A retail website may have just provided users with the closest thing they’ve had to an actual Batman: Arkham Knight release date yet.
The Microsoft Store, the retail arm of the computing giant that goes by the same name, began taking release date pre-orders for Batman: Arkham Knight for the Xbox One over the weekend. That by itself wouldn’t be notable. Microsoft offers pre-orders for all the games coming to its Xbox One & Xbox 360 consoles. The key here is that before users add the game to their cart the site is showing a release date of February 24th.
Of course, Microsoft could be using the date as a placeholder. Retail sites like Amazon have been known to use placeholder dates when actual release dates aren’t available. This allows them to start taking pre-orders while the game is still fresh on user’s minds, even though they don’t have all the details in hand.
That being said, the Batman: Arkham Knight release date on Microsoft’s website fits with what we know about the game. Originally, Xbox One and PS4 owners were going to have the opportunity to purchase the game sometime this year.
Rocksteady Studios, the game’s developer went on record multiple times saying that it was priming the game for a release before the end of the year. Later GameStop leaked a possible release date of October 14th. Last month a new trailer detailing the features of the in-game, player controllable Batmobile revealed that Rocksteady Studios now had plans to deliver Batman: Arkham Knight sometime in 2015. If the studio was already gearing up for a release, a last-minute delay of a few months could be all the time it needed to get the game finished and on store shares, hence the strange February release date. In the past Batman: Arkham games arrived in late fall.
When Batman: Arkham Knight makes it to store shelves is very important. First, Rocksteady Studios has gained a reputation for making the Batman games must-haves. Every title developed by the studio hasn’t just done well in terms of sales, they’ve all been great games to play in general. Rocksteady works hard to tailor the experience to franchise lovers, but the combat and other controls are so easy that practically anyone can pick up a controller and feel like they’re Batman. In fact, many games have copied the Batman: Arkham series of controls.
Batman: Arkham Knight is also important because it’s another big-ticket release that users will need an Xbox One or PS4 to play. When announcing the game, Rocksteady also made it perfectly clear that Xbox 360 and PS3 users shouldn’t expect a version of Batman: Arkham Knight on those consoles to arrive initially. Microsoft and Sony are counting on games exclusive to the next-generation of consoles to boost sales of their hardware. New features and capabilities are great, but it’s actual tangible must-have games the convince users to upgrade to the latest and greatest consoles. A release date this fall would have boosted sales of the Xbox One and PS4. That’s great for users because they would have been more console owners to play online with and such this holiday season.
As one might expect, Batman: Arkham Knight puts users in control of the Batman. In this installment of the franchise the Arkham Knight, a villain created especially for this game, has seized large swaths of Gotham City. His motives from the trailer aren’t clear, but the Arkham Knight makes it pretty clear that he’s looking to take down Batman. In addition to a large game world and improved graphics, it’s that aforementioned Batmobile that will be this game’s star attraction. Players will get to pilot the Batmobile and take down enemies with it. That’s something previous games never allowed them to do.
Rocksteady has yet to confirm if February 24th is the actual release date for Batman: Arkham Knight. Users who pre-order the game from Microsoft will get a $10 digital Xbox One gift card along with the game.