The May Game Informer cover reveal officially announces the third installment of the popular Batman: Arkham franchise as a silver aged prequel titled Batman: Arkham Origins. Unlike the first two games developed by Rocksteady, this iteration  which tells the story of a far greener Batman pitted against eight deadly assassins on Christmas Eve, will be the handiwork of Warner Bros. Games Montreal.

The studio’s past work includes the port and “Armored Edition” modification of Arkham City for the Wii U and Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Cartoon Universe. Though Rocksteady will not be working on this title directly, Game Informer reports that they will be there in spirit as WB Montreal will make full use of the Rocksteady customized Unreal Engine.

According to Dooma Wendschuh, Narrative Director/Writer at Warner Bros. Games Montreal, Arkham Origins will be the first Arkham game that is “actually set on the streets of Gotham City.” I can only assume that this means the game will be far more open than anything we’ve seen before in an Arkham release. And when you consider the lead on the game is former Epic Games Lead Designer, Eric Holmes, whose resume includes open world hits such as The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype, the sandbox approach shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Reid Schneider, VP and Executive Producer, WB Games Montreal, further cemented the open world notion when he released the following statement via a press release:

“We are huge fans of the franchise and are committed to creating an experience that offers players more of what they love, as well as the chance to play as a younger Batman within a fresh storyline and expanded world.”

What kind of villainous line up can fans expect to see in the “expanded world” of Arkham Origins? Well, the Game Informer cover reveals Deathstroke, and in the video interview found on their site, Dooma Wendschuh mentions eight assassins:

“We have eight of the best assassins in the world who’ve come together to Gotham City for one night, Christmas Eve of all nights (right?), to kill The Bat.”

As a fan of the comics, this leads me to believe he is referring to the “League of Assassins,” a group which first appeared in the 1968 release of Detective Comics #405. The already confirmed Deathstroke, along with a plethora of other current and former members are listed via the batman.wikia as possibilities below:

League_of_AssassinsCurrent Members:
Ra’s al Ghul (Founder)
Talia al Ghul (Leader)
Nyssa al Ghul (Leader)
Lady Shiva
Deathstroke (confirmed)
White Ghost II

Former Members:
Kyle Abbott
Bronze Tiger
The Sensei
Professor Ojo
Ebeneezer Darrk
The Hook
David Cain
Cassandra Cain
OnyxThe Mad Dog
Dusan Al Ghul (White Ghost I)

It’s worth noting that Comicvine features a much larger list for the League of Assassins that is 53 characters long. No telling which, if any, WB Montreal will be referencing. They may opt to ignore all and create a star-studded list for the purpose of their game. We reached out to WB for clarification and will update this story as soon as we hear back.

In addition to Origins, which is set to release on October 25th of this year for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC, a handheld counterpart titled Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate will launch the same day for the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

The official website for Batman: Arkham Origins was a blank page when I started this write up, but you can now go there to sign up for a news letter, pre-order the game, and read the official press release.

What are your thoughts on the game? Are you turned off by the fact that Rocksteady won’t be behind this release or are you keeping an open mind and hoping for the best?