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Rocksteady is out: WB Montreal developing the next Batman game

Batman’s rise to beloved video game character — in addition to his roles as film star and comic-book hero — is directly attributable to developer Rocksteady Studios’ two most recent releases: Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Warner Bros. just announced that Rocksteady doesn’t have anything to do with the next Batman game, and that may cause some fans to worry.

In the May issue of Game Informer magazine, Warner Bros. Interactive revealed that it is working on a new Dark Knight game called Batman: Arkham Origins. The latest entry in the series is a prequel to the previous two and is due out Oct. 25 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC. Origins follows Batman in his earlier years as he faces down many of his enemies for the first time.

Behind the scenes, Rocksteady Studios is out and developer Warner Bros. Montreal is taking control of the Bat’s next game. WB Montreal’s most notable previous work was handling the Wii U port of Batman: Arkham City.

WB Interactive founded the Quebec-based studio in 2010 with the purpose of developing original games in the DC Comics universe. Origins is the result of this. That the studio was always intended to handle a game like Batman: Arkham Origins should assuage some of the doubt that fans may have about an inexperienced team handling such a big game, but Rocksteady’s bat-boots might be too big to fill.

Batman Warner Bros. Montreal

Back in 2009, Rocksteady shocked fans by releasing a great game based on Bruce Wayne’s masked vigilante. It amassed a collective score of 92 on the review-aggregation site Metacritic. The 2011 sequel improved and expanded the gameplay of the original and earned a 96 on Metactic and several Game of the Year awards. Before these, Batman had a history of disappointing game adaptations.

Rocksteady remains a subsidiary of Warner Bros., so it’s odd that the publisher would take a risk on spoiling one of its most popular gaming franchises by giving it to another team. That is unless the publisher has faith that WB Montreal can deliver — or it has something bigger in the works at Rocksteady.

It’s noteworthy that the Arkham Origins reveal only includes announcements for current-generation consoles and PC. That’s likely because Sony hasn’t nailed down a release date for its PlayStation 4 and Microsoft hasn’t even revealed its next Xbox, but Origins is a current-gen game first.

It’s possible that WB didn’t want to burden Rocksteady with a game due out for current-gen consoles just as they heading into obsolescence.

We’ve reached out to WB and Rocksteady to ask what the developer is cooking up and we’ll update this post with its response.

In addition to the home console title, WB has a 2D Batman adventure game in the works at developer Armature Studio called Batman: Arkham Origins — Blackgate. Several former Retro Studios team members that worked on the Metroid Prime Trilogy founded Armature in 2008. It ported the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection to PlayStation Vita.

Blackgate is a Super Metroid-style action-adventure game with a focus on exploration and 2D combat.

Image credits: Game Informer


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