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Batman: Arkham VR

Rocksteady wants Arkham VR to live up to the legacy

We had a chat with producer Dax Ginn about Batman: Arkham VR.

  • Text: Sam Bishop

Gamereactor recently got the chance to speak to Batman Arkham VR producer Dax Ginn about the upcoming game and how VR is going to work with a Batman experience.

Ginn talked firstly about the success the game had in terms of keeping it a secret until E3 and he said that made Sony's press conference all the more special for them. A secret project along with a strong demo meant the game had an "amazing impact at the show" and the positive responses were also well-received.

When asked about whether the player can now finally "Be the Batman" as the tagline has often states, Ginn said that there is "a lot of sense for VR" in the game and that the player now really is "taking the role of an iconic character and then you are going into an amazing space" like Wayne Manor or the Batcave. In the elevator between the two, he said, "you're fully transitioned from the playboy billionaire upstairs to the crime fighter downstairs" and this is a great experience for the player. Whereas other games take the player and puts them somewhere, this has you fill the shoes of an existing character and that dramatically adds to the "impact of the experience".

The rest of the demo was discussed as well, especially in terms of the investigative parts of the gameplay in the second half of the demo. "Batman's oldest and most trusted ally" Nightwing has been beaten to death in the demo and the "game then becomes a murder mystery from that point". What really makes the game stand is that the player is fulfilling the role of Batman as "the world's greatest detective" over everything else. The "heart of the promise that Batman Arkham VR offers and VR just delivers on that crime scene investigation in terms of interface just so perfectly so the gameplay really does revolve all around detective work and investigative forensic work". When questioned as to whether this may seem mundane and passive, he responded that there is a "tension and a pace to it which is not slow at all", citing the detective work around Nightwing's death as the "last moments of Nightwing's life are reconstructed" and the player is "seeing that battle, that fight unravelling around you". In this way the game creates this "sense of immersion that we've never had before that makes Batman VR something really special".

The narrative of the game was also something that was talked about in relation to the demo, Ginn saying the team "always make sure we're telling a classic Batman story" and that they "want to deliver a story and a gameplay experience that really lives up to the legacy". VR, then, was a test for Rocksteady, but "everyone at the studio I think is really proud of the work that we've done on this". He added that the "way in which the mystery unfolds is really the heart of the game" and that what they are trying to do in VR is very "difficult to express" unless you're in there in the experience.

Scale was also important to discuss considering the game being one in VR, making it what Ginn called a "totally different question" to a game on PC or consoles. There is, however, "a lot of different territory" and the "core narrative is about 60 minutes long". He added, though, that there is a lot of motivation to replay the game and discover more about the plot, which makes for another 90 minutes of gameplay as well.

Ginn was asked about potential plans to release the game on other platforms, but only said "we've announced it exclusively on PlayStation VR", which doesn't rule out the potential of it hitting other platforms later on.

Batman: Arkham VR