Rocksteady is a Gaming Giant
There are no ifs and buts about it: Rocksteady is the best video game developer when it comes to crafting titles based on the superhero genre. I will, however, submit and say that it is quite a bit of a stretch to say they are, or even one of, the greatest video game developers of all time. But, to be fair, it’s still a bit too early to make that call and perhaps time will only tell. Going back to Rocksteady’s acclaim as a superhero game maker, you should know that I’m saying this without being partial toward being a fan of Batman (which I am). Rather, I think I am not by myself when I say that their series of games based on the DC Comics property, also known as the Batman: Arkham trilogy, changed how gamers see licensed property adaptation. That particular series, which went on for a couple of generations of game consoles, has become one of the bestselling and most memorable video games in the history of the industry. That, though, still doesn’t even go over the fact that the first two installments, namely Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, have become classics today regardless of genre. As for Batman: Arkham Knight, I’m willing to bet a year or two before it goes full-on classic. In other words, Rocksteady did for superhero video games what Konami did for spy titles: it raised the bar to levels that have never been seen at the time. As a result, the whole video game industry has more or less created a whole new ball game where licensed properties and their video game adaptations aren’t just mere cash cows. Or, at least, they’re not entirely cash cows. Having said all that, let’s look at how this “developer that can” reached the pinnacle of capes and tights games.
As you probably know, it began at the tail end of the 2000s, with the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum. At first, it had just seemed like just another way for DC Comics to shill their products on gamers. Well, it was, but at least this time gamers got something well worth the price of admission. And what a surprise it was. What was thought of, including myself, as a cheap cash grab turned out to be one of the most solid releases of 2009.
Two years later, Rocksteady would prove they are one developer for the history books with the release of Batman: Arkham City. To be honest, I initially thought it was going to be more of the same thing we got from the previous installment, but such is the magic of Rocksteady: those guys seem to always have something up their sleeve. The game, which even added more features and made the stakes bigger, is one of those rare instances where the sequel is better than the original.
And finally, there was Batman: Arkham Knight, which was the last of the trilogy. In all fairness, it this was the weakest entry in the whole series, but that’s really not saying much considering that a less than stellar Batman: Arkham game is something that other developers could only dream of achieving.