When it comes to superheroes in video games, no one has had a better run lately than Batman. Since the 2009 release of Batman: Arkham Asylum, new installments in the Arkham series have launched every few years to critical and player acclaim. That series came to an end last year, but Telltale Games is ready to carry the torch with a new Batman game that kicks off on August 2. And considering the universal panning the movie Batman v Superman received, the Caped Crusader could use a win right about now.
Will he get it with Telltale Games’ Batman? Judging by the company’s recent output, probably. The Walking Dead, Tales From the Borderlands, and Minecraft: Story Mode have all been well received. Telltale has a whole bunch of talented people working on these games, and I expect Batman to be no different.
An episodic Batman game
Like all the adventure games Telltale puts out these days, Batman will be episodic. The first episode, called “Realm of Shadows,” launches on August 2, with the rest to follow at some point in the future. Telltale says it hopes to have all five episodes out by the end of the year, but a PR rep’s tweet leaves plenty of wiggle room.
Generally, episodes of Telltale games come out every few months, but there’s really no way to predict when. They don’t follow any kind of schedule because each new episode is still in the works when the previous one comes out.
Episodes of the excellent Tales From the Borderlands, for instance, took between two and five months to come out. Minecraft: Story Edition episodes launched anywhere between two weeks and three months apart. Generally episodes come out whenever they’re ready, though Telltale aiming to stuff five episodes of Batman between August and December suggests the company hopes to keep the schedule tighter than it has in the past.
Bruce Wayne gets equal screentime
This is a game about the friction that arises when one person tries to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne. To that end, the game will let players get a taste of what life is like for both sides of Wayne’s personality (one of which happens to be a symbol meant to strike fear in the hearts of criminals). From a gameplay perspective, this means you’ll have to make consequential choices for both sides of the character.
Comic fans will be pleased to see that the game will hew closer to the comic book version of the hero than the movie Batman v Superman did. In Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck’s Batman is a killing machine, leaving plenty of dead thugs in his wake. In the comics, on the other hand, Batman almost never kills anyone. In fact, his reluctance to kill is a central character trait that’s based on his childhood trauma of losing his parents to gun violence.
The Batman comic has a great cast of memorable characters, many of whom are sure to appear in the game. The trailer shows Catwoman, Alfred, Harvey Dent, Vicky Vale, Jim Gordon, and the crime lord Carmine Falcone.
Falcone seems to be at least the first episode’s principal villain, though future episodes will almost certainly make room for the likes of Joker, Scarecrow, Two Face, or other more iconic characters. And even if they don’t, this is just the first installment in what will inevitably spawn a sequel, assuming it sells well enough (which it will — it’s a Batman game, after all).
The first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series will arrive digitally on August 2 on just about every platform under the sun except Nintendo’s. A disc version of the game will hit PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 on September 13. It will contain the first episode and a season pass code to download the rest as they’re released.
All indications point to Telltale Games’ Batman being better than Batman v Superman, but we won’t find out for sure until the full season is available. Let’s hope Telltale meets its self-imposed deadline, and that happens by the end of the year. In any case, it’s good to see another Batman game hit so soon after the Asylum series ended.