The big black bat returns in a sequel to 2009’s smash hit Arkham Asylum. MCV finds out what’s new in Gotham City.
Batman: Arkham Asylum proved that superhero video games can reach true triple-A status.
The 2009 release not only sold millions of copies but received high praise from critics for its third-person action, stealth gameplay and accurate depiction of the Batman universe, earning a Metacritic score of 91. The game thrust players into the role of Batman who had to regain control of an asylum taken over by the Joker.
Good news for Bat fans – its sequel is almost here. Arkham City takes place around one year after the events of Asylum and is set in a new super prison for Gotham’s villains. The in-game world is five times bigger than its predecessor’s.
Classic characters from the Batman universe not present in Arkham Asylum make their way into the new game, including Penguin, Two-Face, Hugo Strange, Catwoman and Robin, with the latter two playable.
Five-time Emmy Award winner Paul Dini has penned City’s storyline, while voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy return as The Joker and Batman respectively.
Arkham City features an upgraded ‘FreeFlow Combat’ system which allows Batman to be attacked by multiple goons at once. However, gamers can enjoy discovering twice as many ways to take down their foes.
New gadgets for Batman include smoke pellets, while Catwoman has her own claws and whips.
Several pre-order bonuses are on offer including The Tim Drake Robin Pack from GAME and Gamestation which comes with extra missions and a Red Robin character skin.
The title can also be played in stereoscopic and anaglyphic 3D.
All of this presents a sequel with enormous potential this Christmas and one that both Batman fans and gamers will be eagerly anticipating.
Warner’s biggest PR campaign
Arkham City has already secured 16 front covers to date, with more planned for release month. WBIE’s biggest PR campaign will include a London press junket and launch event.
There will be digital screens in high traffic UK?areas and promotions on 6m Rustler’s foods packs and 3m Kick Energy cans. There will also be attention-grabbing Batman-branded delivery trucks.
Marketing the Bat
Ads will run on YouTube, IGN, MSN Messenger, in Future titles, Shortlist and the national press. On TV, spots of up to 60 seconds long will appear on ITV, Channel Four, Sky?Sports and more.
WBIE UK’s sales and marketing director Spencer Crossley explains how Arkham City can be bigger than its predecessor: “There’s no denying that Batman: Arkham Asylum was a huge global sales success and that comes down to a potent combination of one of the biggest and most exciting franchises in the world with the development powerhouse that is Rocksteady Studios. Their passion and talent is second to none and what they’ve crafted in Batman: Arkham City is simply sublime.
“Our campaign for the game has been designed to reach out to not only the gamers who bought the original title but a much wider, more mainstream ‘hit buyer’ market. Batman is one of the most recognised characters in the world and we’re building on the excitement for the game's brand with an extensive PR and marketing campaign that is designed to position the launch of Batman: Arkham City as a major entertainment event.”