Batman: Arkham City to Feature 40-Hour Playtime
Batman: Arkham City will contain forty hours of single-player content. This is a fairly significant jump from what we last heard from developer Rocksteady when they claimed the follow-up to 2009’s highly acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum could be powered through in as little as eight hours with approximately fifteen hours of side quests to occupy a player’s time if they so choose. While Arkham City will still offer fifteen hours of side story missions, the most recent estimate for a main story playthrough has been bumped up to an impressive twenty-five hours.
Speaking on the game’s length with The Guardian, Arkham City Director Sefton Hill stated:
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
Hill also gave some insight as to how his team is approaching the storyline as a whole while still offering players a satisfying experience during shorter play sessions.
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.
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.
PS3 owners aching for a return to beating on baddies in slo-mo ever since Batman: Arkham City‘s official reveal at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards will see their wait ended October 18th 2011.