Batman Goes Multiplayer First-Person Shooter with Gotham City Impostors

Think of it as Team Fortress meets Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Gotham City Impostors, in development by Monolith Productions for the PC, Playstation Network and Xbox Live, will have players taking each other out as Batman- and Joker-themed criminals and vigilantes.

No date or price has yet been set for the game which will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive, the same publisher behind Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.

The notion of a multiplayer Batman was often nixed by the publisher, we were told during a morning briefing in Santa Monica, because the theory was that everyone playing a multiplayer Batman game would want to play as the cowled hero. So in Gotham City Impostors no one plays as him.

Instead players will play on either the side of the Batz or the Jokerz as they game their way through a variety of online only, multiplayer only modes.

Because the game is multiplayer-only there is no ongoing story, but there is a backstory. The concept, as shown during a cartoon shown during today's presentation, is that Gotham is filled with a lot of disgruntled citizens who have decided to put on a Batman cowl of their own and take out a rising crowd of Joker-themed baddies.

The game, built on a proprietary engine, feels a bit like a Team Fortress game, with fast gameplay and quick matches.

I had a chance to check out the multiplayer deathmatch which put me in the shoes of a Bat armed with an assault rifle, shotgun, pipe bombs and grappling hook.

The game will include a number of classes, as well as body types. Body types, which include speedy, nimble and tough, impact your character's speed, toughness and strength.

Players can also pick through an assortment of weapons to choose their primary and back up guns, a gadget and a support item.

While many of the weapons looked pretty straightforward, there were also some home made weapons like a PVC-and-fireworks rocket launcher nicknamed "The Thunder Dragon" and a grappling gun that used a crank to pull you up to ledges.

Characters' costumes can also be customized, changing everything from the cowl, legs, hands and feet, to the logo and voice options.

While the mode I played was a straightforward team deathmatch, the team demonstrated a mode called "Psych Ward" which had the teams battling for a large car battery. Once captured, the battery, which leaves a trail of yellow ooze in its wake, has to be brought back to your base and attached to a brainwashing device. If you can defend it for 30 seconds you score a point, and turn on the machine which temporarily stuns all of the players on the other team, leaving them only able to slap attack you.

The game will not include any bots and the studio said they are still working on how many players it will support in total. The round I played had a total of eight players in it.

I enjoyed my short time with the game. It feels like a fun pick-up-and-play first-person shooter with the sort of nod to comics that both casual and hardcore fans of the comics will enjoy. The gameplay felt a bit loose, the aiming a bit slippery, but nothing that I didn't adjust to within a few minutes.