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Batman: Arkham Origins multiplayer - Splash Damage throws down the gauntlet to the cynics

A huge chat with creative director Alastair Cornish about the online offerings

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And then when it comes to the gang controls, we've got so many different control schemes and ways to come at it, which we're sure that anyone who's familiar with any kind of third or first person shooter will be able to pick up smoothly, and will find a control scheme that suits them.

Zoom

There's a lot of player scepticism nowadays about "bolted-on" multiplayer. How do you handle that?

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 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 invisible predator be like if you were stalking other human players? And again, not just gang members but elite gang members.

So those kind of "what if" questions, the questions that we asked ourselves about how we could evolve that really strong pillar of the single player, just made sense and led to the fantastic asymmetrical gameplay that we've got now. And as, as I say, unique and distinct and worthwhile in itself. Because you're right, no-one wanted it to feel like something that was tacked on or that took away from the single player at all, and I'm really happy that its developed the way that it is because that is absolutely not the case. It's a distinct offering from a distinct studio.

Zoom

It does feel like an organic evolution from the predator challenges, as you say.

Organic is one of the words that we throw around as well. That's precisely what we were going for, is for it to feel natural and not like "what's this jarring extra experience that's been bolted on to the side of my smooth, sleek single player experience?" It's much more like a natural extension of something that players would really want to do - I want to challenge myself as the Dark Knight to take down the toughest AI in the world - other humans - the most dangerous prey, right?

How have you balanced the multiplayer, given that people want to feel unstoppable and all-powerful when they're playing as Batman?

I think it really follows the same rules, the same lines as single player and the established Arkham series which is pretty much that when Batman plays smart, uses his gadgets, is patient, he's close to untouchable - and that's particularly true of unarmed opponents - but when he's faced with armed opponents, that's really where - and this is true of the single player, and very, very true of multiplayer, that's where Batman has to take care.

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