Instead of Arkham Asylum, we could have gotten a very, very different Batman game. A game set in the 19th Century Victorian era, with a steampunk Batman pitted against Jack the Ripper. Here’s a tech demo that shows what that game could have looked like.
Based on the 1989 “Elseworlds” graphic novel Gotham By Gaslight written by Brian Augustyn with art by Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), the game was developed and pitched by indie company Day 1 Studios. Day 1 is best known for the video games F.3.A.R. and Fracture, and apparently they came up with this pitch for an Xbox 360/PS3 game in late 2009.
Sadly, Warner Brothers Interactive rejected the pitch, probably because they had just published the wildly successful and critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum, and didn’t want to confuse fans.
Here’s hoping that after the Arkham series runs its course (think there will be a third game?), WB will come back around to Gotham By Gaslight. The fog-filled tech demo is pretty sparse — there’s no fighting or story elements, just lots of running around — but the premise is fascinating and would easily lend itself to some really cool gameplay, visuals, and storytelling.