Welcome to Picture This, a thinkpiece series dedicated to potential videogame concepts!
These are not real videogames- yet. These are just concepts for games that have enough potential to become real, awesome gaming experiences.
For the first concept, I’m going to talk about how the Rocksteady formula in their Arkham series could be applied to the futuristic Gotham of Batman Beyond. The Arkham series is renowned not only for its open-world gameplay, but more so in how it made us gamers truly feel like the Batman. Over the course of the series, we’ve gotten to spend plenty of time as Bruce Wayne. With Arkham Knight closing out the series’ storyline, now is the perfect time to bring in Terry McGinnis.
As soon as I was able to change my batsuit to the Batman Beyond black and red design, I’ve wanted to play a true Batman Beyond Arkham game. In my mind, the game would work almost the same, with one major change. Throughout my time with the Arkham series, I’ve found that the gameplay is split into mostly combat, peppered with moments of stealth. I see it as a 70%/30% split, respectively. With Beyond Arkham, that balance would be flipped.
My issue with the stealth in the Arkham games is that it never really appealed to the stealth perfectionist in me. I never felt compelled to get through an area without alerting anyone (even if I could). Whenever I would use stealth, it would just be to set myself up for a fight. Sure, you could do stealth takedowns, but that was really about it. The Arkham games definitely have you focusing more on going all ninja on some thugs, rather than sticking to the shadows.
The main reason for Beyond Arkham’s focus on stealth over combat is due to the suit. The Beyond batsuit is equipped with a host of stealth technologies, from fingertip audio recorders to full-fledged invisibility. The advances in Bat-tech could be applied really well to making a more stealth-oriented Arkham game, as players are forced to maneuver around bad guys rather than get into a straight fight. Flying around the city, climbing up the sides of buildings and sneaking through windows, all in an attempt to acquire intel on the bad guys’ plans, could be a stealth fan’s Bat-dream.
The stealth focus doesn’t mean the combat is to take a seat, however. Don’t forget that the Beyond batsuit also augments Terry’s strength (tenfold, if my memory serves me correctly). This would make for super quick takedowns and feats of physical prowess otherwise impossible for a normal man to achieve. On the other hand, the weaponry the bad guys will possess will be equally enhanced in their deadliness. If players engage in combat, there needs to be more at stake than just waiting around for bad guys with lead pipes to try and attack you. Lasers, shock batons, and EMP grenades would just be the start of it.
As for the open-world level design, I’d also like to see more of a focus on detective work. You could pretty much play the whole Arkham series in Detective Mode and take all of the challenge out of it. Imagine having multiple lenses to look through, forcing players to choose the correct lens to discover a specific kind of evidence. Then imagine having to take that evidence back to the Batcave, where old man Bruce Wayne would use the Batcomputer to analyze it! I want a Batman game where I really feel like a detective, where I’m forced to use my wits and equipment to ascertain the information necessary to stop the bad guys. Basically, I want these games to stop holding my hand and let me be the goddamn Batman.
The Arkham series is a great one, but I always felt like it could be something more. Moving the series into Terry McGinnis’ Neo-Gotham could be the perfect platform for an even better Batman game. Making the series more stealth- and detective-focused, rather than putting all the fun in the combat, would be a great move. There’s such a rich universe to explore with Batman Beyond that I think it’s a shame Rocksteady is ending the series now. Given the right approach, Batman: Beyond Arkham could be a one-of-a-kind gaming experience.