It’s been a few weeks since the Quebec government poured $1.5 million into the Montreal headquarters of Warner Bros Games, who in turn announced it would hire 100 employees to work out of the Quebec facility in the coming months.
The company is already making good use of that money as today it announced the release of the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Origins game, which focuses on the superhero’s first moments as a young, unrefined superhero facing the first challenges of his career, notably against foes like The Joker, Black Mask, Penguin. (Actually, the game had been developed over a few years, but the cash influx doubtless helped the company along the way).
“It’s a big responsibility taking on the Batman: Arkham franchise and the WB Games Montréal team has dedicated itself to giving players an experience that is worthy of the name,” said WB Games Montréal’s Reid Schneider. “Batman: Arkham Origins allows fans to play through a new take on Batman’s story while experiencing some enhanced game-play mechanics.”
The $1.5 million announced a few weeks ago is a grant that goes toward a five-year $63 million project that should create 100 jobs and allow the company to buy new equipment in a studio expansion project.
Developed by WB Games Montréal, Batman: Arkham Origins is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license. The game features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, the first two critically acclaimed games of the franchise. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, the game showcases the unproven Batman as he sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight.
Also announced at the Montreal facility this morning was the launch of Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion game to Batman: Arkham Origins, a 2.5-D handheld game developed by Armature Studio, which brings the core Batman Arkham pillars, such as FreeFlow combat and Batman’s infamous gadgets, to the PlayStation and Nintendo handheld formats for the first time.
Meanwhile, the game itself offers a few notable improvements, including multiplayer for the first time. Friends and foes can play online in 3v3v2 gameplay that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with third-person shooter mechanics.
It should play different, yet still retain its best parts, at least to hardcore gamers. After all, WB Games Montreal undertook a huge challenge when it was given the responsibility to create the game. The previous two games were developed by England’s Rocksteady studios.
According to Strategy Informer, Senior producer Ben Mattes even admitted the team at WB Games Montreal felt an internal”hesitation” when first tackling the project, fearing they’d fail to deliver that “special sauce”.
Nevertheless, WB Games Montreal’s studio head Martin Carrier told me the team thrives on pressure and they believe what they’ve came out with will please the masses.