Tracing the Evolution of Batman Video Games

Batman has appeared in video games for over two decades. The main theme of these games centered on Batman fighting against villains. Several versions were launched over the years, featuring different tasks and characters. Batman comics were the inspiration for these games, which later went on to incorporate features from the films.

Development of Batman video games: 1986 – 1988

In 1986, Ocean Software, a Manchester based company developed the first ever Batman game based on the comic book. The batman featured in this version was rather cute and chubby, and wandered around 150 rooms in search of Robin. Two years later, Batman: The Caped Crusader was launched, which was better in terms of digital color and had two campaigns, one with the Penguin and the other with the Joker. These could be played in any ordered decided upon by the player. Even though the launch of this version coincided with the release of Tim Burton’s Batman film, they showed no similarity.

1989 – 1992

In 1989 NES featured the Batman based on the movie. The goal was to reach the big boss, played by the Joker, by tackling smaller bosses that came first. The Batman was purple and was put up against robots and Gotham city thugs. The next year saw the arcade version by Atari and the pinball version by Dataeast. 1992 witnessed ‘Return of the Joker’, which was a sequel to the NES version. This game had improved graphics and funny commentary.

1993 – 1994

Batman Returns launched in 1993 was inspired by Tim Burton’s movie, it even featured the movie soundtrack. This game was more advanced with limited 3D features. Batman had to fight with several thugs, Catwoman and the Penguin to move up the streets. 1994 saw the release of The Adventures of Batman, which was a cartoon version of the game; it was powered by SNES and Genesis and met some criticism.

1996 – 2001

1996 and 1997 saw the release of Batman Forever by SNES and Genesis and Batman and Robin by PlayStation. Both these games did not have great graphics and met unfavorable reviews.
Batman: Gotham City Racer, Batman: Vengeance and other games were released in 2001. The graphics were average, although Batman Vengeance was the better of the two. The games were based on the New Adventures of Batman cartoons. City racer featured the famous Batmobile, while the latter saw batman fighting street thugs in Gotham city yet again.

2003 – 2007

In 2003, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was noteworthy, as it introduced a new villain and also highlighted several unlikely characters. Clayface, Bane and Scarecrow were some such characters. Batman Begins (2005) was more realistic than its forerunners. It had superior graphics and the plot followed the Christopher Nolan movie. The voices for the game were given by the cast from the film. Justice League Heroes (2006) featured Batman among other heroes like Superman fighting enemies.

The Lego Batman Video Game for the Wii

2008 – 2009

The Lego Batman released in 2008 was an upward turn in the series. It combined attractive Lego characteristics with Batman characters and made it enjoyable for both serious gamers and casual players. Batman: Arkham Asylum was launched in 2009 was a bench mark for the game. The graphics and settings were exquisite. The eerie atmosphere was lent by the Arkham mansion. This Batman could be controlled in very superior manner and he took on several villains in order to get to the Joker who was at the heart of the plot.

Everything There is to Know About GTA V as of August 2011

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About this time last year, game sites were abuzz with rumours that the next instalment of Rockstar’s immensely successful Grand Theft Auto series was headed toward the west coast of the United States.

The New York-based video game publishing company’s California division, Rockstar San Diego, was discovered to be scouting sites in and around Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area. Fans were fluttering with curiosity – were they going to return to the streets of Los Santos and Vinewood, featured prominently in the 2004 GTA release “San Andreas?”

Another article on everyone’s minds was and still is what time period the next instalment will be set in; since Rockstar has spanned the series across decades. Will the next character be accessing menu options through an altered version of an HTC 4G Android phone similar to the last game, or will we be sent backward in time once again and forced to rely on payphones?

As far as the rumours from the summer of 2010, not much has come up to confirm the initial suspicions about an American west coast location. Perhaps Rockstar San Diego was doing some last-minute research for their spring 2011 release L.A. Noire. However, in-depth news on the game had already been released by March of 2010 so it’s doubtful they were doing location scouting after-the-fact. Not to mention, sources confirm that the environment of L.A. Noire, set in 1947, was created with aerial maps from the era.

So what’s to know about the next instalment of Grand Theft Auto? We know it’s going to happen soon: Rockstar’s mother-company Take-Two Interactive is expected to sell 18 million copies of the next instalment of GTA. We know it’ll be a cross-platform release like GTA IV. We know it won’t be set in Liberty City, where the historical Grand Theft Auto III was set and where the last one was set as well.

Take-Two Interactive's LogoThe details we want to know remain elusive, but there’s been some interesting tidbits released over the last year. In February of 2011, Rockstar purchased several specific domains which hallmark a previous gag featured in GTA IV wherein the character can visit websites that exists in real life for gamers to visit too. In that same month, a stuntman credited on previous instalments of the series listed “Grand Theft Auto V” on his acting resume, but later changed it, saying the credit was a “typo”.

But the big kahuna came later in March when a Take-Two casting call was leaked which included the name of a deviant character by the name of James Pedeaston heard on the radio in GTA IV, as well as another presumed radio personality character named Samantha who “dreams of being a Hollywood celebrity.” This could be interpreted as confirmation of the rumored Hollywood setting.

The revelation has been that unless Rockstar is playing games so to speak, which they’re no strangers at doing, the next Grand Theft Auto game will definitely be set in the present day. Other than that, details remain extremely limited. Just count on the fact that the game will be controversial, environmentally jaw-dropping, and sure to make its creators an enormous amount of money at a time when game developers are struggling to pay the bills.

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