Earlier this month, we told you that whilst the environments would be bigger and there'd be more characters packed into the game, Arkham City would take about the same time to complete as its older brother, Arkham Asylum. Well that no longer seems to be the case, because according to Rocksteady Studios' Game Director, Sefton Hill, it'll be considerably longer.
Mr . Hill revealed the length of the main story, as well as giving a rough estimate on how long it'd take you to master The Caped Crusader's abilities, during a recent interview with The Guardian:
It takes over 25 hours to complete the main stories in Batman: Arkham City. To keep players engaged for this length of time, not only do the characters and the story need to progress, but the core mechanics of the game they are playing need to change and adapt as well.
To see players go from enjoying running around the Arkham City streets and then fast forward 10 hours to see them swooping hundreds of meters through back alleyways and impossibly tight spaces to glide into a group of heavily armed thugs and take them out in a matter of seconds is incredibly rewarding for us to see.
Now, whilst there's no denying that the story behind Arkham Asylum was anything other than fantastic to play, one of the really challenging aspects to the game that ate up a lot of time was venturing off the beaten track and finding all the Riddler Trophies that were scattered about the island. So how long can we expect to be entertained by the side missions in the upcoming sequel? Over to you Mr. Hill:
We have around 15 hours of story that's off the main path. It's completely down to the player when and how they want to tackle this - there's no right or wrong time. There's no other medium that can offer this kind of flexible experience where the viewer gets to tailor the experience they want themselves.
In terms of narrative structure, I think games are much more analogous to an episodic TV series than a film. You have, say, 15 hourly episodes to fill, each requiring its own narrative arc but each plugging into an overarching storyline. It requires a lot of planning to make sure that every single hour is consistent with each other, is feeding and driving towards a compelling crescendo, while remaining implicitly self-explanatory so players can pick up and play at any time and know what they are doing.
Well I don't know about you, but all this news has got me fired up and checking my calendar again to see when I can step into The Dark Knight's shoes once more! Batman: Arkham Asylum is set for release on the 21st October 2011.