Batman: Arkham Knight may be the final game in Rocksteady Studios’ Arkham trilogy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the last we’ll see of the Dark Knight. In an interview with Playstation Blog, Ames Kirshen, vice president of product development for the DC Comics games at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gives us an idea of the company’s approach to these characters.
“You have to understand and respect the core essence of the franchise,” Kirshen explained, “but you can’t be a slave to every single aspect of its history or continuity in translating it for the gaming medium.”
“More importantly, you have to have the talent, vision, and passion from the development teams to make great games and treat them as they would an original IP. We’ve been blessed at WBIE with studios and talent such as Rocksteady, NetherRealm, and TT Games.”
This is what makes DC Comics video games the best in their class. The creative freedom NetherRealm, Rocksteady and TT Games have is special. Injustice: Gods Among Us, LEGO Batman and the Batman Arkham franchise are all unique, with different styles for different audiences. They aren’t just bad movie tie-ins like most superhero games.
Kirshen said he always wanted to produce games based on the DC Comics characters he loved as a child.“I’ve always loved watching these characters translated to the big and small screen, but those were passive, linear experiences and I saw video games as the one unique entertainment medium where players could actually BE the characters and actively live out the fantasy of controlling them and shaping the story.”
“If I could break into the business and work with development studios that loved and respected the characters as much as I did, we could change the paradigm and make great games based on these franchises.”
With consoles like the Playstation2 and Xbox in booming in the early 2000’s, Kirshen made his first set to achieving his goal. “I helped develop Batman and Superman console games based on the beloved Bruce Timm DC Comics Animated Series with partners such as Ubisoft (Batman Vengeance and Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu) and Atari (Superman: Shadow Of Apokolips).” “I made a few stops at other game companies, but was drawn to come home to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in 2008 and I’ve been leading production on all DC Comics games we’ve developed ever since.”
Kirshen has an opportunity to create a superhero video game empire, with the entire DC Universe at his disposal. His approach to game development is “take risks and bring unique innovations to the table.”
“When choosing what DC Entertainment IP we might focus on for any game, it boils down to honing in on the IPs that map the strongest, genre-wise, to what fans are interested in seeing and playing. From there, it’s about getting the development studios with the strongest passion for those IPs to make the games.”
The biggest challenge might be choosing a character to work with, as the DC (and Vertigo) universe is full of so many characters with potential. Kirshen knows how difficult this can be. “It can be hard to choose what to focus on.”
With that said, Kirshen made a point to say that Batman is a staple in WBIE’s future. “Batman is one of the cornerstone IPs for Warner Bros. With the Arkham series, we were finally able to realize the full potential of the character.”
WB Interactive does not look like they will stop making DC Comics video games anytime soon. We can’t wait to see what other games they have coming in the future. The Injustice: Gods Among Us sequel, LEGO Batman 4 and more Arkham games are just a few things to look forward too.
For more DC Comics video game news, stay tuned.