I think it would be great to control Batman as he learns to take down these 'super heroes' who have confronted him, which leads into the formation of the Justice League.
First off, I love that it's gonna be set in the silver age, but the most important thing by far in a video-game is game-play.
I'd like to see the combat engine animations and control rebuilt from the ground up with a focus on 2-player Batman and Robin co-op, with the game designed to encourage and reward teamwork at all times. Good co-op games, that aren't shooters are getting more and more rare in the industry.
A young Damian Wayne or Dick Grayson Robin, in a brightly colored outfit would serve as a great foil for the large dark Batman character, but from a practical standpoint, I think the classic yellow Robin cape has to kept, (in place of the dark one he had in City) for players to quickly and easily distinguish their character on screen, in a game where the players character is mostly seen from behind, especially during combat.
Here's a few ideas:
As the two players fight in free flow combat, it should be impossible for one to mess up the others combo. The game should enter a mini double team animation if both player strike an enemy at the same time, with the game subtly redirecting a player towards another enemy if he attacks one already being taken down in a special animation by the other player. If the players cross paths moving around the area they automatically move around each other rather than through each other, with the faster Robin quickly and acrobatically scrambling over Batman at times, and both characters moving other times, depending on the space around them and where they're
facing respectively when they meet.
When the Robin player presses up on the d-pad, he enters a back to back formation with Batman, where Batman controls movement, Robin automatically follows, and both player fight. Batman or Robin can separate from this formation anytime by tapping up, and while the players are separate Batman can call for robin by tapping up, ultimately the decision to form up back to back is therefore left to Robin. For simplicity I'll just refer to the players as being "joined up" when they enter this state from now on. In this joined state, Robin can easily fight at Batman's back, or face the same direction and simultaneously attack the same enemy as Batman. Unlike Arkham City, this would allow joined up players to counter different kinds of attacks (such as regular and knife) at the same time. It would operate much like Metal Gear Solid Peace Walkers excellent "snake formation" mechanic, except with a greater radius of influence, allowing the players to expand their joined circle briefly up to a point, if they attack enemies in opposite directions, before they are quickly and automatically pulled together again.
When they join up, the 2 players take on the combo multiplier of the player who had the higher multiplier, this is shared between the players and built on until they separate or are separated by the enemies, allowing for high combos to be built up quickly and access to special double team moves while joined up, when the multiplier is high enough. A portion of the combo built up while the players are joined, is added to their previous individual totals when they separate. While the players are joined up the multiplier isn't dropped if only one of them messes up (misses, or repeats certain attacks), but if either one is hit they are separated.
All these things offer incentive for the players to join up, and will even make it worthwhile for an experienced player to fight with an inexperienced co-op partner, but they can't move around the area as quickly or cover as much ground while back to back, leading to the players having to separate from time to time.
Certain enemies should be designed around Robins skill-set, and others Batman's, while more powerful enemies will be a lot easier to deal with if the players join up.
An option for Batman to hold an enemy while the Robin player takes him out, would be a good nod to classic 2 player beat em ups like Double Dragon, and the 60's t.v. show at the same time.
In single player mode, I think Rocksteady could experiment with a system where players can switch between control of Batman and Robin immediately and on the fly, the character not being controlled by the player at any given time could be controlled by AI.
The smoke pellets are a classic Batman tool, that were added to great effect in the last game, similarly I'd like to see a little more use made of the cape in the next game. A combat mechanic where Batman uses his flame retardant cape to shield him from the effects of fire, smoke, and gases such as tear gas, could be pulled of using something as simple as holding the down the cape stun button, or using the counter button in another way. This could work very well in conjunction with enemies that use flame attacks (such as flamethrowers or petrol bombs) or tear gas, and would add another layer of variety to combat. Also when Batman walks, he should keep the cape the cape wrapped around himself, it's just a much more stylish and iconic image of Batman, than his current walking animation in the games.
For the predator stealth sections, Batman and Robin could "spot" enemies for each other, making their location visible on both players screens, this would work well with a more limited detective vision, which most players still leave on almost permanently in Arkham City, switching it off only for the occasional jammer. Causing distractions for the other player, areas they have to team up to access, areas only Batman can access, smaller spaces such as vents etc that only Robin can access, and enemies they have to team up to take down, would all be fun gameplay elements.
I think this game is a bad idea.
I like the concpet of including the JL and having a Joker origin story at some point and in seperate games but Arkham City left a lot of teasers for a sequel- Hush being Bruce Wayne, the warnings from Azrael, Ras' body disapearing again. . . And with these comes great opportunity for a non-Joker centric storyline after such a great Joker death story.
Now they want to tell ANOTHER Joker story after Hamill has retired from the role instead of continuing with the story threads they deliberately planted in AC!?! And the JL plug during Joker's first appearance just seems something tacked on because DC wants to generate hype for the JL before their movie.
Am I the only one who thinks this prequel concept is stupid and the wrong direction for the Arkham game franchise?
The Co op thing shouldn't happen. The gameplay is already perfect for the series, you only risk ruining the brand by changing it that much.
The grandmaster's of all developers, Nintendo, are constantly innovating and leading the way in terms of game-play and innovative game design, Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Series varies substantially between iterations if you study the game-play mechanics in depth.
Thinking outside the box and re-invention is what separates the best from the rest, I love the Arkham games, but City was really like Asylum 1.5 IMO, as good as it was (and I have 100% trophies in both), they seem to be marketing this next game as something of a reboot, a breakaway from the excellent Arkham games, which I'm all for. Bravery like that is a great sign of a developer, I say go nuts and make something truly fresh.
Mindless FPS games are saturating the market at the moment, what was the last good 3rd person co-op beat-em-up?. I think I'd have to go back as far as Final Fight....lol. Who wouldn't like to play a well made, properly designed B&R game with their buddies?, especially in this internet age where you don't even have to call around to your friend's house.
The risk of parting drastically from past iterations of a video game is doing some times that risk doesn't work too well. A couple of cases in point for Nintendo are Wind Waker and the Virtual Boy. Then consider the Wii which is now being replaced by the WiiU because people were excited when the Wii first came out but most gamers were disinterested and didn't care about the new innovations while PS3 and xbox 360 are still going strong.
I'm all for uping the anty and changing things up a bit but sometimes you don't reinvent the wheel, especially when fan excitement is piqued. You also don't scrub plans for a sequel you laid the foundation for to do a prequel!
It's not like we'll only get one game or the other. I don't understand how getting two Bat games from a company that's doing it absolute justice is even remotely a bad thing?
3D games were a strange beast until Nintendo showed the world how to make one with the all time classic Super Mario 64. Then people started wondering how to make combat work in a 3D space, here come Nintendo again with Ocarina, complete with z-targeting lock on, and context sensitive buttons. I thought Windwaker was outstanding (although collecting the Tri-force pieces from the ocean towards the end was a bit drawn out.....mind you that was because of trouble behind the scenes and a dungeon being cut).
As for the Wii, is it gimmicky?, hell yes, but it was a brave intelligent decision at the time that paid off in a BIG way, and more importantly was the platform that claimed arguably the best 2 games of the last few years, Mario Galaxy 2 and Skyward Sword (I say that as an owner of all the modern consoles). Mario Galaxy 2 in particular is just bursting with imagination and genius game design. The DS was also great, Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass were fantastic re-inventions of the old-school top down Zelda's (of which A Link to The Past is my all time favorite game btw). Ultra responsive touch screen controls, blowing into the mike to out torches, and use one of your weapons, shutting the screens on top of one another to complete a map, classic Nintendo intelligence .
I'd love to see Rocksteady take a concept like B&R co-op, perhaps JL cameos and a few other things and design their game around those concepts from the ground up. Enemies and environments that exist for the players to use and experiment with new game play elements.
Anyways that's my 2 cents, the fresher the better and bring on the co-op!