Batman: Arkham Origins is starring a younger Dark Knight, in a younger Gotham City. That change impacts everything, and art director Jeremy Price has talked a bit about how the new setting and younger Bat will be reflected in the game's visual style.
"One of the things we were working on was the presentation of the lighting, it was something we wanted to push and explore some more," Price told Game Informer. "So we identified a low-key lighting presentation, like a film noir. So our levels are high-contrast. There's a lot of darks and lights, not a lot of mid-grounds. We have really exaggerated shadows. We use silhouettes and profiles."
This aesthetic is used to sell the impression that Batman is a more imposing figure in this game. Even the police don't know if Batman is a vigilante, a myth, or some kind of supernatural presence.
Batman himself has gotten a bit of a make-over, to express the less experienced version of the character. Price says the look of his suit is "assembled versus manufactured," as it appears to be pieced together from individual parts. "He's not as refined, he's not as polished, and we wanted the suit to reflect that."
The city's Christmas Eve setting was broken down into neighborhoods, like residential, industrial, and commercial. Price says the team asked the question, "What kind of Christmas is present there?" The industrial setting, naturally, doesn't have much reference to Christmas at all, while the commercial area has corporate decorations, and the residential area has lights in the windows.