Arkham City News and Arkham Asylum Figures!

As announced by ComputerandVideoGames.com, CALENDAR MAN is the latest character to be confirmed for the upcoming ARKHAM CITY. Here’s the story and a first look at his design!

We got what was thought to be our first look at Arkham City’s Calendar Man at the end of last year.

But, with the Rocksteady design looking a bit chubby and generic goon-like (except for the distinctive tattoo around his head) we couldn’t be sure back then that the spotted character wasn’t just a Calendar Man thug.

A new image attached to a short Calendar Man bio, however, has emerged on the internet seemingly confirming the design.

It’s already been confirmed that Calendar Man will feature in Arkham City with script cues that will be activated according to the time in real life. More specifically, if you visit the criminal at his cell during any real-life holiday, he’ll have a natter with you about the crimes he performed on that day.

And there’s more good news! We’ve just gotten our shipment of 6-inch DC Direct figures based on Arkham City’s awesome predecessor, Arkham Asylum:

The first series includes Batman, Joker (with Scarface), Harley Quinn and Scarecrow, each rendered brilliantly by the talented artists at DC Direct. They capture the look of the game perfectly. The next series, which includes the likes of Poison Ivy and Bane, will be available in May and are pre-orderable now!

Ame-Comi Heroine Mini Figures Series 1

The Ame-Comi Heroine Mini-Figures are here! The girls of Gotham City – Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy – are the first in an all new, super-cute line of mini-figures, affectionately known as “mini-comis.” Based on the larger Ame-Comi Heroine PVC Statue line, these miniature Ame-Comi PVC figures are all brand-new sculpts! Batgirl cuddles a squishable baby bat toy, as Harley Quinn wields a deadly pop-gun and Poison Ivy charms a serpentine vine.

Each Mini-figure stands at 5″ high and is packaged in a 4-color window box with J-hook, each non-articulated PVC mini figure is sold separately (or as a complete set from Cmdstore.com), and includes a display base.

Ame-Comi Heroine Mini Figure Series 1

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What Comic Book Games Can Learn From Batman: Arkham Asylum

Platform Nation has a great article telling video game companies what they should take away from the success and general awesomeness of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Last year, one game took everyone by surprise. Rocksteady Studios came out of nowhere (literally; it was their second game they ever made) with Batman: Arkham Asylum. I would go so far as to say that they re-wrote the book on how to make a game based on a comic book. This year, another superhero looks to rise from the video game ashes after several disappointing efforts. Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions will be arriving shortly, so let’s go over pages from the Batman: Arkham Asylum manual that Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions should take from.

Throw the storyline from the movie out the window. The first thing any comic book game needs to do is come up with a completely new and original story. I hate to say this, but if I have seen the movie and know how the story goes, what is going to keep me playing all the way to the very end? Batman: AA’s story was original, compelling, was stayed in line with the Batman canon for the most part, and brought out the best in the Batman universe. All your favorite characters make an appearance in one way or another. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with enough plot twists scattered throughout to keep you saying “Just fifteen more minutes!”

Put me in the character’s shoes. I can’t tell you how many times bad voice acting has ruined a good story. Rocksteady Studios did exactly the right thing: they got the most beloved actors from the Batman series for the roles. Yes, that means Mark Hamill for the Joker and Kevin Conroy to voice the Batman. Just hiring these two actors alone did wonders for the story, as it brought me back to the days were I watched the cartoons on Saturday morning. All of the sudden, I was playing these cartoons. And that is a really, really good feeling. In addition, the graphics fit the game just right. The graphics were dark and gritty, which really enhanced the “creepy asylum” aurora. It was so satisfying to crunch a bad guy, and then see a bunch of tiny bats fly out of his body. All the character models look amazing, and you can see the influences from the comic books sneaking through, which is vital. The small details like Batman’s suit showing damage over the course of the game helped immerse you into the game. And the cut scenes looked and sounded fabulous and they helped move along the story at an acceptable rate.

Make the game fun to play. Everyone knows how horrible controls have ruined Spiderman and Superman games for years. Rocksteady took a “easy to learn, difficult to master” approach which was implemented beautifully. And it wasn’t just a button-masher either. Rocksteady did a fabulous job introducing various mechanics into the game that allowed you to vary the way you took out the bad guys. In addition, the game played in a stealth-like manner similar to the Tom Clancy games, which was really different and ran counter to my “superheros can do everything and beat anybody, no problem” mentality.

Spice things up. As I alluded to above, Rocksteady put many different styles of gameplay in their game. All the boss battles are different, there are some puzzle sections sprinkled about, and the whole “stealthy Batman” mindset really makes this game stand out from many of the other comic book games I have seen. Compare Batman: AA to one of the recent Iron Man games and it becomes clear the variety of gameplay really do make a difference in keeping the game fresh for 8 hours.

Give us the unlockables and extras we crave. For all the comic book fans and achievement hunters out there, Rocksteady didn’t forget you. There are a bunch of riddles set up by The Riddler for you to unlock. These often revolve around obscure comic book villians or Gotham City lore that comic book fans will crave. In addition, there are tons of audio tapes for you to unlock to take the story to another level altogether. Solving all these riddles and finding all the secrets will add on many more hours to the campaign length, because there is just SO MUCH for you to do.

Don’t deny your heritage. Whatever you do, don’t forget the comic books that you are coming from. Batman: AA gave a shout-out to these comics in the form of riddles and Easter eggs, but most importantly they did their research and they designed a game where you were Batman, not some modern evolution of such. That might have been their biggest decision of all.

Of course, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to Arkham City and maybe a few replays of AA, but there’s one more thing you might want to check out and that’s this DC Direct series of Arkham Asylum figures. Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and MORE are coming your way in 2011 as a group of brilliantly-crafted 7-inch figures. Naturally, they’re pre-orderable now!

DC Direct’s 12” Deluxe Poison Ivy Figure

Just in: A new 1:6 scale Poison Ivy figure from DC Direct, showcasing Gotham City’s femme fatale of flora. Given the innocence in her expression, it’s a very different Poison Ivy than the general seductive pout the figures generally showcase, but nevertheless a striking rendering of a great villain.

She features a pair of costumes with the corset removable to reveal her more traditional skin-tight green number. She comes packaged in a deluxe 4-colour window box and boasts 28 points of articulation, meaning you can expect some great posing potential from a character known to be just as slinky as Catwoman.

But there’s more good news for Batman fans! It’s not much, but Christopher Nolan recently spoke about the end of his trilogy. Here’s the scoop from MoviesOnline.ca:

In an interview with EMPIRE Christopher Nolan talked about the upcoming and highly anticipated sequel to DARK KNIGHT. By the sounds of it this will be the last film and will ‘wrap up’ Chris Nolans involvement. He told Empire;

My brother is working on the screenplay. We came up with a story we are very excited about. We particularly like where we are taking the characters and what the ending is…[it will be] the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story.”

It should be interesting to see where this goes since at the end of Dark Knight Batman was now a wanted man and the story had taken a very dark turn. No word yet on who will be the villain but it would be fantastic to see Batman as a wanted man trying to help Gotham while evading capture.

New 5-inch Ame-Comi Figures from DC Direct!

There are three new mini figures of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Batgirl on their way from DC Direct’s anime-styled Ame-Comi line. Each one is only 5 inches tall, just over half the size of the usual figures, but features the top-notch design and sculpting you’ve come to expect from the collection.

Check out the image below to see the ladies as they appear in the group. They can be purchased as a set of three or individually, but while you can definitely pre-order now, they begin shipping in January 2011!


DC Direct’s 12-inch Poison Ivy Deluxe Figure

A literal femme fatale, renowned Gotham botanist Dr. Pamela Isley is best known under her villainous Alias, Poison Ivy. A foe as deadly as she is seductively beautiful, Ivy has truly earned her place in Batman’s infamous Rogues Gallery and thus this rendering by DC Direct.

This new figure is available for pre-order now and ships in May of this year. She stands 12 inches tall and features real cloth on her bustier, which can be removed to reveal her classic costume worn beneath. Definitely a neat take on the overall look, with an oddly wanting, innocent expression on a character whose range rarely exceeds the knowingly sensual. Definitely one for collectors, though my personal tastes tend to lean toward the considerably less poisonous Catwoman (shipping in March!).

New Ame-Comi Figures from DC Direct!

To some, anime is the worst thing to happen to the comic book world, infiltrating it with an unwelcome aesthetic and rabid fanbase the non-manga-readers want no part of. But to others, anime complements the world of Western heroes and brings the characters to life in a completely new way while still maintaining the core sensibilities.

These are toys for the second group.

From DC Direct, we’ve got the Ame-Comi statuettes and figures, featuring the women of DC (oh, and Batman as the lone male) like you’ve never seen them before. Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Huntress, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and more! They’re all here in this deluxe collection featuring the work of some truly talented designers. Click the pics to take a look at the whole collection, but first, here’s one of the more recent figures featuring a wild revamp for the Dark Knight: