Batman: Arkham Asylum developer regrets Detective Vision

David Hego, the art director for Batman: Arkham Asylum has some reservations about the game’s Detective Vision mode. Speaking at the Develop Conference in Brighton today, Hego expressed regrets about how powerful the mode was, which resulted in many gamers missing out on Arkham Aslyum’s gritty look…

The mode was certainly useful, maybe too useful. Hego joked that when he hears about players going through most of the game with the Detective Vision on, he would “want to cry a little bit.” “It was a gameplay decision to make Detective Vision so strong… we’re going to try not to do that mistake again,” said Hego.

Above: If you play through Batman: Arkham Asylum again, turn off Detective Vision once in a while or the game’s art director will be sad

Above: A trailer for Arkham Asylum 2. According to Hego, Rocksteady Studios won't be making the same mistake with the Detective Mode again

How does Hego’s observations about the Detective Mode jive with your memories of playing Arkham Asylum? We certainly remember having to make a conscious effort at times to turn Detective Vision off so we could drink in the game’s amazing visuals.

Source: GameSpot

July 14, 2010


  • mrmorozov987 - January 26, 2011 11:09 p.m.

    I don't understand why so many people left Detective Mode on for so long. I turned it on when I was in a combat zone, and turned it off for the rest of the game. I don't see what was so hard about turning it off.
  • mrmorozov987 - January 26, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    I don't understand why so many people left Detective Mode on for so long. I turned it on when I was in a combat zone, and turned it off for the rest of the game. I don't see what was so hard about turning it off.
  • Axcleblade - July 17, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    I had detective mode on the entire game. I almost forgot that wasn't what the game actually looked like.
  • meyamokevin - July 16, 2010 5:37 a.m.

    i was playing the game on my non-gaming laptop so whenever i turned detective mode on, my fps dropped like crazy and it became very difficult to play. so i used detective mode scarcely
  • LordFacemunch - July 15, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    They could modify it so it only recognized certain objects. They could also give it a limited battery life, but it would recharge while it was off, similar to using the night vision with the solid eye in Metal Gear Solid 4. Also, this game kicks ass to the extreme.
  • crisdace - July 15, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    I have beaten Arkham Asylum, so I know about dective mode. I think itmakes the graphics look cooler. I think gamers should have that freedom to go though the game with Detective Mode. If they want to miss the graphics thats there problam.
  • SCRubS77 - July 15, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    I was actually pretty aware of how detective mode detracted from the visuals, and made conscious decisions to turn it off for a bit during a level. I'm glad I did, 'cause that game looked so badass.
  • raWfodoG - July 15, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    Just add a timer to the detective mode/vision as if the battery runs out quick and you need time for it to recharge before you can use it again. A minute of straight usage would require two minutes or so for it to fully recharge again for further use.
  • BannedInDC - July 15, 2010 3:53 p.m.

    Do you guys have a reddit button yet?
  • Woodsey - July 15, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    I used it a lot on my first playthrough admittedly, but that's because I was hunting down everything for a 100% completion. On my second playthrough I used it much less.
  • HitmanSB07 - July 15, 2010 12:08 p.m.

    They're going to cut down on the most important gameplay feature in the first game because the art director is unhappy? anyone else think that's ridiculous?
  • pin316 - July 15, 2010 11:59 a.m.

    i remember thinking how amazing the atmosphere in the game was, and then starting to properly rely on the detective definitely detracted from the sense of immersion in the game world, but at the same time that is only the case because it was a brilliantly implemented mechanic. there were certain areas of the island that i think would have been incredibly spoiled....the intensive treatment building, penitentiary and the caves especially were done in so much detail. As soon as i realised what was missing i had to think of a revised way of playing. I ended up trying to ration it so I could get a decent balance. Would use the detective vision when entering a new area, and then switch off once had sussed out enemy positions and behaviours.
  • sternparez - July 15, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    yeh it probably was too useful and less pretty looking back, still AMAZING game though, coming from someone who's never liked a superhero game
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - July 15, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    There were a couple of points where I played on hard, (the main hall of the library and the sewer junction jump to mind) where I found that there was so much of a clusterf*ck of enemies that detective vision made it easier to foresee and counter incoming attacks, so I had it switched on for most of the fight until I got it down to a reasonable number of goons. But mostly I used detective mode to track enemies for a short while in the predator parts, before switching back to normal mode to witness the beauty of an exploding wall crushing two helpless morons. :') An adjustable density of the dectective mode would be quite good for Batman 2, one that phases in just armed people or threats, without changing the entire scheme.
  • AW8 - July 15, 2010 4:53 a.m.

    Oh, and a cooldown time or what people are talking about, would suck like hell. How would that help? It would only be annoying as hell. I say tone it down into a "see enemies through walls"-mode, without the purple tint. And I see no reason to why the question mark-parts shouldn't be visible without detective mode - many of them were located in dead-ends, in a place you'd scan anyway. No point in making those invisible.
  • AW8 - July 15, 2010 4:45 a.m.

    I didn't find the detective mode THAT annoying - it was as simple as turning it on in a new area, and turning it off after you'd scanned the area. The same in stealth gameplay, I turned it on to see where the enemies where, and turned it off when I was about to silently take out an enemy. However, I do remember that the transition from detective mode to normal vision and vice versa became a bit annoying after a while. This is only good news, and I am not against it in any way. On a sidenote, you could see destructible walls a mile away, the same with riddler statues (or they were hidden in a easy-to-see vent), so except for stealth combat and "question mark riddle"-searching, the detective mode wasn't really needed all the time. I definitly didn't run around in detective mode always. But again, only good news. The lesser detective mode the better.
  • Mechamorbo - July 15, 2010 4:41 a.m.

    I only really used it when the story called for it, and to scout a room or area for bad guys. I liked the look of it, but I recall that it was pretty easy to get disorientated, get caught up on scenery, or sometimes not realize that a bad guy wasn't, in fact, standing behind a wall. Or I may be making that up. I dunno. I don't think the solution for it is to put it on a recharge. Besides seeming like a step back technologically (in in-game context), I just really hate when games do that. It feels so artificial. Instead I think the solution would be to come up with an effect that looks less CSI and more representative of the actual environment. I do, however, really LIKE the CSI look. Maybe it's just something that has to be accepted. Some people are going to want to play through the game with it on. Some people aren't. Just because a group plays through it and doesn't get to appreciate the full scope of the visuals doesn't mean that they've gone to waste. There's a huge group that went through and loved them. And who's to say that a good chunk of the 'mode players' are even the sort of people who take the time to stand around and soak things in anyway? Maybe they're power-thru-ers, and that's the whole reason they were playing the game that way in the first place. In short, it's great that there were essentially two ways you could play through the game, and you could play it as you saw fit.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 15, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    Just make Detective Mode have the same strength/usefulness, but limit its use with a quick cooldown system, like magic abilities in MMOs. Duh.
  • batman5273 - July 15, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    I only used detective mode when I had to scan for enemies and set traps. Also needed to look for the Riddler clues. But I used it sparingly. The game was beautiful, But in certain circumstances you had no choice but to use detective vision. When you had to explode a wall when an enemy was walking by, or when you had to pop up. In certain places, you had to use detective mode because it was dark. I wouldn't say the developer shld feel bad about implementing it. Hell in the "Dark Knight" he used the same type of technology when he had to clear out the building that was under construction. Batman Arkham Asylum was the abosolute perfect Batman game, as "The Dark Knight" was a perfect comic book movie! RockSteady don't change anything but add more content to Arkham 2. Can't wait to see your interpretations of the new villians!
  • Tymiegie - July 15, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    I had no problem finding the happy medium between using it and not using it. I had it on all the time when I was stealth hunting, but I had it turned off the rest of the time; I was treated to both amazing visuals and amazing gameplay. They don't need to axe the feature because gamers can choose the way they want to experience the game. I mmissed some of the hidden stuff the first time around, so I had to go back and find it; however, I loved the trade off and it didn't bother me.

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