It's "completely down to the player" how they approach the game world with "no right or wrong time." It's more like an "episodic TV series" than a feature film.
"The Side Missions in Batman: Arkham City are a good example. We have around 15 hours of story that’s off the main path,” said game director Sefton Hill of developer Rocksteady Games. We're free to explore Arkham City from the very beginning.
"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," continued the developer.
"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.”
15 hours can keep us occupied around the city as we dispense justice, but the main storyline will be hogging a delicious 25 hours alongside all that.
"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.”
Batman: Arkham City releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC October 18th in the US, the 21st in Europe. Are you looking forward to Rocksteady's sequel to Arkham Asylum?