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Batman: Arkham Knight is a 2015 action-adventure game developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, it is the successor to the 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins, a direct sequel to Batman: Arkham City (2011) and the fourth main installment in the Batman: Arkham series. Written by Sefton Hill, Ian Ball and Martin Lancaster, Arkham Knight is inspired by the long-running comic book mythos. Set nine months after the events of Arkham City, the game's main storyline follows Batman as he confronts Scarecrow, who has launched an attack on Gotham City and caused a citywide evacuation. Scarecrow, with the help of the mysterious Arkham Knight, plots to unite all of Gotham's criminals in an attempt to finally destroy Batman.
Development on Arkham Knight began in 2011 after completion of Arkham City and took place over four years. Rocksteady opted to use its own writers for the main story with collaboration by comic book writer Geoff Johns, choosing to replace Paul Dini who had worked on Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The introduction of the Batmobile required a change in the team's design methodology, as the previous games' city designs were too narrow and confined to allow smooth travel for the vehicle.
The game's "FreeFlow" combat system allows for basic attacks, including strikes, counters, and dodging, which can be combined to keep Batman attacking while moving between enemies, and avoiding being attacked himself. Basic enemies include enemies armed with shields and shock batons, while others are armed with guns, which significantly damage Batman. These enemies can perform a charge and tackle attack only used by larger enemies in previous games; precision-timed dodging, and a batarang can instantly defeat some charging enemies. The system adds the ability to combine attacks on prone enemies without interrupting a combo streak. Batman can counter enemy attacks, and throw them into other enemies for increased damage. Batman is also capable of disarming enemies wielding items like baseball bats, and using the acquired weapon on several foes before it breaks. Arkham Knight introduces "Dual Play," in which players can seamlessly switch control of Batman to one of his allies during certain events of the game: Robin, Nightwing, or Catwoman while in FreeFlow Combat, which the player enters when they have accumulated an uninterrupted combat-streak. Each successful, uninterrupted attack adds to the player's combat score, which carries over between each controlled character, and unlocks double-team takedowns on opponents at higher scores.
Throughout the city, Batman encounters enemy watchtowers, guard posts, aerial drones, and explosive mines embedded in the city streets. Some drones can be hacked and turned against their allies by using the Remote Hacking Device. Arkham Knight introduces the "Fear Takedown," where Batman can subdue up to five enemies simultaneously as long as he remains undetected; time is slowed after each takedown, allowing the player to target the next enemy. Hazardous items such as power generators can be used in combat for environmental attacks. Combat is rewarded with experience points, which are used to unlock gadget abilities, combat moves, and health upgrades. Batman can now access grates from afar, allowing him to roll forward and immediately get under the grate if in range, instead of having to be right on top of them, while also initiating multiple takedowns from within them. Some enemies carry devices capable of blocking Batman's Detective Vision.
Arkham Knight features side missions, known as "Most Wanted" missions, which can be attempted at any time and feature prominent characters from the Batman universe. One such character, the Riddler, provides 243 optional "Riddler challenges" to solve. These challenges consist of collecting trophies hidden throughout the city, through the use of gadgets or Batman's car, the Batmobile, to disable traps and barriers, and completing timed races. The player can mark Riddler trophies on the in-game map once found if they do not initially have the necessary equipment to complete the puzzle, and learn of additional locations for collectables by interrogating the Riddler's henchmen.
Arkham Knight also features appearances and voice cameos by various characters drawn from the history of Batman comics and the previous Arkham games, including pharmaceutical businessman Simon Stagg (Philip Proctor), reporters Vicki Vale (also voiced by DeLisle) and Jack Ryder (James Horan), police officer Aaron Cash (Duane Shepard), corporate businessman Lex Luthor (Keith Silverstein), crimefighter Kate Kane, serial killer Calendar Man, and mutated gangster Killer Croc (Steve Blum), while the game's downloadable content features appearances by Mad Hatter (Peter MacNicol), Black Mask (Brian Bloom), Mr. Freeze (Maurice LaMarche), Ra's al Ghul (Dee Bradley Baker), Nyssa Raatko (Jennifer Hale), and Nora Fries (Cissy Jones). The game also makes references to many characters from the history of Batman and DC Comics.
Arkham Knight's Gotham City is approximately five times the scale of the open-air Arkham City prison in Arkham City. The game takes place in the center of the city, which is split into three islands: Bleake, Founders, and Miagani, with various districts such as the neon-tinged Chinatown, and the industrial shipping yard. Bleake Island features shorter buildings, disheveled areas, and abandoned docks, while Founders Island is a modern development of skyscrapers built on the ruins of Gotham slums, and Miagani Island is an older metropolis with Wayne Tower at its center. Oracle has set up her communications headquarters in the Gotham clock tower, which also houses a makeshift Batcave.
In August 2012, Paul Dini, writer of the first two games in the Arkham series, said he would not be involved in writing a sequel to Arkham City. He did not write that game's story-based "Harley Quinn's Revenge" downloadable content, and said that Warner Bros. and Rocksteady suggested he accept other work if offered. Rocksteady opted to use its own team of writers, headed by game director Sefton Hill and designer Ian Ball, with script elements by Martin Lancaster; Geoff Johns served as a consultant on the plot.
During early development, Rocksteady placed a prototype Batmobile in the existing Arkham City map, and learned that the claustrophobic city designed for Batman to glide and grapple did not work well for driving a vehicle. Gotham City was thus redesigned with wider streets to allow space for the Batmobile and other street traffic to drive without colliding into walls, and buildings were made taller to accommodate the vehicle's ejection ability. To redesign Gotham City, the designers attempted to build on the previous games' gothic architecture while making a more believable and dense city. Alongside minor elements like neon lights, billboard advertising, and American-style cars, the team developed ideas for shops that could be found in the city, while retaining a grimy, dystopian theme. Describing the design, Hego said: "every kind of element we've added in there ... makes the entire experience feel a little out of time. You couldn't pinpoint whether it's twenty years ago, now or in ten years time." The designers valued making an open world that was "rich, vibrant, dense...and full of interesting things to do" over it just being large.
Free updates to the game were released to provide fixes and updates to the game, some based on community feedback. These included a Big Head mode, which makes all characters in the game have disproportionate heads; a photo mode, which allows players to edit photos taken during gameplay; the ability to use the original voice cast, with localized subtitles; and updates to the game's AR challenges. These included the ability to select all playable characters from the game and its downloadable content (DLC) to be used in all combat and predator challenge maps. Previously, each map had predefined character selection; the addition of a harder difficulty setting on combat challenges; more round-based challenges as well as interior map locations; and the removal of the blue wall around the challenges, which players found distracting.
Harley Quinn is a playable character via downloadable content (DLC) in a story-driven mission, that follows the character as she infiltrates the city of Blüdhaven to assault the police station and rescue her partner-in-crime Poison Ivy. Jason Todd as Red Hood is also a playable character via DLC in a story-driven mission, in which Red Hood goes up against Black Mask. The "WayneTech Booster Pack" provides the player with four upgrades for Batman and the Batmobile on the onset, as opposed to earning them by progressing through the game. The "Scarecrow Nightmare" DLC, exclusive to the PlayStation 4, depicts a Gotham City that has succumbed to the Scarecrow's fear gas transforming it into a twisted nightmare image of itself, overseen by a towering Scarecrow and his undead army.
"Batgirl: A Matter of Family", which was developed by WB Games Montréal, is an "Arkham Episode" featuring Barbara Gordon as Batgirl set before the events of Arkham Asylum. Set in the Seagate Amusement Park, a nautical theme park built atop an oil rig, Batgirl and Robin team up to save her father, Commissioner Gordon, from the Joker and Harley. The content carries over the Dual Play function and hacking ability, which allows Batgirl to take down enemies, control objects, and solve puzzles. Design producer Justin Vazquez said, "Hacking is really what separates her from the other characters... Our intention was that Batgirl should be less powerful than Batman, but that Batgirl plus hacking could give her opportunities to do things that not even Batman can pull off." The content was released on July 14, 2015, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the Windows release on October 28, 2015. Other "Arkham Episodes" include "GCPD Lockdown", set after the events of Arkham Knight, in which Nightwing must stop the Penguin from breaking out of the GCPD, which was released in September 2015; "Catwoman's Revenge", set after the events of the main game, in which Catwoman gets her revenge on the Riddler which was released in November 2015; and "A Flip of a Coin", set after the events of the main game, in which Robin hunts down Two-Face, which was released in November 2015. The Harley Quinn and Red Hood story packs which were pre-order bonuses were also considered "Arkham Episodes". 2b1af7f3a8