The multiplayer portion of Warner Bros. Montreal’s Batman: Arkham Origins is coming with a multiplayer mode for up to eight players. It isn’t being developed by the Montreal studio; development of the multiplayer portion has been handed over to Splash Damage in the UK. Details of what Splash Damage has been working on have been released, and it sounds like a tremendous amount of fun.
Adding multiplayer to the Arkham IP was always going to be a tricky thing if one wanted to retain the feel of the series and avoid it devolving into a simple online shooter. To that end, Splash Damage has decided to put three teams into every online encounter: three players will play as Bane’s thugs, another three will play as Joker’s thugs, and the last two players will play as Batman and Robin.
The two opposing thug factions need to fight for control of different parts of Gotham. However, while they battle it out, Batman and Robin are busy taking both sides down.
The two players taking on the roles of Batman and Robin need to be careful as they’re extremely vulnerable to weapon fire from both teams of thugs. As a result, the two will have to stick to the shadows and adopt a play style identical to that which appears in the Arkham single-player modes. In other words, they need to be the Invisible Predators.
The victory conditions for Batman and Robin requires a metre to be filled. That metre fills the more thugs are taken down; it’s an Intimidation Metre. Once full, both Joker’s and Bane’s thugs will retreat.
Splash Damage’s creative director Alastair Cornish said that it was important for his team to capture that stealthy, tension-based gameplay for Batman and Robin. “We wanted this tension with the hunter/hunted mechanic. If Batman’s primary method of engagement was to just run in and club people, a) that’s not very Batman and b) it’s not that tense or rewarding. So we worked out a clever system with the scoring, so you would vary your takedowns and be patient and not just go in swinging, because that’s not Batman. The whole idea is to instil fear and intimidation into players.”
As for the thugs, they have access to all sorts of weapons and gadgets to gain control of the map. Both sides will also have access to a special vision mode that will help them scan an area for Batman and Robin, albeit for a very brief moment.
As matches progress, Bane and Joker will become playable characters. Each of the special villain characters is spawned at specific doors on each map; the first thug team to make it to the door gets their boss character, and whichever player opens the door takes over control of that boss character. Obviously Bane and Joker have their own play styles as well.
Now for the sad news: the Wii U won’t be getting multiplayer. In a statement to Eurogamer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment said that they had chosen to focus on platforms that had a viable multiplayer audience. Considering the Wii U’s diminutive install base, Warner Bros. opted to skip it. The single-player is still coming to Wii U, but it will not contain multiplayer.
You can find a trailer for the multiplayer mode below; that mode will be available in Batman: Arkham Origins on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.