really deliver an amazing graphical experience that wouldn’t have been possible on previous generations. You saw the amount of detail we’ve built into Gotham also the destruction of the Batmobile driving into the corners of buildings, smashing through and really giving gamers the feeling of taking control of this legendary vehicle and smashing it through the city like a wrecking ball.

Can we expect the utilization of any next-gen features like the Kinect or PS4 Light Bar?

There’s always some stuff that we’re assessing. It’s such an exciting time in development at the moment so we always look at features not as how we can crowbar something in, but how can we deliver a more authentic Batman experience than we’ve been able to do. We always look at new peripheral hardware features in-service of the Batman design. If there’s something that works and makes sense, it’d be something we would be interested in.

Is everything seamless? Can we expect any loading screens walking through doors or anything like that?

Did you see any today?

I did not see any today. That’s why I had to ask.

Then you’re not getting any. That is totally what we can do with next-gen hardware. That scene was transitioned from gameplay to narrative and out again from an external/internal environments making it a completely seamless game.


“We wanted to really switch [it] up this time around so it didn’t just feel like he is a main narrative part in a load of side missions”

How much will side-quests factor into the game in comparison to Arkham City?

It’s something that we wanted to really switch up this time around so it didn’t just feel like he is a main narrative part in a load of side missions. Every single story thread that is available is really about one other big character. Penguin has got a big thread; Two-Face has a big thread. We wanted to blur that line between, “I’m in a main part or I’m in a side part” to just feel like “I’m in Gotham City and I’m making tough choices and decisions about what I’m going to do next.” So, you’ll encounter different villains and members of the Rogues Gallery in a way that’s not going to feel like you’re departing from the main part in order to do that, it’s just part of a continuous experience.

Everyone expected Arkham Knight to be Batman. Given that it turned out to be an original character, will we see him in any future Batman properties, or is he exclusive to the game world you’ve created?

The Arkham Knight? I don’t know. He’s a very important character and a very exciting character and the opportunity to design him has been amazing. Let’s see what the reactions are like. If gamers get as excited for the Arkham Knight as we have been, I can totally see him on a t-shirt.

Would you be excited to see him in comic books?

Of course, yeah.

Is the Batmobile destructible? Can it be shot down in the midst of a chase or anything like that? 

It’s pretty indestructible in most ways but there are some things in the world that challenge it in the same way that an assault rifle would challenge Batman even though he feels indestructible, there are weaknesses there. Keep your eye for that.

So, it’s a tank then. 

It’s a tank in lots of ways, yeah.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released in October for PS4, Xbox One and PC.