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By: Michael Crump

Tired of waiting for Electronic Arts to figure out what to do with their Dark Knight game? Let Eidos comfort you in their warm embrace recently the publisher has announced Batman: Arkham Asylum, a new game based generally on the Batman comics.

By "based generally," that is to say Eidos owns the rights to the Batman comics (while EA owns the rights to the Batman movies), but Batman: Arkham Asylum isn't specifically based on the graphic novel of the same name. Rather, it'll reportedly pull from all 70 years of comic history, with an original story crafted by Paul Dini (who served as a writer, producer, and editor for Batman: The Animated Series), and artwork and character designs by DC Comics studio, Wildstorm.

“In Batman: Arkham Asylum Eidos and Warner Bros. are building a true action adventure game experience worthy of gamers and fans,” said Phil Rogers, CEO of Eidos Interactive. “Players become Batman, like he has never been seen before in a video game, as he fights through intense circumstances in Arkham Asylum utilizing his intuitive detective skills and aggressive melee attacks.”

The game is in fact set entirely in Arkham, which Batman has to invade after The Joker takes it over. There will be plenty of other characters in the game, including classic villains such as The Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, and Killer Croc, and with Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, Barbara, serving as allies. According to a NeoGAF member's report of the Game Informer article, the persistent yet enclosed setting supposedly gives the game more of a BioShock or Chronicles or Riddick feel, as opposed to the usual open-world superhero games. It's running on Unreal Engine 3, and is played from a third-person, over-the-shoulder view, with emphasis both on combat and detective work.

The fighting system has been said to work with just three buttons, attack, stun, and throw. There will also be stealth (or as the developers call it, "predatory") elements to the action, and some boss fights will even incorporate Zelda-like puzzle solving, with Batman needing to use his gadgets in certain ways to take down foes. The detective elements will also focus on puzzle solving, with gameplay features similar to Metroid Prime's scanner visor. Batman will use a visor that'll highlight "points of interest," as well as forensic devices that, as one example, will allow him to detect and follow trails of fingerprints.

BioShock, Metroid Prime, Zelda, these are some big names to be dropping, but all the elements that Arkham Asylum seems to be borrowing do sound like the ingredients of a great Batman game, and it seems like a lot of thought has gone into fitting them together. The game's not set for release until sometime in 2009, so there's plenty of time to hope that Eidos will be able to pull it all off.