Batman Games Look Best in Black and White

Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White

To this day, Batman: Arkham City remains a visually striking game. The grand, gothic feel of the comics was well-captured by art director David Hego and his team at Rocksteady. But I've never seen the game look quite like this.

These shots, captured by video-game screenshot master Duncan Harris at Dead End Thrills, go beyond his normal high-res, modded approach. By doing some clever Photoshop modding magic, Arkham City becomes the setting of a black and white noir photography series. (Note: I'd earlier incorrectly said that these shots were Photoshopped, but Harris tells me that he made the shots by modding the shader and texture combo when you pause the game. Whoa!)

These shots also recall the game's striking box art, which, sadly, Warner Bros. completely ruined in the Game of the Year edition.

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Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
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Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
Illustration for article titled emBatman/em Games Look Best in Black and White
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More shots over at Dead End Thrills.

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DISCUSSION

Arkham City becomes the setting of a black and white noir photography series

The word you're looking for is "low key" or "chiaroscuro". Noir is far more complex than just a visual/lighting style, and in fact many Noir films didn't even utilize the aesthetic, even if you only consider the "purist" Noir films from between The Maltese Falcon and Touch of Evil.


And, that aside, these really don't fit into that aesthetic either way. They're the result of high contrast done in postproduction, not low key lighting. It'd require a lot of painting in of shadows to get that effect, because the game itself wasn't really lit that way, at least not in these scenes.