One of the Wii U games shown at Nintendo’s E3 2012 press event was Batman: Arkham City, as per the following trailer:

As early as its reveal at last year’s E3 conference, the question which has passed many lips– including those of my colleague Matt Green at Press The Buttons– is why are they bothering to release this game, a title which will be a year old (perhaps a little more) by the time the Wii U is released, for the platform? After all, everyone who wants to play it already has, right?

That’s not quite how I see it. It is a valid question, but there are other things to consider.

One would be the audience of people who, for one reason or another, have held out for the inevitable “Game of the Year” or otherwise marked special edition. Perhaps they dislike digitally-downloaded content, or are simply patient and frugal, waiting for the deal that allows them to take in all of the game’s content in a single purchase. Maybe they just never had the chance, and forgot about the game until its re-release, interest sparked anew?

Whatever their reasons, there is clearly a market for these re-releases out there. Why else would they keep making them?

In addition, not everyone gets to play every game they want to right away. This comes from experience, though there can be other reasons as well. Perhaps the target audience are Wii owners who never got an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?

With these factors (not even taking into account diehard Batman fans who might actually buy the game more than once), it does stand to reason that Nintendo and Warner Bros. Interactive might want to get a cut of the “Game of the Year” market around the holiday season by offering not only a version of the game with all of the previously-released content, but even more features and content as well. Not to mention the shiny new system to play it on.

The real problem, as it stands, comes in the fact that the Game of the Year edition of Batman: Arkham City is already out, and the less-patient types– or those who have waited long enough– are probably going to go ahead and snatch that up. Not to mention the question of price; Batman: Arkham City GOTY edition could conceivably drop in price by the time the holidays roll around with the Wii U, leaving their version priced at a premium above the norm. Maybe that extra content will justify the price, but maybe not.

All of that said, Warner Bros. has undoubtedly made bank on this game, and porting it to the Wii U seems like a low-cost solution to getting quality software onto the platform in time for the holiday rush. Odds are, even if it doesn’t sell like it did on the other platforms, they’ll still make a nice little profit off of what they do move. It may not be the ideal solution for the gamer who pre-ordered the original and bought it on Day One, but perhaps it’s not meant for them, either.

In the end, it will be getting a good game into more hands and making it even more accessible, which is hardly a bad thing. And if Warner Bros. manages to pocket a few more dollars from new copies sold of this game versus used copies of the others, they’ll undoubtedly be more happy.

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition doesn’t really seem like a system seller, but it’s probably not meant to be, either. More likely, it’s something solid there for people who buy a shiny new Wii U and are wondering what to do with it when everyone else has gone home and the time for Nintendo Land is over.

Oh, and one aside, as a matter of full disclosure: I’ve yet to play Batman: Arkham City, and while I don’t know when I’ll ever get around to it, Armored Edition has become the version I would likely get when and if I do. Include the Beyond Batsuit, and that just seals the deal.

Edit: And since posting this article, Press the Buttons has since posted an update, and frankly, a commenter named Tanooki made what is perhaps the simplest, most compelling argument of all:

“Well, Capcom milked Resident Evil 4 for everything it was worth, so what’s wrong with Batman doing it too?”

What, indeed? Despite releases on multiple platforms, including Nintendo’s own GameCube, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition went on to do quite well with just a bit of new content and some new controls and options… much like what is being included in Batman: Arkham City. With that in mind, among everything else, why shouldn’t Warner Bros. make this game an early Wii U release?

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  • xnamkcor

    Get out of my head!