Batman: Arkham Knight is still over a month away, but Rocksteady is making the wait a little bit easier with some brand-new footage of “Dual Play,” the character-swapping mode that gives you the chance to beat up baddies as classic Batman allies.
In the new gameplay walkthrough, Batman and Nightwing have teamed up to take down the Penguin and his minions, utilizing a surprise-attack strategy as Batman bursts through the ceiling. What follows may look like a classic Batman: Arkham brawl, with the AI-controlled Nightwing battling several of the Penguin’s henchmen while you control Batman, but a quick button press swaps these roles, giving you direct control of Nightwing while the AI takes over Batman. Your combo meter carries over between characters, allowing for more tactical options without sacrificing the flow of combat.
“If you’re building your combo with Batman and you see there’s an enemy over by Nightwing you want to take out, you can switch to Nightwing,” says lead AI programmer Tim Hanagan. “If you’ve got your ‘special’ charged up, you can instantly use your super-combo takedown on that thug,” which allows you to briefly use both characters to perform a massive attack.
Nightwing’s combat style is remarkably different from Batman’s, eschewing the deliberate powerful punches of the Dark Knight for an acrobatic approach that uses enemies’ momentum against them. Robin and Catwoman also appear in the recent “All Who Follow You” trailer as potential allies for Dual Play.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Batman: Arkham series has allowed you to play as another character; Arkham City heavily featured the quick-moving Catwoman, while Arkham Origins even included a playable Joker segment. However, these sections were specifically designed with these characters in mind. Arkham Knight wants to move (Batman) beyond this, with Hanagan stating that the goal for Dual Play was for it to not feel like a separate gameplay mode, but rather just another element seamlessly woven in to the fluid brawling system that Hanagan and Rocksteady introduced and have refined over the previous games in the series.
After several delays, Batman: Arkham Knight launches June 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and serves as the conclusion to the series Rocksteady launched back in 2009 with Batman: Arkham Asylum.