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 Report: ‘Dark Knight’ Video Game Struggled, Collapsed In December

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PostSubject: Report: ‘Dark Knight’ Video Game Struggled, Collapsed In December   Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:57 am

The biggest movie of 2008, “The Dark Knight” produced nothing more than a cell phone game for gamers to play — and a new report from Kotaku Australia explains why we got nothing more.

***

While giant video game publisher Electronic Arts still won’t admit that a “Dark Knight” game was under development at the company in 2008, the existence of such a project had been widely rumored and winked at throughout the last calendar year. Still, no game based on the movie was released for any of the major console and handheld gaming systems.

But a report in the Australian version of gaming blog Kotaku goes into great detail about a now-canceled “Dark Knight” game that was in development all year at the Brisbane offices of EA-owned development studio Pandemic.

The report describes an open-world (think “Grand Theft Auto“) Batman game being designed by a team that hadn’t made open-world games before, under a tight 18-month deadline that was supposedly determined by the alleged expiration of EA’s Batman license at the end of 2008.

From Kotaku Australia:

The real killer was having to hit the same release date as the movie. Eventually it became clear this would be impossible and the decision was made to focus on launching to coincide with the Dark Knight DVD release in December 2008. This would be the absolute deadline, as EA’s rights to the Batman IP expired in December.

By September, the Dark Knight game was supposed to be in alpha. However, there were still massive problems with the game: huge glitches with the missions, the graphics, the technology. These were all issues that potentially could have been fixed, but essentially the quality just wasn’t at a level it should have been at that time in the production schedule. The game had to ship just a few months later, but everyone knew it was in no state to do so.

The Dark Knight was canned.

Much more detail about what went wrong with the game can be found in the Kotaku report.

EA won’t officially comment on the story. Contacted with questions about the fate of the game and the EA license to Batman this morning, an EA spokesperson told MTV Multiplayer: “We never announced plans for developing or publishing a game on that license.”

A spokesperson for Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, which would have been involved in managing the “Dark Knight” project with any game development studio and publisher, could not be reached for comment by press time.

Super-hero video games have a long and miserable history. If the Kotaku report checks out, add another sad tale to that chronicle.

As for Batman, he’s set to return to video games in “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” coming from Warner Brothers and publisher Eidos to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC later this year or next.

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