Patrick Dane writes for Bleeding Cool
A week or so ago, I was sitting down to listen to Warner Bros.' Q4 financial review. Out of nowhere, John K. Martin dropped a quiet bombshell:
We also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise. So all in all, we expect Warners to post another very strong year in 2013.
It was a quick statement in a pretty long conference call, so the exact quote escaped me and I ended up not running a story, unsure that I'd even heard any news. A few days later Yahoo got to the transcript up and Coming Soon broke to the news first first.
So, what exactly do we know about the new Arkham game? The only concrete fact is that they've scheduled it for some point later this year, and that's all courtesy of the quote up there. However, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that it will be released just before Christmas.
We also know the name of the game, even if we don't know it yet. A month ago, news got out that 15 domain names that had been registered with the Arkham trademark.
And now for the less concrete stuff. Most of the major rumours about a new Batman game come from a story by Variety back in July 2012. They said that the game would be a prequel set during the silver age, and would feature Batman's first meeting with the Joker.
They also reported the game would feature other Justice League members. This, it's was supposed, would be to get more casual fans used to seeing Batman along side his super friends ahead of the in-development Justice League movie.
Of course, the movie is in a bit of a ditch at the moment after the last script was reportedly binned for being "terrible". So while there's possibly less pressure to include the JLA, going back to the drawing board to remove the characters could end up being more hassle than it would ever be worth.
But things do get a little more confusing. Back in Variety's original article, they reported that the game would be developed by Rocksteady, creators of the previous Arkham games. It hardly felt like news, since we all expected it, but it's beginning now to look like less simple.
VG24/7 have asked their 'sources' about the newly-confirmed game and word came back that:
Rocksteady Studios is not developing this particular game.
And at the same time, the story does allude faintly to a prequel game still being in development at Rocksteady. The buzz we've been hearing is that it won't be ready for release until at least 2014.
Videogamer spotted that Warner Bros. Games Montreal are currently looking for a creative director and a producer to work on a "AAA action adventure" game with the:
development team responsible for expanding the DC Comics universe in the interactive space.
Warner Bros. Games Montreal dealt with the WII U port of Arkham City, and their senior producer Ben Mattes tweeted that the company were going to announce "something" in "grand fashion" in two to three months time. There's no guarantee of it being an Arkham game, or even a Batman one, but things do seem to be lining up here.
So lets recap: Rocksteady do seem to be developing a new Batman game that follows the details outlined by Variety, although it will be at least a year until we see that game. But Warner Brothers have now stated clearly that we will be getting a game in the Arkham franchise this year. We now believe it isn't being developed by Rocksteady… meanwhile Warner Bros. Games Montreal are developing a new AAA DC-related action adventure game, with big news break coming in the next few months.
So either, someone has mispoken about the new game or the Arkham series could become a shared franchise, much like how Call of Duty is split between Infinity Ward and Treyarch. If that is the case, then lets just hope the franchise doesn't suffer the same kind of tired overexposure that the aforementioned CoD piles higher with every passing year.