You’ve created a new character in the Arkham Knight, which is a very brave decision. How scary is it knowing that he has to survive in the DC universe and belong there ?

Dax Ginn: Absolutely terrifying. Creating Arkham Knight was an absolutely terrifying process because of the expectation of new super villains within the Batman universe. So from the perspective of us as developers, we had a very clear idea what sort of role and function he would play in the game, but it was really the collaboration with DC and talking to them about the visual design, marrying up the visual appearance with the functional purpose of this character, that I think really brings the Arkham Knight to life as a character.

In terms of visuals and scale you’re doing things with PlayStation 4 consoles that nobody else seems to be doing. How are you achieving it ?

It’s hard to say but, without going into the technical side of it (because that is just magic to me), from the design and conceptual side of it it’s about deciding where you go crazy with the horsepower that you have at your disposal. So you can’t go crazy with everything because the world will just blow-up if you do that, so we’ve decided, ‘okay let’s go crazy with the Batmobile, let’s make sure it drives at insane speeds, let’s make sure it can transform and have all this additional functionality
like you see in Battle Mode’. The world itself as Gotham City, let’s not try and create an entire city even though we have let’s focus on the environment and the atmosphere and the emotion of that city. So the rain, the reflections of neon signage on the puddles… Getting the feeling of Gotham right, and making very clear creative choices about how we use that horsepower, that’s critical.

The one thing we enjoy most about the Arkham games’ pacing is the sense of escalation. Did you feel the Batmobile was required to continue that sense without hamstringing Batman again and stripping away all of his powers?

You absolutely nailed it. That’s the way that we’ve thought about Arkham Asylum to Arkham City to Arkham Knight, as an escalation. Going from the claustrophobia of the kind of maze of Arkham Asylum, blasting it out into a more open world structure within Arkham City and the stakes are growing all the way through… it’s not just Batman versus Joker, there are all of these other agendas coming in from other super villains. Now with Batman Arkham Knight we have got all-out warfare on the streets as the Arkham Knight’s forces have occupied Gotham City. Batman’s fight back begins with the Batmobile and the onboard functionality and artillery that brings. So throughout all three games, yeah, we’ve seen it as climbing this ladder of escalation leading to the ultimate showdown, the fight for Gotham City itself.

The inclusion of a vehicle is a bold move in years gone by we’d roll our eyes at long running shooter series adding lame ‘vehicle levels’ to try and spice things up. So how have you ensured it feels right and is a suitable addition to the Arkham series ?

The most important thing for us is that it didn't feel like those games that you just kind of mentioned. It needed to be integral to the Batman experience rather than just, ‘oh here’s a driving section that we've bolted on’. So integrating Batman’s navigation and offensive capabilities with the Batmobile is really the key to that. You can gain more altitude and glide at faster speeds if you eject out of the Batmobile. You can take defence when you’re under attack by jumping inside the Batmobile. You can use it in ways that Batman wouldn't be able to, to progress, if it was just him on his own. So giving players a game world in which there’s a whole range of brand new challenges that they can’t conquer just being Batman alone, you have to use this new... effectively it’s a massive gadget in order to progress, and that was really the key. We had to really think and rethink how we design the game world and how we design puzzles, and really rethink every aspect of our game progression to ensure the Batmobile felt really natural.

Did you bring anybody with driving or racing game experience into the team for the Batmobile sections ?

The crazy thing is, it was just natural talent. So the lead gameplay programmer Adam Doherty, who I have to give massive props to, he has been the programmer who has controlled Batman ever since day one in Arkham Asylum. So everything about Batman’s movement and abilities and gadgetry has been his vision in collaboration with Sefton Hill, the game director. When we were thinking about the Batmobile we were all like, ‘well is this a car or is this just an extension of Batman? How do we want this to feel?’ And of course the natural reaction is to treat it like a car, but we were like, ‘no it’s got to feel like an extension of Batman’. So we gave that job to Adam Doherty so that he could approach the behaviour of the Batmobile as if it was a character. And I think that’s why the two of them feel so perfectly married to one another, because it’s the same kind of creative and technical drive
that we’ve been pumping into Batman all these years, just applied to a vehicle. It’s crazy that that’s what we did, but looking back it was totally the right decision.