It’s the end of an era for Batman: Arkham series developer Rocksteady games.
Through three critically acclaimed games, the studio cemented itself as one of the industry’s premiere developers. Now, with Batman VR complete and studio having submitted the finished game to Sony ahead of the launch of PlayStation VR, Rocksteady can move onto other, more exciting projects, something it seemed primed to do after the June 2015 release of Arkham Knight.
“We’re definitely letting go of that comfort blanket and putting ourselves in the position where whatever we do next is going to feel very different,” producer Dax Ginn told Eurogamer. “There’s always an anxiety associated with change and that’s where we want to be. We want to feel uncomfortable because we want to make awesome stuff.”
Rocksteady has been making Batman games since 2009, starting with Arkham Asylum in 2009, which led to two sequels: 2011’s Arkham City and 2015’s Knight. That’s seven straight years of only Batman games, including Batman VR, and Ginn says the mood around the place is “really split”.
“I think there’s a little bit of sadness on the team. It feels like… breaking up? There’s a feeling in the office like, it’s definitely time to do something else – we all accept that. But we all know Batman so well – we all feel comfortable in the Arkhamverse.”
Ginn says the studio is in an “enviable position” where it has some time and space to decide on what it’s doing next.
That’s an interesting comment, because it appears as though the studio was tied down with Batman VR, perhaps against its own will.
I spoke with Ginn in 2015 ahead of the release of Arkham Knight. He hinted that the studio wouldn’t be working on Arkham any longer, which is why someone else is porting the whole trilogy to Xbox One and PS4.
“Well Batman made our studio,” he said. “He made our team. We’d done one game before Arkham Asylum when we weren’t a very big team at all. So to come to this point, eight years of obsessing about Batman, thinking about a world beyond that, it’s a big moment. The future is unknown. Whereas if you rewind to where we were at the end of Arkham City in 2011, we knew exactly what was happening next, because we were all really pumped for it because we knew the Batmobile was going to be a feature and that was really exciting. Creating the Arkham Knight as a character was a big thing. We’re all just a bit like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what we’ll do next year.’ But whatever it is, it’ll be good. It’ll be good. It’ll be of a high quality”
So it seems as though we’ve head Ginn’s comments to Eurogamer before: regardless of Rocksteady’s plans, if Warner Bros wants another Batman game — if gamers want another Batman game — Rocksteady is probably the only studio for it.