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Batman: Arkham Origins multiplayer "isn't a cynical, box-ticking exercise", insists Splash Damage

"I think Warner were looking for a way to kind of push the franchise forward," says creative director

Batman: Arkham Origins has a multiplayer mode - and if you're worried about that, you obviously haven't read Aoife's just-published hands-on preview, in which she deems the online component an unnecessary but undeniably entertaining addition. Speaking to OXM at the event in question, creative director Alastair Cornish discussed how Splash Damage's involvement came about, and promised that multiplayer Batman isn't the usual exercise in bolting on features.

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"I think Warner were looking for a way to kind of push the franchise forward, looking for where to take it," he said. "Because they obviously didn't want to retread old ground. So, with that in mind multiplayer seemed like a natural space to explore.

"They came and spoke to Splash Damage, obviously we're multiplayer specialists, we've been going for almost 15 years now, and it's all we do - or almost all we do - so we're kind of highly specialised. And then we kind of started a dialogue about what could we do, what would it look like.

"We were all very passionate about the fact that this shouldn't be a "me too" mode or a tacked-on mode. It had to be distinct, it had to be uniquely Arkham, and it had to feel like a natural growth of the single player experience."

Cornish bills the mode as a "natural extension" of Arkham City's Challenge Rooms, wherein players pit their wits against AI goons. In Arkham Origins you'll fight "the best AI in the world, other players, who are unpredictable as all hell and can work together and use ingenuity". Playing as a gang member is also a hoot, he added - this side of the experience should amuse "anyone who's familiar with any kind of third or first person shooter".

Splash Damage expects these claims to meet with scepticism, naturally. "It's something that we bore in mind; there can often be cynicism in some quarters - not in others - about this. And I think the two things that are very important to stress there are - these [modes] are being developed in parallel, so the single player is being developed by Warner Bros Montreal, with no kind of interference or distraction from Splash Damage, who have been purely creating the multiplayer component.

"It's the same disc and it's a component of the same product, but neither one has distracted or detracted from the other. And we've worked together to ensure consistency of tone, because they're the same Arkhamverse and in the same fictional window.

"So that was the first thing - if it's the same team doing both, then I think it's a bit more understandable that people have reservations, to be like "well hold on, can't those guys be making me more single player levels instead?" so it was important that there were two separate studios, both playing to their strengths.

"And secondly, this isn't a sort-of cynical, box-ticking exercise of some suit saying oh, this has to have multiplayer so let's just bang some in there. It wasn't that at all - it was a discussion about what would the natural growth of the franchise be like? And it's a really cool premise! That simple premise of - hold on, what would Predator be like if you were stalking other human players?"

The above trailer makes a compelling case for all this, but I'm going to hold onto my doubts till I actually play the game. How about you? Oh, and here are nine legendary villains we want in Batman: Arkham Origins.

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