We’ve all had ideas and conversations about certain franchises we’d like to see handled by different developers. The pipe dreams we know will probably never happen. We’ve all thought that different developers can come in and give well-known franchises the fresh coat of paint that they deserve. This series of articles is devoted to our ideas and what we’d like to see, but we know that none of them are that likely to happen. The first article in this series saw Jordan Jones arguing the point for a Sonic the Hedgehog game developed by Ubisoft. This time I’ll be lobbying the case for a Batman game developed by the video game auteur Hideo Kojima.
Rocksteady and Warner Bros. saw a lot of success with their Arkham series, but with Arkham Knight the trilogy of five parts has come to an end. I don’t think Rocksteady will be back with a sequel to Arkham Knight, and quite frankly, I’d appreciate it if the next Batman game was made by someone else. The Arkham games are great and Arkham Asylum ranks for me as one of the best games ever made. The feeling you get controlling Batman is unparalleled, gliding off a building as the dark knight was enough to give me goosebumps. The Arkham games set the benchmark for third-person combat – a benchmark that stands even now. Everything that fans love about Batman was present in all of the games in one way or another.
After five games however, the Arkham game formula has lost its spark and originality. Everyone who had played earlier games in the series knew what to expect from Arkham Knight, meaning the game didn’t “wow” the same as previous entries. Because of this, I’d rather see the reins handed over to a new studio, to see what they have up their sleeves for the caped crusader. Batman needs someone who knows his way around cinematic storytelling, stealth and ridiculous action scenes. Enter Hideo Kojima. Let me explain.
Kojima knows his way around stealth. The Metal Gear Solid games are unparalleled in stealth gameplay, making for some incredibly tense moments where one wrong turn scuppers your success in the field. They mixe brilliant enemy AI, lights, sounds, weaponry and gadgets together in an amazing way – Kojima’s knowledge of stealth would be handy for Batman. The stealth sections in the Arkham games were always great, but not on the level of something like Metal Gear Solid. Kojima’s Batman would be smarter, relying less on brawn and more on smart use of the gadgets available to him. More would be made of guards using torches and other lights to catch you. The stealth sections would be even more tense under Kojima’s watchful eye, hopefully with exclamation points intact.
Close-quarters combat under Kojima would change, too. Metal Gear games aren’t known for their high quality hand-to-hand combat. They focus more on long-range tactical takedowns and grabbing enemies from behind to interrogate or throw to the floor. Batman could learn a little from this. Kojima’s Batman would be able to perform tactical takedowns, going more down the stealth route than other games starring the caped crusader. Of course, we were spoilt by the ultra-smooth combat of the Arkham games, so it would be a shame to see that side of the game leave. Luckily, Kojima has experience in hectic, third-person combat too thanks to Metal Gear: Rising Revengeance. The combat would no doubt be different under Kojima’s tutelage but I’d like to think it would be more madcap and exciting rather than smooth. Think somewhere between the Arkham games and Metal Gear: Rising Revengeance: mental, but effortlessly stylish.
If Kojima were to ever get his hands on Batman, I’d like to see him make something more compact than Metal Gear Solid V, Arkham Knight or City. A move to a smaller environment would not only allow the stealth gameplay to flourish, but it would also allow the story to take centre stage. Something the later Arkham games struggled with. Kojima is known for his convoluted, but memorable plots. Arkham Knight in particular isn’t known for its plot. It stutters along, relying on a twist that never seemed in doubt. Kojima would let the story do its thing, getting in the way of the gameplay rather than the other way around.
This is where my idea gets exciting. Kojima would create incredibly memorable scenes out of iconic characters and situations, with an eye on delivery and performance. Kojima could breathe new life into Two-Face and The Scarecrow. Both would fit into how he likes his villains: dark and creepy but human. Just seeing a Batman game presented in a similar fashion to Metal Gear Solid excites me. It wouldn’t make sense, but it wouldn’t have to. Kojima would make sure of some memorable encounters too.
Boss battles in the Arkham games always felt a little tacked on, a step down compared to the rest of the game. Everyone remembers the boss battles in the Metal Gear series. We’d have smart, atmospheric boss battles, with a memorable score in the background. Rather than the relatively forgettable soundtrack the Arkham games gave us. A Batman game with awesome, memorable boss battles, smarter enemy AI, more tense stealth, a bonkers combat style and an incredibly stylish story sounds immense. I really want this to happen, despite the fact that it never will. Oh well. A man can dream.