Why The Next Batman Game Won’t Suck

Let’s just admit it: licensed content usually sucks. Usually borne out of some boardroom desk jockey’s genius plan to synergize content across the global market, and you’ve got a recipe for epic fail that may or may not involve Uwe Boll.

Today marks a momentous day in history: the upcoming comic book tie-in game Batman: Arkham Asylum demo will drop like a hammer on PSN and Xbox Live. Why is this awesome? Because this comic/movie franchise game probably won’t suck.

The story behind Arkham Asylum is written by Paul Dini, who produced and wrote various DC comics and a boatload of award-winning animated shows like Batman: and Superman: The Animated Series. The guy even consulted on ABC’s LOST so I’m sold on the game’s writing (as long as it was during the first two seasons).

Taking a page from the multimedia master illustrator Dave McKean the dreary and frightening psych ward/prison combo trembles with colorful characters ready to blast out of their cage. My personal fave would have to be Harley Quinn in her hot little pseudo goth outfit. Dayum.

Arkham Asylum‘s ridiculous gameplay variety sucks me in like a black hole. After watching this walk-through from this past GDC, you get to see Batman work his magic with explosive gel, batarangs, cape glide takedowns, and detective mode. The inmates/bad guys all react dynamically to every situation and no two scenarios are the same.

Arkham Asylum‘s story comes from the comic-book mythos rather than the movies, but less so from Grant Morrison’s eponymous enigmatic masterpiece than Frank Miller’s action-crammed beat-em-ups. Pissed off villains from the long-standing comic book series line up for revenge against our caped crusader like some high school reunion gone wrong. Some of my favorites include Joker, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn (<3), The Croc, and Bane. For our final exhibit, I present: kick-ass voice acting. Kevin Conroy will be voicing Batman (Batman’s voice actor from the Emmy Award-winning Batman: the Animated Series) and Mark Hamill (yep, Luke-I-am-your-father-Skywalker) will be voicing the Joker. In case you think these guys don’t have cred, they’ve both been voicing their respective roles for 17 friggin’ years.

We all know movie tie-in games have a notorious tendency to suck. Thankfully, this game looks like complete and utter fan service and I’m frothing at the mouth to give it a go. Until then, I’ll be watching the Batman: Arkham Asylum trailers and grabbing the demo later today.