Since 2009, Rocksteady Studios has provided us with an incredible trilogy, revolving around the ever immortalised dark knight, Batman, in the Arkham series. Their passion and meticulous work throughout the two years spent in development is more than evident in the game. Batman’s dark, gritty world truly grows and breathes throughout the trilogy, culminating in the fantastic Batman Arkham Knight, which offers you a chance to glide or skulk around almost every nook and cranny of Gotham City’s heart. But with the Batman trilogy at an end, one has to wonder what Rocksteady Studios plans to do and what could be Rocksteady Studios next project now that they’ve proven they’re more than capable of breathing virtual life into beloved comic book characters.
Many have wondered if Superman was next for Rocksteady but what if they turned their attention away from Batman or the DC universe in general, and developed a video game for a superhero that also deserves an immersive adventure? Someone who, like Batman, can also sense when someone is about to attack because of big glowing lightning symbols floating above his opponent’s head. Someone who, like Batman, can descend on a line to snatch low-life thugs from where they stand. Someone who, like Batman, has an impressively bizarre rogues gallery. Someone like Spider-man.
It’s true that when you look at the Arkham series, the wall-crawler may not immediately spring to mind when you think about other superheroes that might fit the semi-realistic environment Rocksteady Studios is able to create, but one must admit, you can see how it might work.
Spider-man games weren’t as successful as the dark knight games, and that’s not at all due to his character. He’s charismatic, witty, powerful, and highly intelligent. His powers include crawling on walls, shooting webs from his wrists, and spider-sense. You may have already realised that the mechanics for all these powers are already in place in the Arkham games, except Spider-man has more of a reason to see those flashing blue/red lightning symbols. Detective mode could be slightly altered to fit Spidey’s powers as well.
You’d also expect a few issues as well. A Spider-man game may not be able to compare aesthetically to the Batman Arkham games, owing to the sheer size of New York City or just the island of Manhattan itself, after all, Arkham Knight, though large, just barely contained enough space to make much use of the Batmobile. Spider-man games would need a lot of space for all that fancy web-slinging, a feature that no video game since the PS2’s Spider-man 2 game was able to satisfyingly utilise. Another thing to consider is that you may also have to sacrifice detail for scale or suffer through tedious loading times, the latter of which would likely be a massive deal-breaker.
Since Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, it has been clear that developers have been trying to emulate certain features of Rocksteady’s Arkham series, they just haven’t been able to fully replicate it and adapt it for a Spider-man game so I think we can all agree that they should leave it to the masters, hopefully however, were Rocksteady Studios next project going to be a Spider-man game, they’d implement some of the fantastic combat features of 2008’s Spider-Man: Web of Shadows which featured fantastic mid-air combat and impressive wall-combat, the only issue which it shares with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game is that it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been and resulted in players complaining that the experience was somewhat disorienting.
In any case, it doesn’t seem likely that Rocksteady Studios next project will involve a Spider-Man game as various rumours have been circulating, telling us of a possible Suicide Squad game project or more likely, a Superman game, as evidenced by a small Easter egg found in Family Matters, a DLC pack involving Batgirl. Whatever it is they’re cooking over there in London, we’re certainly looking forward to it.