The portable version of the game is being developed by Armature Studio (founded by several key team members who developed the Metroid Prime series). To that end, Blackgate will play similarly to excellent 2D action adventure games of yesteryear, with a “2.5-D Metroid-style exploration action game.”
Like Metroid, players will be able to explore the open-ended environment however they see fit, with a non-linear path to obtaining new Batman equipment and Gear that will increase Batman’s abilities and allow him access to new, previously unaccessible areas, and allow him to gain deeper access to the Blackgate Prison. Gear that increases your abilities will replace XP or the concept of “leveling up”, with the focus instead being solely set on exploration and acquiring new abilities instead of simply beefing up stats.
Like in Mega Man, bosses that you will encounter can be defeated in any order the player chooses, but will be weak to specific Weapon types, which will be an incentive to fully explore every area. One neat feature is the ability to save anywhere, as opposed to say Metroid or Castlevania where you have to save at certain Save Rooms.
Despite the side-scrolling nature of Batman Origins: Blackgate, developer Armature is banking on making Blackgate appear as similar to the console Batman: Arkham games as possible, with the feel and all the elements players expect, fully intact in portable form. These include the free-flow combat system, the ability to access new vantage points, the ability to go in and bust-heads or use stealth, a deep countering system and a deep Detective Mode. Enemies reactions and behavior will also be regularly transmitted to the player as they explore, with any changes in their behavior noted, using various visual and audio cues and the like. This is due to the fact that less of the world is available to see visually because of the side-scrolling nature of the game, thus the developers had to put some thought into how to make the player more aware of the environment and enemies around them.
Hopefully this new portable Batman Origins: Blackgate game will restore the Batman videogame franchises to the style that was beloved with the original NES Batman and SNES Batman Returns, games that were highly regarded as great action titles of the 8bit era. It has been a very long time since we’ve seen a side-scrolling Batman game like that, so I see this as a welcome announcement!
Look forward to E3 2013 in June to learn much more about this promising new handheld AAA title. Personally I can’t wait!