How Oldboy inspired Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate for Vita and 3DS

By Andrew Yoon, Apr 19, 2013 5:00pm PDT

While all eyes may be on Batman: Arkham Origins, there's plenty reason to be excited about the 3DS/Vita spin-off game, Blackgate. Set after the events of Origins, the handheld game is being developed by Armature, a studio made up of veterans from Metroid Prime dev Retro Studios. Unlike the console game, Blackgate is a 2D Metroidvania game, which has Batman investigating the titular prison.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of adapting the Arkham games to the second dimension is adjusting the well-received "FreeFlow" combat of Rocksteady's original games. Game director Mark Pacini says that Blackgate's combat needed to be built "from the ground up," and takes large inspiration from the 2003 Korean movie Oldboy.

"We made it so that Batman is still moving right to left, but the enemies have depth to them; they can be in the foreground or the background. So all of the free-flow system will still apply, but it’s just scoped for the handheld," Pacini told Game Informer. "What we wanted to do is make sure it felt more like Oldboy the movie than like Old School the game. That it wasn't just enemies lined up behind each other--that you still felt like that you were encompassed by enemies that were around you but you still have the limitations of right and left."

For those unfamiliar with the cult film, this is the scene that Pacini is talking about:

While Armature is working on their own take on the "FreeFlow" system, Rocksteady already proved that their battle system can work in a side-scrolling game. The "Freight Train Escape" map included in Arkham City's Robin DLC has players running through a classic beat-em-up inspired train level. See how it looks here:

It's clear that the Arkham combat system works in 2D. But hey, maybe Armature can sneak in a hammer in Blackgate to appease Oldboy fans.

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