Gotham, the new series produced by Fox and distributed by Warner Bros, has already started filming its debut season in New York. The series, which will follow the early years of Gotham pre-Batman will primarily follow detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as he struggles against the overwhelming criminal elements that dwell within Gotham City's alleyways, offices and police precincts.
The series may also transition, should it survive the current trend of being cancelled, into chronicling the early years of young Bruce Wayne, in a similar vein to Smallville. Though Bruce Wayne will feature in the debut season portrayed by David Mazouz, the move of following two primary characters development into their more recognizable guises in later seasons would help extend the series plotlines, audience interest, originality and longevity.
A key character alongside Gordon and young master Wayne is of course the man whom raised Bruce after the murder of his parents, and whom in later years will become the Batman's most trusted ally and confidant - Alfred Pennyworth, portrayed in the Gotham TV series by the uber-talented British actor Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon, Soldier, Equilibrium)...
Sean's father, the late, great Jon Pertwee played the 3rd incarnation of Doctor Who between 1970-1974.
Recently Rocksteady Studios Character Artist Albert Feliu and Designer Bill Green talked to the Spanish site Hobbyconsolas about Arkham Knight, revealing a few new details; such as 100's of unique criminals on the streets of Gotham, side missions and more info on the new batmobile. Here's a translation of the interview...
Unreal Engine 3 has been the engine powering the three previous games. Which one are you using for Arkham Knight?
Albert Feliu: The new console generation has granted us a large amount of possibilities. Although we're using the same framework (a modified version of Unreal Engine 3), we've had to rebuild practically everything to adjust it to the new consoles and new PC graphics cards. We've rebuilt the lighting and shadowing systems and environments are now full of new elements and details. Besides, because you can drive the Batmobile through the city at more than 100 kmph, we needed an engine that could move all of the said elements across the screen quickly enough.
Will the map be divided into sections or will it one single world without loading screens between areas?
Bill Green: No, there won't be any loading screens or any type of interruption, neither when opening a door nor before cut-scenes. The world will be completely open and will provide freedom of exploration to the player, although a few areas will only be accessible after upgrading Batman's abilities or acquiring new gadgets.
Will we be able to access more building interiors?
Bill Green: There are many more now. There'll be a tonne of interior locations to explore, but don't expect to be able to enter every building in the city.
When it comes to designing characters, what differences can we find between the new models for Batman and the villains and those found in the previous generation?
Albert Feliu: The next generation has caused a big change. I create the characters and when I look at the models for Batman, Gordon, etc. I'm amazed at the level of detail that we've included, essentially entering a new world in character design. Even when we're rendering the character, we can include them directly into the engine and move them around with the same amount of detail. Same goes for the rest of the characters. They've been created with a massive amount of accessories and different appearance and details so that you don't see any two people looking the same, unlike the clones on the PS360.
Bill Green: The levels are also fantastic. They've been hand-crafted, with an enormous attention to detail.
Albert Feliu: Another important change is that we can now have hundreds of characters moving around the city, instead of 25 or 30 like before.
Origins introduced several interesting systems, such as Most Wanted (secondary missions focused around other villains) or the detective mode (which allowed the palyer to rewind virtual time to reconstruct a crime scene). Will Arkham Knight keep those systems, or will it have new features of its own?
Bill Green: There are a lot of things to do in Gotham this time around, seeing as the city is gigantic, it's full of secondary missions, etc. Regarding the question about keeping features from Origins, remember that another studio developed it and we've already been working on Knight for several years, so we'll have many new features of our own. I can't tell you any more for now.
One of the main novelties of Arkham Knight is the ability to drive the Batmobile, something that the fans have been asking for since the first game.
Bill Green: Yes. As far as I'm concerned, it's the main character of the game. First it's the Batmobile, and then Batman (laughs). It's something like your best partner.
Moreso than Robin?
Bill Green: (Laughs)
Will we able to drive it freely around the city, as if it were a sandbox? Will it be restricted to certain areas for the duration of a few missions?
Bill Green: We designed the city from the ground up thinking about the Batmobile so that the players could travel as if it were a sandbox, so no, it won't be limited to certain sections or missions. You'll even be able to enter certain interiors.
Can we expect the Batwing?
Bill Green: No, the Batwing won't be in the game.
The combat system has been one of the core pillars of the Arkham saga and each game has introduced new elements. What will Knight add to the combat? Can we expect more new gadgets too?
Bill Green: I agree that it is one of the pillars of the saga and it's very important for us. One of the new things you'll be able to do is enter a room full of armed enemies and transition into slow motion that will allow you to disarm 3 or 4 opponents rapidly. I can't talk about the gadgets yet.
Will Rocksteady consider an online mode or will Knight be singleplayer only? Is there any chance that there'll be a cooperative mode featuring Batman and Robin?
Bill Green: No, the plan from the start was to focus 100% on a singleplayer-only experience. We've always been interested in co-op, but in the end we realised that it wouldn't work well with the Batmobile and the gigantic city so we decided to concentrate on one single player and provide as much detail as possible. So no, there's no co-op.
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