Just one post ago, I mentioned how excited I was for Batman: Arkham Knight, the final installment of the incredible Arkham video game series. But it seems like we’ll have to wait longer than anticipated. According to whatculture.com, Arkham Knight once had a planned release date of October of this year, but has now been pushed back to 2015, or so says the newest trailer. If I’m the rabid fan I say I am, why does the title say that I’m glad about this?
Well, first of all, it gives me time to gather up more money so I can actually afford a PS4, so that’s helpful but more importantly…
Artistic integrity. You may have noticed the incredible lack of it in recent movies and games. It seems artistic integrity is rapidly being replaced by cash value. Will it make money? Do it! Is it good? Who cares?
Disney cranked out a zillion sequels, prequels, mid-quels and even a couple trilogies. Was it because they had some fantastic storylines to explore or new depths for their characters? No, it’s because kids are stupid and parents will do anything to shut them up. E.T. got a video game that was made in about 5 weeks in hopes that it could cash in on the movie’s success. It is now reputed as one of the worst video games in any universe. Even the beloved Batman Arkham series had Arkham Origins half-heartedly thrown in to keep fans happy and BOY were they upset!
That’s why I’m happy to see that Rocksteady is taking a little extra time on the final installment of their greatest series. It shows that they aren’t concerned with making a quick buck; they want to make sure that the game is done right.
Gamers have had a wealth of problems lately thanks to developers being so desperate for a buck that they chug out games rife with glitches. Day-one patches became a normal thing, as though no creator could bother to make sure their game was actually playable before going live. And, of course, great games had all the awesome sucked out of them by endless sequels. When money is the bottom line, art nearly always suffers.
I remember working for a company once that had posters on the wall with slogans like “F*** it, ship it.” Basically, it’s the idea that some is better than none, so even if it’s not perfect, get it done. There’s some wisdom in that, but also a lot of danger. “Done” isn’t always an accurate word. This kind of thinking goes for the most legalistic definition of “done” regardless of quality. It’s a bureaucratic concern for completed numbers that completely forgets why it was making the product in the first place.
Once upon a time, Pixar was working on a film that they had to admit sucked pretty bad. They could either go through with it and make some cash or they could scrap the entire product and start all over. They chose to restart, delaying their film by a long, long time. However, the new film they made was a little gem called Toy Story. Now imagine if they’d said that their previous movie was good enough. Do you think Pixar would have ever lived long enough to make Finding Nemo, the Incredibles, or Toy Story 3? Do you think they would have had the artistic quality that made those films so lovely? I doubt it.
I know this good-versus-done dilemma firsthand. I published a book in 2012 and it sold dismally. Why? Because it wasn’t ready and neither was I. The book needed a bit of polishing and I didn’t know anything about selling books. But I had the opportunity to get published and I jumped at it. I learned the hard way that good things take time, and if it’s not ready, it’s not ready. “Good enough” is a cheap phrase deposited in hopes of a high return. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be an artist, a creator.
And I think Rocksteady has the same mindset. They don’t want a game that’s okay, they want a crowning jewel on their series. They want Arkham Knight to be the best game of the bunch. Don’t get mad that you have to wait longer for what you want; be proud that someone actually wants you to enjoy your game, not just take your money.
Here’s hoping that other creators follow this trend.