BURBANK, Calif. - Ben Affleck is poised to portray a new incarnation of the Caped Crusader in a film that also features Superman. However, the developers of the upcoming video game "Batman: Arkham Origins" are taking the character back to basics for the third installment in Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's popular "Arkham" series.
"Origins," which is primed for release Oct. 25, is set several years before 2009's "Arkham Asylum" and its 2011 sequel "Arkham City." The game unfolds over Christmas Eve during the second year of Bruce Wayne's tenor as the Dark Knight. The crime boss Black Mask has set a $50 million bounty on Batman's cowl-covered head and enlisted several assassins to collect on it.
"Batman is not complete yet," said Eric Holmes, the game's creative director. "He's not a smooth stone in the stream. He hasn't become this well-rounded character that's gone through a great deal of experience and really come to know who he is as a hero. He's got fire in his belly and a commitment to the fight against crime, but he doesn't fully understand what that means."
During a demonstration of the action-adventure game last week, Holmes showed off a level where Batman stealthily sneaks into Gotham police headquarters. First, he shot to the roof and quietly took down a few corrupt SWAT members before maneuvering through the complex, where he eavesdropped on a young James Gordon and his teenage daughter, Barbara.
Holmes noted that "Origins," which is being crafted by the Warner Bros. Games Montreal studio instead of "Arkham Asylum" and "Arkham City" developer Rocksteady Studios, will dive deeper into Batman's relationships with butler Alfred Pennyworth, future police commissioner James Gordon and Barbara Gordon, who goes on to become Batgirl and the Oracle.
"You do have certain expectations," said Holmes. "You can't kill Gordon because he's alive in the other games, but you can tell interesting stories about how these characters became who they were and therefore have revelations in that form. Speaking as a fan, that's what I'd want from a game in that space. I don't want to just be told, `They met, and then they were friends.'"