If you haven’t heard yet, the completely awesome video game Batman: Arkham Asylum is getting a sequel entitled Batman: Arkham City, and to say that the game is in the works would be an understatement.  Not only is the concept for the game mostly fleshed out, but the development for this game is done enough that we’ve got some great screenshots for you which give some idea what the game is going to be like.  If you don’t know anything about the previous game, I’d suggest reading the article linked in the first sentence of this article.   It’s a MUST PLAY for all Batman fans.  That is, unless you prefer Robin or you think the best version of Batman was the old Adam West version.  In that case, you should probably still play Arkham Asylum, but it won’t be as EPIC for you.

Let’s start off with a simple screenshot of Batman wrecking two face-painted goons.

What this tells us is that instead of just being able to do a Silent Takedown on one enemy, Arkham City is likely to allow those attacks on multiple guys at the same time.  I love the possibilities of that, especially because I’ve heard that when you start the game, all of the weapons and devices that Batman has at the end of Arkham Asylum are at your disposal, and there are more items to unlock as you get through the game.  More on that later in the article.

Wondering if the graphics of the game and the exciting plot elements are still going to be involved?  Probably not, as it’s almost a given, but I did find the following screenshot to be pretty sweet.

If you click the image, you’ll get a much bigger view of what’s going on there, and needless to say there’s probably a reason why Batman isn’t gliding away from that explosion.

In addition to some of the plot details I’ve heard about the game, which I’ll mention later in the article, I’ve heard some good things about the new gadgets and features this game is going to use, and one of the items I’m most impressed with centers around the improved Detective Mode.  If you’re like me, you heavily relied on Detective Mode during your first play-through of the game, which made it possible to figure out some of the trickier parts of the game (which were still tricky a second time through the game on a harder difficulty level, causing me to once again need Detective Mode).  As you’ll see in the screenshot below, the detective skills of Batman take something of a CSI turn when studying some ballistics in one of the parts of Arkham City.

How awesome is that?  Tracking the trajectory of a bullet?  Makes me wonder if this scene doesn’t somehow directly lead to the previously shown screenshot where Batman was escaping an exploding tower (a prime vantage point for a sniper?).

One of the things I heard from the developers of Arkham City was that they were disappointed to find out how heavily some people relied upon Detective Mode in Arkham Asylum.  Hearing that, I was a bit fearful that they might limit the opportunities to switch to Detective Mode in Arkham City, but from the screenshot below, it appears that they likely haven’t, as there’s really no significant need for Detective Mode while in direct combat, so this would’ve been a likely opportunity where they could’ve disabled the functionality if they wanted to limit its use.

One of the gadgets I’m excited to be able to use are the smoke bombs, which you might remember being featured in the 1989 Batman movie with Michael Keaton & Jack Nicholson, especially during the Axis Chemicals scene.

Here’s where I can get to some of the plot, and before giving any spoilers, I’ll give you some warning.

As you might’ve guessed by playing through Arkham Asylum, even if you didn’t finish the game yet, due to the events of the first video game, the Asylum is no longer fit to be a prison, and the city of Gotham needs a new place to put its prisoners.  Without going into all the details, part of the slums of Gotham City were purchased by the folks who own the Asylum.  Retention measures were put in place to section it off from the rest of the city, and the inmates of Arkham Asylum were placed in that part of the city with limited supervision and oversight aside from measures to keep them there.  Arkham City takes place one year after the events of Arkham Asylum, and the overarching plot element centers around gang warfare amongst factions which have arisen amongst the inmates.

If you don’t like spoilers, this might be a good place to stop reading.

No, seriously.  Spoilers ahead… though chances are if you’ve heard anything about Arkham City already, you know what I’m going to tell you.

The two factions involved in Arkham City are controlled by either The Joker or Two-Face.  In an effort to convince more inmates to join his faction, Two-Face decides he’s going to have a show of power by capturing and executing Catwoman.

As you might guess, Batman finds out about this and is going to do whatever it takes to not let that happen.

I don’t know that this is so much of a spoiler, as most people would probably assume that at least one storyline path in the video game would involve Batman having success in rescuing Catwoman, and that the two characters might interact (as seen below).  The question most might have would center around whether or not Catwoman might be a playable character.  That much I haven’t heard yet, but Playstation 3 Magazine did report that there will be a multiplayer option in this game.  That might just mean that two people could be involved in the non storyline mode Challenge feature, whereby players have to fend of the attack of multiple badguys, or silently take them out.  No word whether that second playable character would be Catwoman, Joker, Two-Face, one of the other baddies or even Robin.

While some of the other details for the game are still unknown, the official trailer of the game hints at the appearances of Penguin, Mr. Freeze (partially confirmed by the voice-over actor), Clayface, Black Mask and several baddies from the first game.

The trailer can be viewed below.

As soon as more screenshots are available, we’ll analyze them and let you know what we think.

Fall 2011 can’t come soon enough!