Canceled ‘Nolanverse’ Batman Game Has Extensive Gameplay Leak

Canceled ‘Nolanverse’ Batman Game Has Extensive Gameplay Leak

Back in the early 2010s, Batman was all the rage. Actually, what am I talking about? Batman is still all the rage, but at the time, it was an especially hot property. In the world of video games, Rocksteady’s Arkham series was taking off while Christopher Nolan was rounding the corner on his widely acclaimed trilogy of Batman films starring Christian Bale. At the same time, Monolith Productions, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Games, was working on its own Batman game set in the “Nolanverse” that never quite got off the ground, and was eventually reworked into that studio’s breakout hit, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Now, an extensive amount of gameplay and assets from the game have been uncovered. Twitter user SpideyRanger notes that they found the videos on the Internet Archive, and a reply to them credits a user known as Back2Life for finding and posting the footage. It’s unclear how they managed to get their hands on it, but there’s quite a bit to go around.

The leaked Project Apollo footage shows Batman leaping from a building and gliding down to an elevated train track just above an ongoing crime. Before he jumps, a bit of UI pops up directing the player to an earlier version of the game’s menu, which shows off quests that can be tracked and a loadout screen divided into four sections: combat, stealth, gadgets, and the vehicle. The player clicks into the stealth section, where they could presumably purchase or unlock abilities such as new takedown locations, a silent glide attack, and more.

A map of the area can also be seen in the leaked footage, showing bat-symbol icons that would’ve been active crimes or quests that Batman could pursue. As he glides down to tend to an “ambient crime” police chatter can be heard, but before we get a glimpse of combat the gameplay fades and transitions to the aftermath of the fight. It’s early footage, so you can’t really blame them for not having everything in the game.

Another clip shows what’s presumably a later iteration of the same menu, which now boasts a much sleeker interface, as well as some stealth gameplay. In it, Batman hugs a wall and deploys Project Apollo’s version of Detective Vision (a notable feature of the Arkham games) to scan something nearby. Later on, he throws a smoke bomb into the next room to stun some goons and uses Detective Vision to find them in the smog and take them out. Unsurprisingly this, too, looks very similar to Rocksteady’s games.

Though the gameplay clips in this leak are entirely new, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of this canceled title. An earlier investigation by Liam Robertson of DidYouKnowGaming some years ago uncovered countless details about Project Apollo, such as the fact that the title was in development for about 18 months before eventually being canned and that it was an open-world title. The most important tidbit, however, is that this canceled Batman game was also the genesis of Shadow of Mordor’s famous Nemesis system, which would’ve randomly generated unique Gotham City thugs who would antagonize Batman and return stronger than the last time you fought.

Per Robertson’s investigation, the game was eventually canned because it never got the support of Christopher Nolan. WB Games made it clear to Monolith that the game couldn’t continue development without him signing off on it since it was inspired by and set in the universe of his film trilogy. Monolith ran into issues just getting in contact with Nolan, who was otherwise busy, but it’s also believed that he simply didn’t care enough to pay attention, which eventually killed the game. Monolith eventually changed gears and moved onto the Lord of the Rings property. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Monolith has made a sequel to Shadow of Mordor, had their Nemesis system patented by WB Games, and are now at work on a Wonder Woman game.

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