With the release of Batman: Arkham Origins yesterday, the series, which has smashed all of our pre-conceived notions of what a licensed game should be, saw its first release away from the careful hand of Rocksteady, the developers of the first two titles. While the general consensus in the reviews is that the game more or less matches the quality of Asylum and City, Warner Bros. Montreal didn’t do enough to innovate this time around, and the game was docked points for that in some outlets.
Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City were both fantastic games, one of which will probably rank among the greatest games of the past generation. Since Arkham Origins hews so closely to the previous games that it’s more or less indistinguishable from Rocksteady’s work (for the most part), should Warner Bros. Montreal get flack for not innovating? This is a series with sky-high expectations by this point, throwing a new developer into the mix and asking them to completely rethink the Arkham series while at the same time trying to live up to Rocksteady’s work is quite the herculean task.
While innovation in some games is necessary, the Batman: Arkham series is about as close to perfect as games come, for the most part. Should Warner Bros. Montreal have been expected to think outside the box, or were they well within their rights to take as many pages out of Rocksteady’s book as possible? Should all gaming sequels be innovative, or is it OK to just have more of the same every one and a while?