Have you seen the new Batmobile trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight?
Batman fan or not, you may have noticed that the Batmobile trailer focused on one thing: big fricking guns. From a gameplay perspective, it makes plenty of sense. Batman’s ride is a mix between sports car and tank, so it should have things that go pew pew.
In Batman canon, however, this could go against the Dark Knight’s “no guns” rule. Admittedly, I don’t know if the Batmobile’s guns will eventually be used to kill thugs in Arkham Knight, but it’s not implausible to presume that it can happen.
Going against Batman’s no-killing rule
According to previews like this one, Batman will face enemies like tanks and flying drones, although it’s not clear if they’re operated by people. So if you blow up these contraptions and a person is inside, you’re going against Batman’s no-killing policy as well.
“But wait!” you say. The trailer revealed that the Batmobile is armed with a gun called a “riot suppressor”, which shoots non-lethal rounds.
However, let’s not forget that Batman’s car also comes with a gruesome 60mm cannon, which shoots kinetic energy that’s effective against steel up to 820mm (about 2.6 feet) thick, and a Vulcan gun that shoots armour-piercing incendiary. Fire those against a regular person and you’ll be scraping what remains off the pavement.
So don’t use those guns on flesh and blood! Problem solved.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple. Rocksteady is aiming to create a game that lets you be the Batman. Giving the option to blast thugs into smithereens breaks that immersion.
It’s similar to the issue of again leaving out the civilians in the game.
Why Gotham has no civilians again
Rocksteady Studios has gone through the trouble of keeping civilians out of this new version of Gotham City. Why? According to an interview with brand marketing producer Dax Ginn, the developer left the civilians out in Arkham Knight because it was a “significant technical challenge“.
But how could civilians be a technical challenge when Grand Theft Auto has been putting civilians in open 3D cities since 2001? Consider this: if you put civilians and the Batmobile in one virtual playground, you can pretty much mow down scores of people, and this goes against Batman’s code.
Rocksteady can probably make pedestrians impossible to kill with the Batmobile by having them jump out of the way each time, but the simpler solution is to go with what already works: make an excuse to leave the regular people out, just like in Arkham City and Arkham Origins.
Maybe Rocksteady didn’t want to give gamers the ability to run over people because when faced with the option, many of us will do it, and this will detract from the Batman experience.
If so, then why did Rocksteady load the Batmobile with laughably lethal weapons? That’s a very good question.
Breaking Batman basics
Here’s the thing: not using guns and not killing people is one of Batman’s basic tenets. Changing this is like saying that Batman’s parents weren’t killed at all. The deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne are the main reasons why Batman does what he does and shuns the use of firearms (Burton and Nolan films notwithstanding).
That being said, the Batmobile should still be able to shoot stuff; the gameplay might suffer without this ability. However, I think it should be armed with non-lethal weapons like EMP or tranquilizer-firing machine guns.
Because right now, from the looks of things, the weapons on the Batmobile look pretty darn deadly.
Of course, for all we know, maybe Rocksteady has a perfectly good explanation for the guns. Maybe. But given how nasty the guns appear right now, it’s hard not to think about how it’s going to influence the game, and how it’s going to affect the experience of being Batman, which Rocksteady is aiming for.
So what’s your take in all this? If you’re given the ability to shoot and kill enemies in Arkham Knight, would it affect the experience of “being Batman” for you? Would you use this ability when playing through Arkham Knight? If you don’t want to use lethal guns, what other weapons do you think can we arm the Batmobile with? Hash it out in the comments below!