Batman: Arkham Asylum, a video game developed by Rocksteady Studios, was one of the most critically-acclaimed titles of 2009. Its sequel, Batman: Arkham City, sold two million copies the week of its debut, helping to make it one of the most popular titles of 2011. Now comes word of the third installment in the Arkham franchise – a sprawling brawler entitled Batman: Arkham Origins.
According to the magazine Game Informer, which has put Arkham Origins on the cover of its May 2013 issue, Arkham Origins is a prequel to Arkham City and Arkham Asylum. It will take place several years before those games, on a snowy Christmas eve, as eight assassins, including the fan-favorite Deathstroke, elbow each other out of the way in an attempt to take down Batman.
The game will hit shelves on Oct. 25 on the Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox 360, and the PC – a launch timed to coincide with the start of the holiday shopping season. That same day, Game Informer reports, Warner Bros. will also release Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a Batman title for the Sony Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Blackgate is "a 2.5-D Metroid-style exploration action game," Game Informer says.
One important thing to note here: Arkham Origins is the first game in the series not to be produced by the well-respected British studio Rocksteady. Instead, development duties have fallen to WB Games Montréal, a studio that Matt Peckham of Time describes as a "relatively young WB offshoot" without "much of a track record at this point." Of course, Rocksteady didn't have much of record before releasing the first Arkham game.
It'll be a tricky balancing act for WB Games Montréal, which must honor the things that made Arkham City and Arkham Asylum great – the excellent combat system, the immersive and darkly beautiful world, and the tight storyline – while also bringing its own innovations to the franchise. As die-hard Batman fans, all we can say is that we hope the folks up there in Canada make it work.
For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.