[RUMOUR CONTROL] Insurgency vs Apocalypse

Over the last few months we’ve been hearing repeated rumours of a new Batman game that is in development starring Grant Morisson’s creation Damian Wayne. Earlier this week, we picked up another rumour for an in-development Batman game that will be a sequel to 2013’s Arkham Origins. Here, we aim to tackle both of these head-on and get down to what’s actually going on, what’s just bouncing around the echo-chamber and what we can expect to see on the 8th of March.

We’ve known about further Batman games in development for a while, and despite Injustice 2, Arkham VR and Batman: The Telltale Series all being announced between then and now, we can look as far back as pre-Origins-announcement 2013 to find indications that WB want regular Batman Arkham games.

Before we go on, let’s be clear about something: these rumours, or elements of them, may well turn out to be true, but if we don’t read and respond to them with scepticism, then we’re not living up to our own expectations.

If you haven’t finished Arkham Knight yet, then go finish that because there are a couple of references to the events of that game (and it’s a good game, go enjoy it).






Batman: Arkham Apocalypse

Our first issue with this rumour is the name. It screams fan-fic and quite possibly may be just that; as we explore this rumour, we’ll find a lot of what could be called a ‘tacking-on’ of ideas. This could be considered the largest example of this as, the name comes from a list of Nintendo Switch games:

In 2018, they are looking into porting Batman: Arkham Apocalypse, the next entry in the Batman Arkham series.

It hasn’t actually been linked to the Damian Wayne rumours by anyone other than the fans who have been discussing the rumours and have tacked this name onto the Damian rumours, but when one considers the Batman 666 connection, it make sense to put these two together.

This leads us to the main credibility issue that we have with this rumour as a whole, as it seems to have stemmed from one ‘unnamed source’ and then reverberated around the Internet echo-chamber on message boards and comment sections (helped along by some anonymous sources claiming to have inside knowledge) to become something bigger. Any student of history will tell you that the greater the number of sources you can cite, the more reliable your theory becomes. The sources need to have reliability themselves, however, and while one or two of these may have credible facts behind them, there are definitely fabrications in there too.

The first alleged leak with which we heard of this game was from a gaming blog called Byte-size Impressions last summer:

“There is, indeed, a new Batman game in development, and there’s a twist: The story takes place in the not-too-distant future, and the primary protagonist is actually the original Batman’s son. The city will not only be bigger, but will actually show more signs of Gotham’s population than ever before, meaning the ‘city has been evacuated’ plot thread is being left by the wayside (which is smart, because my primary concern with the latter Arkham games is just how empty and lifeless the world feels). The story will also not unfold in the span of a single night (day and night cycles, perhaps?). It’s unknown if the Batmobile will be playable, but it’s said we’ll have access to the Batcycle. As you progress throughout the game, players will have the opportunity to upgrade the Batcave. The biggest question of all is, “Who’s developing this game?” This, unfortunately, was not mentioned. Personally, I don’t believe Rocksteady will be behind it. With enough money being offered it’s certainly possible, but Rocksteady have already expressed a desire to move on.

The second game reportedly follows the Suicide Squad. No surprise considering a feature film is due for release in 2016, but there’s no further information about what this game will feature, or even what stage of development it’s in.”

I’ve included the section on Suicide Squad for a reason, bear with me as this will come up again.

The next thing that we heard about this game came from another ‘anonymous’ source on a NeoGaf thread that was discussing the above statement:

Indeed, WB Montreal is working on two games right now.

Suicide Squad, in which they go help from Rocksteady.

– is a brawler
– you create your own avatar, grow it out, with tiers of rewards
– many characters to choose
– coop-action
– Borderlands esque

targeted for 2017 release.

Next game is the Damian Wayne game.

– has been greenlit last summer
– 10 years in the future (I think our future from 10 years now, not quite Batman Beyond)
– Bruce is old and has a beard
– harness on his leg
– uses a walking stick
– is mentoring Damian Wayne to be the new Batman
– Damian has a Batbike
– lots of great characters and also new ones, lot’s or redesigns, like Black Mask being a female
– Dick’s in it, has a shaved head
– some other villains are Flamingo, Poison Ivy and White Rabbit(old, looks like a granny)

Game is starting to roll in production, so we might no see it for a while, but I am very excited.

Ah, Suicide Squad again! The reason that I mention it is that the Suicide Squad game was reportedly cancelled in December. This is a game that we’ve known about unofficially for a few years and it makes sense that WB would try to get another company to do third-party work on the game in a last-ditch effort to save a troubled production, but this post came in November – just a month before games press got wind of the game’s cancellation. Could it have been a sudden we-just-can’t-make-this-work cancellation? Sure. Could it also be a game that people know about being used to add credence to a fabricated rumour? Yes. Am I aware that this is becoming an article that could have been titled ‘How to be a sceptic?’ Absolutely.

Moving on to the Damian Wayne game details:
– the timeline doesn’t gel – 10 years on from Arkham Knight, Bruce would be late-40s max;
– Poison Ivy bit the dust in Arkham Knight (yes, she could grow again like a perennial flower, but her story in AK felt final);
– the phrasing of White Rabbit‘s description and the juxtaposition to how she was portrayed in the two(?) comics that she appeared in feel like juvenile choices.

Can you see how this could be taken as ‘confirmation’ of certain details from the original post? If the sources can be trusted, then it does certainly seem as though this could be on the money. Nonetheless, we can also compare these two posts and see how someone has just added their own details to the initial rumour. Notice that the protagonist has gone from “Batman’s son” to being Damian Wayne in setting that feels like a mash-up between ‘Batman in Bethlehem’, ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ and Batman Beyond.

Next, we have a splurge of details on Reddit. I’m going to tackle this one point-by-point:

Just to be clear, I am not claiming to be an employee of WB Games Montreal (as no one actually working on
the game would risk a multi-million dollar lawsuit just to post on Reddit lol). I work in journalism and do have a colleague dev’ing on the title (albeit not directly at WB Games Montreal), but he is working on the game nonetheless. Do consider video games are heavily outsourced; and I know for a fact that the post the other day claiming to be from an employee spilling plot details is completely bogus. Additionally, it has come to my attention that internal investigations are being conducted at WB Games Montreal, seeing this game has been extensively leaked to a comical degree. I by no means am an expert “scooper”, I am not one at all in fact. However, I do have a friend working on the title, and I know the following details are correct with 100% certainty.
A detail I know some will groan upon hearing: -If you are looking for the first Batman game without The Joker…you will have to wait a bit longer. The Joker is in the game, but not in the way that you think. It’s a sequel to the most recent title “Arkham Knight”, so The Joker is definitely dead. If you have ever seen the film “Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker”, you may have an idea of where they are going with this.

I think that Arkham Knight did a good job of putting an end to the Joker storyline. We’ve seen that all of the ‘Jokers’ were killed by the end of the game except for Batman himself, who was able to purge the Joker-urges through willpower (the playable Joker section at the end of the game). There should be no way that Joker could come back other than through Bruce unless they retcon an implantation of the Joker personality into Jason during the year in the Asylum. I’m not sure how likely I think this is; it feels like a fan’s idea.

-The Batbike is the new Batmobile in this game. There is actually a power-wench on it like in “Arkham Knight” to do puzzles! I can already hear some fans moaning in agony, but fear not: the Batbike is mainly used to get places quickly as the map is HUGE.

Batcycle mention again. Building on rumours, accurate information or just the logical next step?

-The rogue list is massive, and really reaches into characters that we haven’t seen before like White Rabbit and “Kite Man”…whoever that is. Never heard of him.

These are pretty obscure villains. Really reaches into characters that we haven’t seen? Wouldn’t they go for Scarface and the Ventriloquist, KGBeast or Maxie Zeus first? Or considering the apparent source material, what about some Grant Morrison villains like the previously mentioned Flamingo, Jackanapes, Phosphorus Rex or The Black Glove?

-The City is in ruin, and competing powers like GothCorp (Mister Freeze) have seized control of Gotham financially. Therein, Wayne Enterprises has somewhat ceased in influence.

I can see this being part of the story. Telltale Games’ Batman series worked around this theme pretty effectively.

-Bruce Wayne is quite old, but not exceedingly old like you may think. In fact, only a few years before the events of the game did Bruce Wayne give up the mantle of the Bat-thing we saw at the end of Arkham Knight. This is not a straight up “Batman Beyond” game.
-Characters like Oracle and Nightwing return. Nightwing plays a big role in this one, but he’s aged since Knight quite a bit.

So, why isn’t he Batman? If Bruce has only just retired and “Nightwing plays a big role”, then why is there not a Dick/Damian Batman/Robin team?

-There is no “main” villain to this game. It takes place over many days and nights, but only one mission (that I know of) takes place during the day. The Penguin and Mister Freeze have major political pull.

This is fairly vague and could be accurate. Other rumblings have been that Two-Face will take on his persona from the final episode of the New Batman Adventures, the Judge.

-Gameplay has substantial revisions in this one. The gameplay mechanics are rehashed to fit around Damian’s strengths, which are generally more agile and equipment-based than that of Bruce Wayne. It doesn’t seem you quite hit as hard, but you move faster and are more agile than in the other titles. Still, it will feel largely like playing as Batman from what I’ve been told.

Reasonable. I’d expect this to happen for a protagonist change.

-Damian Wayne is not really recognizable to how he is as a kid. He’s not particularly bratty or anything, and in many ways acts more like his dad than anything else.
-The game spends a lot of time in Wayne Manor, the Batcave, etc. Cutscenes flash back to Damian’s time with Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, the story is truly a personal one. The way the narrative is told resembles “Grand Theft Auto”, much more so than the previous Batman titles.

This would have to happen for casual fans to be able to follow this concept at all.

I’ll end on the biggest piece of info I have, and the one I really made this post to share. I am also a fan of these games, and I am curious to see what everyone thinks!
-Somewhat in conflict with the title of this threat; it may not be titled a “Batman: Arkham” game. My source is somewhat disconnected from the PR side of things, but it is to my best knowledge the title is currently undecided.

This obviously contradicts rumours that I’ve already mentioned, but honestly, who knows?
Regardless of whether this leak is true or not, I bet that the discussion of dropping the ‘Arkham’ name from the series actually happened, but someone from the marketing department would have very quickly slapped that idea down. Batman Arkham is a brand. It sells. I think that they’d have to be making a radical departure from the formula for the WB Games executives to allow the brand name to be dropped.

-On the contrary to what other sources have been claiming, this title has a targeted October 2017 release date. It is in the vein of what Warner Brothers Games has always aimed to do with having a Batman game every other year. Arkham Knight was a different beast in it of itself, but Asylum was in ’09, City ’11, and now this game will come 2 years after Arkham Knight. That’s what WB wants to do for the future as well probably.

For it to be released in October of this year, it would have to be announced next month at the latest. We have the ‘save the date‘ for March 8th, but that looks like it could be set aside for a Shadow of Mordor 2 announcement. Tick-tock…

-This game features guest heroes from other corners of the DC Universe! I know this as an absolute fact – Green Arrow is in the game. His cameo is brief, but other side missions featuring non-Batman heroes and villains appear with frequency.

Possible. Oliver Queen has been referenced in previous games (through Queen Industries), so it is possible.

-The city has different regions, and actually has rural/suburban outskirts that Batman can travel to on the bike. As I said, in more ways than a few – this game’s ambition reflects that of a Grant Theft Auto title than an “Arkham” one.

If the game allows you to drive to Wayne Manor from the city, then I could see this, but it is a huge departure from the tight narrative form of the Arkham games, and one that I don’t imagine that a studio like WB Games Montreal would tackle.

-At some point, I am told Damian Wayne needs to be rescued. The exact circumstances of this scene I am unsure. Nonetheless, BRUCE WAYNE once again re-embodies the mantle of Batman, and rescues his only son. This is a major scene that takes place towards the end of the game, and the player is actually controlling Bruce Wayne as Batman. Pretty cool if you ask me!

This final comment brings me to the largest single problem that I have with the whole concept of a Damian Wayne Batman game. Players want to play as Bruce Wayne. To make a game where, for the vast majority of the time, players control someone who isn’t the Batman that they know feels like a massive risk that I can’t imagine that WB (a company who is pretty notorious for playing it safe) would green light.

Arkham Knight sold over 5 million copies. I would probably buy a Nightwing Arkham game at launch. I would probably buy a Tim Drake Robin/Red Robin Arkham game at launch. I am not however confident that I’d buy a Damian Wayne Arkham game at launch. If the admin of a Batman Arkham website, who has been a Batman fan since he was 3 years-old, isn’t a dead cert to buy this game at launch, then what percentage of the 5 million plus other people who bought Arkham Knight would need convincing?

For the record, I would definitely buy another Bruce Wayne led Arkham game at launch, which seems like a good time to move on…






Batman: Arkham Insurgency

This is another case of ‘disgruntled employee’ on Reddit leaking details to stick it to the boss.

First, this name is just clumsy. Presuming that the villains are rebelling against Batman by over-throwing the Asylum, then surely reference to ‘the Arkham insurgence’ or ‘the Arkham insurrection’ would be more grammatically useful within context of the narrative itself and still work as a Batman: Arkham game title (in fact, I think both work better).

1) The game is called Batman: Arkham Insurgency and it takes place about 3 years after the events of Arkham Origins. It’s built on the same engine as Arkham Knight was and has been in development since around 2014.

– Seems reasonable.

2) The game will feature Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin as the main playable characters. Grayson has been Robin for about two years at this point.

– Again, this seems reasonable. I’d probably set an Origins sequel at a similar point.

2) It’s set in a previously unexplored, coastal area of Gotham that is roughly the same size as the three islands from Arkham Knight on the outside, although the interiors have been substantially expanded so you will be able to get inside most of the buildings now. The Batcave and Wayne Manor are also accessible via fast travel.

– Really? Another completely new environment? It makes complete sense that we’d get new environments to play in, but I find it a little strange that the whole game is set in a new environment. Note: I kept the misnumbering in to show that we aren’t cherry-picking or editing these rumours.

3) The plot is that there has been a mass breakout at Blackgate and Arkham Asylum, and several terrorist attacks across the city, which results in the GCPD blocking off a segment of Gotham where they have completely lost control. This is the main playable area and while it’s mostly populated by villains and criminals, there’s a whole heap of trapped civilians that Batman and Robin will need to rescue.

– I get it. I’m pleased that there’s mention of civilians, but I get why the villains would take over again.

4) The Batmobile is in the game, but it’s been changed. There’s no more battle mode but the controls have been modified to compensate. The combat mostly consists of chase sequences and using the Batmobile’s superior speed and maneuverability to navigate around slower opponents while bombing the hell out of them with the car’s weaponry. The missiles, power winch and the EMP device remain, along with some new stuff.

– This is where my spider-sense started to flicker. I’ll come back to this.

5) Dual play mode is also present, but it’s been changed. The dual takedown has been removed but there’s a whole bunch of new special moves and combos in its place. There’s an entire new skill tree devoted to the mechanic.

And this…

6) Combat has been expanded to better accommodate 1-on-1 fights. It’s still rhythm based where you have to time all the correct button presses exactly, but it’s more complicated than the attack/counter basis of the previous games.

Well, this was already being addressed by both Origins and Knight, so this makes sense.

7) Owlman and the Court of Owls are the main villains of the game – although Owlman is really the main focus, especially when he murders all the other members of the Court towards the end of the game and starts targeting Batman’s allies. It’s revealed that the Court views Batman’s heroics as a threat to their control, so they organize a criminal uprising to take him out. The Talons are also present as elite enemies who you never fight more than 3 at a time as just one character, or 4 to 5 as both characters.

We’ve mentioned the Court of Owls (see below), but the Talons being used as an elite enemy type is a pretty good idea, regardless of whether this is a leak or fake.

8) Other villains in the game are Maxie Zeus, Dollmaker, Killer Moth, Anarky, Two-Face, Blockbuster, Ventriloquist, Cornelius Stirk, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Dusan al Ghul, Mad Monk, Dala, Riddler and yes, Joker. Joker figures somewhat prominently in the story (it’s revealed that he helped orchestrate the Arkham Asylum breakout), but he’s not the main villain but more of a major supporting character who mostly works for himself, but will sometimes help Batman and Robin if it benefits him.

All of these villains seem more realistic than the villains mentioned in the Arkham Apocalypse rumours.

9) Alfred and Lucius Fox are your main contacts in the game. Barbara Gordon helps you out on a few side missions and has a slight crush on Dick Grayson, which he doesn’t reciprocate.

All reasonable based on what we’ve already seen in the series, but that means that all of this could have been predicted pretty easily too.

10) Unlike Arkham Knight, there will actually be boss battles this time.

This seems like a snide dig, rather than something that would come out of the mouth of an actual developer as he spoke to his friend.

11) The estimated release date is around November of this year, but it’s possible that it could be pushed back seeing as the game was meant to be revealed towards the end of last year but was delayed.

Again, a November release means that we would need to be getting an announcement pretty soon. As it is, we currently have Injustice 2 being marketed by WB Games. We haven’t seen much overlap in the announcement of AAA superhero games from WB, as they tend to focus on one at a time. If we don’t get an announcement in the few weeks, then I could easily see WB holding off until after Injustice 2 is released in May to announce the next Batman game.

Now, part of my problem with this rumour is that I feel much of the content was covered in our Arkham 5 wishlist article from the back-end of last year. Why is this a problem? Surely, we should be thrilled that what we want is coming to our consoles? Well, yes. If my hopes and predictions prove to be accurate, then bully for me. However, until we have confirmation, it just makes me suspicious that someone read it back in November, forgot that they ready it, let those ideas percolate, then came up with their own wishlist and packaged it as a ‘leak’. There are many correlations, like the proliferation of dual-play and the changes to the way the batmobile is utilised, but the following line from the article is really what’s giving me the uneasy feeling about this rumour. Even if they didn’t read our article, the point remains that much of this rumour could have been predicted by a fan. Read the full wishlist article here and decide for yourself.

The main villain would be the one who manipulated the gangs into open war, perhaps the Court of Owls.

So, there we have the two major Batman Arkham rumours laid bare and given our commentary; which, if any, will we be getting who knows? Are these fake or are they real leaks? Are there elements of truth that have been embellished? Are they just really good predictions? Time will tell. Personally, I’m remaining sceptical until we get hard proof, but I leave it up to you to form your own opinion.

I leave you with these rhetorical questions:
– How accurate was this rumour?
– If you’d seen our wishlist article presented as a ‘reddit leak’, would you have believed it?

What do you guys make of the rumours? What do you think of our take on them? Let us know via social media.

Sources:
Insurgency
New Batman game
Damian Wayne
Damian Wayne 2
Apocalypse
Suicide Squad cancellation

Help support the site by clicking on an ad (and closing it down again before you even consider buying anything).

About Red_Robin
Admin at Arkhamverse.com (formerly arkhamcity.co.uk), Kung Fu black belt and all-round nerd. Red_Robin has been a bat-fan since watching the Adam West Batman series everyday before Nursery School. He watched the Tim Burton movies and the Animated Series as a small child and has never really left Gotham since. His favourite Robin is Tim Drake, his favourite Batgirl is Cassandra Cain and he strongly believes that both Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon were more dramatic characters dead and in the chair than they are in the New52.
%d bloggers like this: