A new kind of Batman.
Telltale Games’ Batman was on show at E3 within a beautifully decorated Wayne Manor. Offering a quick look at some gameplay from the first episode, we took the opportunity to take a seat in the Batcave and check out what’s in store for fans.
Showcasing the opening 30 minutes of the first episode, the demo started with a group of goons breaking into the Gotham bank, nervously looking around, wondering whether the Caped Crusader would appear. Surely enough, the camera swung to the outside of the building, revealing Batman perched upon a beam high up. Just before the action really began, however, the game seamlessly switched from Batman at the bank to Bruce Wayne talking with his trusty butler, Alfred, at Wayne Manor.
These transitions between the all-out action of Batman and the slower-paced scenes of Bruce Wayne are something that Telltale is focusing on in particular. Each side of Bruce affects the other – anything you might do or say as Batman could have a positive or negative outcome for Bruce and vice versa. This mechanic hopes to change players’ existing perceptions of the Wayne family, and Gotham as a whole.
Telltale is telling a brand new Batman story, though it will still be based on the canon that fans are familiar with. Each hero, villain, and ally that features within the game has been handpicked from the Batman universe and slotted into the story’s timeline with a strong dose of Telltale style.
Catwoman appeared once the goons at the bank had been taken care of, unsurprisingly stealing some sort of data chip and escaping up onto the roof. Batman followed in pursuit and after a little bit of conversation, which included a demonstration of the branching dialogue options that will be available to players, the two fight it out. During this scene, one particular moment proved that Batman wanted to do anything but fight her, and more interestingly, whether these two will become allies or enemies is up to the player.
Just like previous Telltale series, the action will focus primarily on Quick Time Events (QTEs). Each of your attacks, regardless of what item it is that you’re using, is controlled through button presses or swipes of your analog sticks, with prompts appearing on-screen to advise you as to what to do. As the goons responded to my attacks, I saw the Batarang, grappling hook and Batman’s fists (of course), dealing out the justice. During the combat, a meter in the lower left slowly charged, unleashing a powerful finishing attack when full. When fully charged, Batman was able to unleash a powerful attack and finish the fight. An incredibly badass and typical Batman way to finish things off.
The action came to a close with the game effortlessly transitioning over to Wayne Manor once more. With our protagonist back in his public dress, this scene had a larger focus on dialogue and its effect on the story’s progression. Without delving too far into spoiler territory, let’s just say that a conversation turned sour with a notorious crime leader in Gotham and led to a pretty ominous threat directed at Bruce.
By the looks of the 30-minute hands-off demo, Telltale seems to have put a lot of thought into the story they want to tell with Batman. The juxtaposition of Bruce and Batman offers a completely new perspective to a superhero story that players have seen so many different variations of, and while we’re still waiting for a final release date for the Telltale’s Batman series, this is something that both Telltale and Batman fans should be eagerly looking forward to.