Don't bat an eye.
Having not been assigned to see Batman: Arkham Origins during E3, I waited with bated breath to see what the hype was about, but I didn't expect to see an entirely new feature for the franchise at a private showing last week: multiplayer. And all of the boards are now aflame! You can almost feel the emanating heat coming from the accusations of "tacked-on" multiplayer, detracting from the awesome single-player experience. Batman, they'll say, would be shaking his head in silence.
But if the multiplayer selection from Assassin's Creed III is any example, an added multiplayer based on stealth and strategy might not be so terrible for the franchise. At best, it would offer a worthy distraction that introduces an interesting dynamic to the systems underlying the Batman Arkham gameplay, properly turning it on its head. Case in point, Invisible Predator Online is an asymmetric 3 vs. 3 vs. 2 domination-styled match.
I'm going to repeat that, because you probably have a question mark hanging above you. Invisible Predator takes the traditional concept of two teams, in this case a gang of three Joker hoodlums versus three Bane mercenaries, battling it out for control points on the map, and throws Batman and Robin into the fray just to scare the crap out of them. While being a member of a gang, combat is the more or less the usual third-person shooter fare with a cover system, an arsenal of guns and grenades, and several ammo crates strewn throughout the map. Each side has a stock of 25 reinforcements that drain with each kill on your side, more if the enemy has more control points than your team. If it reaches zero and your entire team is wiped out, then it's game over.
Batman and Robin, on the other hand, must adminster justice fairly between both teams and intimidate gang members until Joker or Bane decides to pull the plug from the operation altogether. The duo can use any number of takedowns, from grates, ledge-hanging, or gargoyles, as well as deploy their sophisticated gadgetry from batarangs for stuns, scramblers that deactivate control points, and explosive gel nefariously placed around corners. As long as they can balance their efforts between both gangs so that neither of them run out of reinforcements too quickly, any veteran Batman or Robin player will no trouble being the predator and filling the intimidation meter before either team knows what hit them.
That said, the gang members have multiple opportunities to make a comeback and counter the two heroes. Turning on enhanced vision, with a limited but rechargable battery, will scan the surrounding area for life signs. If a team's reinforcements are at zero, then killing any hero will bring back any dead team members, just like catching the special ball in dodgeball (for my ground rules at least). Worse comes to shove, Joker and Bane themselves will bang on a designated door in the map as a last-ditch effort and the team member who reaches the door first can swap places with their gang's bonafide leader, destroying all that come in his path.
Details on other multiplayer modes, if they exist, were not given. However, as players rank up, they'll earn more gear and equipment to fashion their avatars how they see fit. The metagame seems deep, with plenty of unlockable costumes that any Batman and Robin fan will admire, especially the nostalgic animated Batman and Robin looks. My eyes are dead set on Red Robin.
Batman: Arkham Origins will release for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC worldwide on October 25, 2013. A separate spin-off version called Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate will release for 3DS and Vita on the same date.