Warner Bros. Interactive and Rocksteady Games made waves this week with the release of their new Batmobile trailer for the upcoming highly anticipated sequel Batman: Arkham Knight. The new trailer confirms that Arkham Knight has been pushed back to 2015, rather than the originally announced release date of October 2014. Arkham Knight marks the end of Rocksteady Games’ incredible Arkham Trilogy of Batman games. This will be the last game in the franchise as the company will move on to other things. With all that in mind, a delay for a title such as this calls for celebration, rather than complaints.
The delay rumors for Arkham Knight actually go back to April 2014. A Bleeding Cool report of the DC All Access panel at WonderCon 2014 said that a trailer for the game shown during the presentation called for a 2015 release instead of the original October 2014 launch. However, there were conflicting reports on what was shown during the panel. Less than two months later, the report has proven to be accurate.
Now, the bad news is that fans will have to wait longer for the game. The Arkham games, due to their amazing gameplay, storytelling, and exceptional overall quality, are events for gamers and dedicated comic fans alike. Warner Bros. Interactive will have one less huge title to release for the holiday period to boost sales–one that would likely be eligible for many prestigious gaming awards this year.
However, the good news to take from this is that we know that Rocksteady Games will not allow Arkham Knight to be rushed to the shelves. Let’s go back to October 2013 when Batman: Arkham Origins was released. The title was marred by a multitude of glitches and bugs that affected peoples’ views of the title and overall gameplay experience. Arkham Origins, developed by Warner Bros. Games Montreal, lacked that extra polish, spit shine, and layer of smoothness that truly put Arkham Asylum and Arkham City over the top. Those elements made the games genre-transcending titles. To be clear, I do not think Arkham Origins was a bad game, just a flawed one. It did get overly attacked for being either too much like Arkham City, or some expectations for the game were a little downright unrealistic. Was the game fun to play? I’d say so. But was it flawed? Most definitely. The game likely needed a little extra time so those glitches and bugs could be smoothed out.
For a big AAA title, extra time means extra polish. When I previously interviewed UFC Undisputed producer Neven Dravinski, he extolled the advantages of the extra time that was available before the release of UFC Undisputed 3. Dravinski explained, “I mean as a producer, I’ll always take the extra time. It makes for a better game. It makes for a more polished experience. Doing an annualized title, especially if you don’t have two studios working on it, it’s tough. I mean you’re really limited in the actual time for development.” He added that the extra layer of polish came at the end of production saying, “So I would say the things that came on ‘last minute,’ quote/unquote, were really the things that were just those polished elements that made for a stronger, stronger product.”
When you look at a title such as Mass Effect 3, you have to remember the fallout of the ending. This became a national news story. The ending of the game left fans confused and in a rage. The developer, BioWare, was later forced to placate fans in the form of a free DLC component with scenes that basically completed the ending. Now one might ask, did BioWare rush the game toward the end? Was BioWare rushed by publisher EA to get the game, which features a huge and epic sci-fi story, out on the shelves in time for its release? Personally, I find it hard to believe the game was not rushed; hence the confusing and apparently unfinished ending that made little sense.
To those who would complain that this is more time than Rocksteady Games took for Arkham City, there are some elements that must be kept in mind. This is the first Arkham Knight game developed for the new-gen consoles. Also, the use of the Batmobile is something new to the franchise, unlike anything before. Plus, there are likely large chunks for the Gotham City sandbox that had to be designed and built from the ground up.
So, Rocksteady Games’ choice to delay Arkham Knight may not be a popular one, but it is most likely the right one. We’ve waited long enough for our conclusion to the Arkham franchise. So, waiting a little longer should not be that big of a deal. When I pick up Arkham Knight, I want the best game possible. If that means waiting a little longer, so be it.