With the announcement that Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight will be the last entry in the widely acclaimed and beloved Batman: Arkham series having come a while back now, we've all had some time to process the sadness, and - here at Moviepilot, at least - to channel it into the rampant enthusiasm Arkham Knight deserves.
Which is to say - the game may not be due to hit our consoles until June 2, 2015, but we're already way too excited about it. We've been trying to cool ourselves down though - after all, it's still a long way away.
And then, Rocksteady's Guy Perkins got talking to IGN about the game, and that all went right out the window:
"If people walk away thinking this is the ultimate Batman simulator, then our job is complete...We gave them Gotham City, we gave them Batman at the height of his powers and we gave them the Batmobile. I think those three elements come together to make a great game. If people go away feeling like it was awesome, we've done a good job."
Which - aside from making the game sound even more awesome than it already did - got us thinking about something pretty fundamental about Arkham Knight.
Could it - as Perkins suggests - actually be the "ultimate Batman simulator" we've all been wanting since we first picked up a controller as little, Batman-pajama wearing kids?
Well, let's take a look.
Where better to start than with the city itself? After all, Gotham defines Batman, much as Batman defines Gotham.
Previous installments of the Arkham series hinted at the possibility of exploring a huge, open world Gotham - with Arkham City and Arkham Origins both opening up the original Arkham Asylum's claustrophobic focus - but still didn't come close to capturing the vast, epic scale of Gotham's scum-filled hell hole in the way Grand Theft Auto V did for San Andreas.
With Arkham Knight reportedly set to feature a world five times larger than Arkham City, we might finally be set to truly explore Gotham - as Batman - in a way we never have before.
There's a very particular reason for that expansion, though - and it's awesome...
As Perkins points out:
"the big thing that was always missing for us was the Batmobile. It was always missing but wouldn't have worked in Asylum or City, so to build an open-world around that was crucial."
So, that major element of the Bat-mythos, the Batmobile? You'll be able to drive that bad boy come June next year.
Oh, and control it remotely, winch the crap out of things, shoot stuff indiscriminately and use its freaking ejector seat.
Just. Like. Batman.
Which is handy, because the game is set to feature:
The Full Fledged, Full Throttle Batman
None of the raw, early Caped Crusader of Arkham Origins this time around it seems - this is a Batman who is very much, as Perkins puts it, "at the peak of his powers."
Which means more gliding, more gadgets, more grapnel-gunning everything you see, and a whole lot of stealthy, detection-infused crime-fighting action.
Which is exactly what we want to feel when we're playing as Batman - like the ultimate crime-fighter. The possibility that Arkham Knight won't feel the need to restrain is mouth-wateringly exciting.
The only downside? What that means for...
(Note, SPOILERS for Arkham City from here on out...)
Specifically, as Perkins suggests, the fact that the criminal underworld of Gotham is going to have a very different feel to it compared with previous installments:
"The death of the Joker at the end of Arkham City has created a different world for the criminals of Arkham Knight...He’s not there to disrupt the things they’re doing, so you have to imagine a world where he’s not there and not causing that chaos. They can get organized, work together and offer a more formidable challenge. [Batman is] at the peak of his powers, but without his nemesis there to cock things up for everyone else then they get the chance to be a bit stronger, a bit braver and do things differently."
So, just to clarify, it'll be a whole lot more like the world Batman's been inhabiting in the comics and Bale-starring movies for years? And, also, of course, a whole lot more like the real world. So...awesome?
The only problem? The lack of:
A Genuine Nemesis
After all, there's no Joker this time around, so the big bad'll seem a whole lot less exciting, surely?
Except, of course, The Scarecrow's in it. And, as Perkins puts it:
"We left Scarecrow out of Arkham City for a reason so he’s back in as the big bad and it’s great for us to bring him back....He’s a great mirror for Batman, as they both use fear as a weapon of choice. There’s a dichotomy there."
Meaning Arkham Knight could have an even more effective lead villain - one who represents less of a psychotic opposite to Batman, and more a horrifying dark mirroring of his own identity.
Can anyone else smell 'increased psychological complexity' on the breeze?
So, just to double check, we're talking:
A vast open world.
An actual Batmobile.
A no-holds-barred Batman.
Even more realistic Enemies.
and a seriously problematic nemesis.
We most likely won't find out for sure whether all that'll make Arkham Knight the ultimate Batman simulator we're all hoping for until June next year - but in the meantime? Just remember...
Batman. Always. Wins.
Check out the incredible trailer to Batman: Arkham Knight below:
What do you guys think? Will Batman: Arkham Knight be the ultimate Batman simulator?