Last month, Batman: Return to Arkham, a new revamp of the classic games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, was announced. Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive even promised the visually improved, Unreal Engine 4-powered Return to Arkham would arrive July 26, but something has apparently gone awry behind the scenes. That’s because the entire package has been delayed indefinitely.
“After reviewing the progress of the project, the team at WB Games has decided to delay the release of Batman: Return to Arkham to give the team at Virtuos Games additional time to deliver a polished Batman Arkham game experience. We do not have a release date yet and will be sure to communicate that once we are sure the game will be ready.”
As mentioned, Batman: Return to Arkham is not being developed by series-creators Rocksteady Studios, but Chinese port specialists Virtuos Games. Unfortunately, the Arkham series has not fared well with anybody but its original creators. Batman: Arkham Origins was a buggy disappointment, and the farmed-out PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight was an infamous disaster.
This delay follows significant fan criticism of Batman: Return to Arkham‘s visuals. While the debut trailer for the remaster looked good in isolation, a comparison like the one below reveals the visual upgrades are inconsistent at best. While Return to Arkham sometimes looks better, in other shots it actually looks less detailed than the 2009 and 2011 originals.
Could Batman: Return to Arkham be turned around and released by the end? Maybe, but it’s disappointing to see the excellent Arkham series put into this position again. Hopefully Warner Bros. has finally learned their lesson.