An unfinished ROM prototype of Batman: Arkham Asylum on the DS has been uploaded to the internet. The ROM suggests Arkham Asylum on the DS would have been a third-person beat-'em-up and would have been developed by the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows team.
What does the Batman: Arkham Asylum DS prototype look like?
The prototype was uploaded by Twitter user Robin64, who describes himself as an "IT guy [and] Nintendo fan". It's a fairly barebones experience, as you might expect from a prototype, and consists only of two rooms: a rooftop and the interior of a library. Each room contains exactly one enemy goon. Batman's moves in the prototype are limited to running, kicking and punching, and rotating the camera. The goons themselves don't take any damage or react at all to Batman's attacks. There's also a minimap on the top screen that presumably would have shown Batman's position relative to enemies and the world, although it doesn't seem to work. Here's a look at the first room:
And here's what the second room looks like:
As you can see, there's also a utility belt icon in the bottom-left corner of the touch screen. Tapping this icon brings up a menu that shows a Batarang and four other objects, none of which appear to work. Tapping the Batarang doesn't do anything; it's likely these were intended to be inventory items Batman could use during combat or stealth challenges, but they weren't implemented.
We've recorded footage of the demo as well, which you can see below.
Who was working on the Batman: Arkham Asylum DS prototype?
The title screen of the prototype suggests that it would have been developed by Full Fat, a British developer which has worked on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and other licensed DS properties. This work would have been done in conjunction with both Eidos and Warner Bros, both of whom were publishers on the finished Batman: Arkham Asylum for consoles and PC.
Judging from the prototype itself, it doesn't seem like Batman: Arkham Asylum was very far along in development for DS. This looks like a proof-of-concept intended to demonstrate that the game could work on the DS platform. Work was likely canceled on the game before any more serious consideration could be given to the mechanics and structure, which is why pretty much nothing apart from Batman's movement actually works in the prototype. Still, it's a neat little reminder of what could have been.
Have you played the Arkham Asylum DS prototype? Would you have liked to see the game make it to Nintendo's handheld? Let us know in the comments below!