This week I had the chance to sit down with Paul Crocker, the lead narrative designer for both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Low and behold, he had some great things to say about what he and the team at Rocksteady are working so hard on.
First off, when asked about Catwoman – Paul said that she was nearly first on their list of characters they wanted to have playable, it was just a matter of ‘if’ they could pull it off. They really wanted to push themselves to deliver a different experience from the first game, and having the two characters playable with an intertwining storyline really helped them to achieve that goal.
I pressed Paul for details about hopefully seeing Robin playable in more than just the challenge missions (since he’s so badass now) but alas, he replied that they have no plans to bring Robin into the game in a greater playable capacity at the moment.
However, when I asked if there would be any BIG surprises in store for players in the game, he replied, “Oh, yes”
He went on to say that since people know and love just about every character in the Batman universe, keeping things a secret and letting the player be surprised is that much more important to them. The team at Rocksteady knows it’s infuriating for players who want to know every detail of the game before it hits stores, but they believe that the payoff is worth the frustration:
“You have no idea how hard we worked to keep Scarecrow under wraps the first time… it was insane. Yet, I think everyone who got to experience the game, was thankful for that moment”
When I grilled him about how amazing Arkham City looks on PC thanks to their partnership with Nvidia, he said that it was obviously brilliant since they develop on PC, but that Rocksteady’s goal was to make the game look as good as possible on all platforms.
I then asked, “Why do you go that extra step, when so many other developers don’t?”
“What’s brilliant for us, and also terrible for us, is that we’ll make this thing look amazing on the PC, and then have to find a way to keep the quality of the visuals on consoles.”
A rough task indeed, given how capable PC’s are of pumping out next gen graphics and how far ahead of consoles they are at this point in this gaming generation. However, when I asked if he thought it was time for new consoles yet, he had this to say:
“I would buy a new console if it came out tomorrow, but I don’t know if it really is time. Arkham City looks great on the current gen, so I can hold onto that money for a bit longer.”
“Our goal is to make all versions of the game look as absolutely stunning as we can”
And indeed it does. Both Paul and myself admittedly have had to do double takes when checking out Arkham City. Only upon close inspection did we realize it wasn’t the PC version, but in fact the Xbox 360 version that was being shown. Paul went on to say:
“I’ve walked into rooms and gone, “Is that the PC version?” and been “Amazed” that it was the Xbox version”
So, by all accounts, it looks as if Rocksteady will prove once again that they are a developer who can go toe to toe with the best of them and deliver a gaming experience in the current generation that is second to none.
“Honestly, we just want to make the best Batman game we can”
Stay tuned to RipTen for continued coverage of Arkham City and all things Rocksteady.
Editor’s Note: I know you guys are used to me doing video interviews, and I do indeed have this entire conversation on video. However, it was far too noisy in the press room for me to publish it as such.
Deal with it ^__^