Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 video game based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows. It was released worldwide for consoles, beginning in North America on August 25, 2009, with a Microsoft Windows version following on September 15.
Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, Arkham Asylum is based on the long-running comic book mythos. In the game’s main storyline, Batman’s archenemy, the Joker, instigates an elaborate plot to seize control of Arkham Asylumand trap Batman inside with many of his incarcerated foes. With Joker threatening to detonate hidden bombs around fictional Gotham City, Batman is forced to fight his way through the asylum’s inmates and put an end to the Joker’s plans. Most of the game’s leading characters are voiced by actors who have appeared in other media based on the DC Animated Universe; Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin reprised their roles as Batman, the Joker, and his sidekick Harley Quinn respectively. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman’s combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in combat and exploration.
The game received critical acclaim—particularly for its narrative—and won several awards, including Best Action Adventure game, Best Game, and Game of the Year from different media outlets. It held the Guinness World Record for “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever”. A Game of the Year edition was released on March 26, 2010, and anOS X version was released in November 2011. Arkham Asylum‘s success launched a series of Batman: Arkhamsequels, beginning in October 2011 with Batman: Arkham City.
Arkham Asylum features a series of challenge maps separate from the game’s story mode that are unlocked while playing, and others are available as optionaldownloadable content (DLC). The maps focus on the completion of specific goals, such as eliminating successive waves of enemies in combat, and subduing patrolling enemies while using stealth. The methods and variety of abilities used to achieve these goals earn an overall performance score that is ranked online against other players. On the PlayStation 3, the Joker is a playable character in the combat and stealth challenge maps via optional DLC; he must confront the asylum guards and police commissioner James Gordon. The Joker has his own combat abilities and weapons, such as a handgun, exploding chattering teeth, and x-ray glasses which allow him to see opponents through walls.
On compatible systems, the Microsoft Windows version uses NVidia’s PhysX software engine to produce realistic, dynamic interactions with the game world. With PhysX enabled, some areas contain smoke or fog which reacts to Batman moving through it, while with PhysX disabled the fog will not appear at all. Other effects include dynamic interaction with paper and leaves, surfaces which can be scratched and chipped, and dynamic, destructible cloth elements such as banners and cobwebs. The Game of the Year version features the ability to play the game in 3D on any 2D television using anaglyph 3D glasses.