Batman: Arkham Origins – Case File System Preview
- Updated: October 1, 2013
When you walk around the new Crime Scene analysis mode from Arkham Origins, it’s very easy to see why he’s the “world’s greatest detective”. With the help of his gadgets, Batman can reconstruct a crime scene in three dimensions across an entire block, fast forwarding and rewinding through the action at will.
“The fantasy of being the world’s greatest detective was one opportunity that we identified relatively early in the production of this game to ‘move the needle’.” said senior producer Ben Mattes. “We wanted to invest in things where you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s different. Wow, your open world is twice the size.’ [Things that] stand out as different rather than ‘I guess the punch animation feels… stronger?’
“World’s Greatest Detective was an area where we thought we could double down and we created what we called the Case File System. Throughout the game there are a variety of crimes that have taken place that Batman did not get to in time. People died.
“Most of them, he comes across and he doesn’t see the events take place. He sees the events having already taken place. There’s a body – how did this guy die?
“The how and the where are created through this digital reconstruction, but the who and the why is what the player figures out by recreating the crime scene, finding the information about the individual who was the culprit and then seeking them out and bringing them to justice Batman-style.”
A couple of these cases are part of the main campaign but for most, you don’t have to solve these cases when you stumble across them in the world. You can simply carry on your way to whichever supervillain you’re going to face next. If you do care, however, you just fire the case file system and set the Batcomputers to work.
The case file I played was different from most in that it happened live, right in front of Batman and me. A police helicopter attempting to capture Batman crashed right in front of him, seemingly because its tail rotor clipped the building. Given how close together buildings are in Gotham City, this is plausible enough, but this is an auspicious night for Batman’s enemies.
Batman: Arkham Origins is set across a single night. Black Mask has put a bounty on the head of “The Bat Man”, drawing out supervillains and criminal gangs. Everybody wants to capture him, but that also means that other criminals will seize the opportunity to further their own agendas.
In this case, Batman is suspicious of the convenient helicopter crash, so we head down to the crash site and flip on his Crime Scene Analysis tool. This drops a blue overlay across the whole street extending dozens of floors up onto the rooftop that I just left. Using some impressive mathematical modelling Batman’s tool looks at where all the helicopter’s parts are strewn across the road and reconstructs them. Batman concludes that the tail rotor is not where it’s supposed to be but that’s all right. We’ll just head back on up to the rooftop and rewind through the simulation to find out where it went.
We know to do this because Batman talks to himself as he’s deducing these facts.
Up on the roof, a bit more calculation happens and boom, there’s the explosion in slow motion. I walk around the rooftop looking at the explosion scrubbing back and forth through it from all angles until I can see the tail rotor pinging around the corner into another street.
We glide back down to the ground and look at it more closely. Batman tells me that this rotor was clearly hit by a bullet or some kind of missile, so it’s back up onto the rooftop to see where it came from. At this point I’m pretty glad that batman invented his gliding cape and grapple hook because this would be mighty tedious if I had to climb stairs all the time.
As if by magic, the crime scene reconstruction up top now knows exactly what trajectory the bullet followed. I follow the red line across to another rooftop where I find the dead body of a SWAT member. Perhaps he was a rogue officer with some kind of grudge? But then, who killed him?
Batman and I examine the body further (by which I mean that I pressed the “examine” button) and we realise that he couldn’t have been the shooter for some reason that I couldn’t distinguish because Batman puts on his gravelly voice even when mumbling to himself. Whatever the reason, we now know that the bullet that hit the helicopter was fired from around a corner and ricocheted through this sharpshooter and off the building behind to take out the chopper. Someone really doesn’t want the police to take Batman into custody. Someone who wants him for themselves. Only one supervillain could make a shot like this.
After going through such an impressive crime scene reconstruction, there’s one other deduction that you can make. What kind of citizen builds such incredible gear and won’t sell it to the police force to prevent other parents from being murdered in dark alleys? Batman is a bit of a dick.
Batman: Arkham Origins is coming to PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U at the end of October.