The Metroid Prime guys are making a 2D Batman Metroidvania. So far so good.
Our ears perked up when Armature Studios, a company founded by the leads from the Metroid Prime games, was announced to be making a Metroid style Batman game on 3DS. While the E3 demo only showed the opening area, which was light on exploration and heavy on proving they can make a 2D Arkham game, the potential is there, and a great number of the NWR staff is excited by their promise.
As we find out more before the game's October 25 release, our tune might change, but for now, check out this clip from Jonathan Metts' E3 2013 impressions and see our optimism.
Blackgate is a 2.5D game, meaning that Batman's movement is always two-dimensional, even as the environments wrap around him. The effect is similar to Klonoa, or the new Donkey Kong Country on Wii U. Occasionally, you can even use the grappling hook to move in or out of plane, which gives the game a surprising 3D feel. Completing the immersion, enemies can surround Batman in 3D; he will face them as needed and pull them into his own proximity, allowing for follow-up on the main axis of movement. All of this allows the developer, Armature Studios (founded by three ex-Retro Studios guys) to establish a fully 3D world that accurately captures the feel of Batman's console games, even as player movement is reliably two-dimensional. We've seen this recently in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, but this unfinished Batman demo is already more impressive.
For a 2D game with plenty of platforming, it's interesting to note that Batman cannot jump at will. He will take a running leap from ledges, as in a Zelda game, and you can even glide from a higher point, but vertical movement is restricted to climbing and grappling. This actually gave me a distinct association with Bionic Commando, which is another great touchstone for understanding how the game feels. There was plenty of hand-to-hand combat in the demo, and it perfectly captures the heaviness and rhythm of fighting in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City on consoles.