Batman: Arkham Shadow is the next big first-party title from Meta, headed exclusively to Quest 3 later this year. In an interview with the founder of the studio behind the game, we learned more about the origin of the title, the team behind it, and which of the original Batman: Arkham games it’s most closely aligned with.

Batman: Arkham Shadow has a lot to live up to. Not only Camouflaj’s last game—Iron Man VR, which we called “VR’s first great superhero game”—but also the legacy of the core Batman: Arkham games, which to many represent not just some of the best superhero games ever made, but some of the best games, period.

So when studio founder Ryan Payton says he’s “confident [Batman: Arkham Shadows] will be the best game we’ve shipped to date,” he’s putting a lot on the line.

But there’s reason to believe that Camouflaj can pull it off. The studio now has years of experience in VR game design, and has proven itself able to create fun and comfortable mechanics that many thought couldn’t work well in VR, like high speed flying using repulsor jets on your hands in Iron Man VR.

The studio also has the backing of Meta itself, which acquired Camouflaj in late 2022. What’s more, as we learn in our interview with Payton, Camouflaj picked up two Rocksteady alums, both of which worked on the original Batman: Arkham games.

Below is our interview with Payton, which covers the studio’s transition into Meta, it’s learnings from developing Iron Man VR, and how the studio is positioning itself to deliver on the fantasy of being not just Batman, but specifically the Batman that players came to love in the Arkham games.

Batman: Arkham Shadows Interview with Camouflaj Founder Ryan Payton

Q: How has the transition been after the Meta acquisition?

A: Being part of Meta has been absolutely terrific. I’m reminded every day that my core thesis for Camouflaj joining Meta has thus far proven true: becoming a first-party studio has further enabled Camouflaj to pursue our goals of creating high quality, meaningful games. Our next release, Batman: Arkham Shadow, has definitely benefited from Camouflaj being part of the larger Meta organization, which is exciting for us as developers, and is great for players, too.

Q: How was Batman chosen as the topic of your next game?

A: When we were wrapping development work on Marvel’s Iron Man VR back in 2020, Meta called us and said they loved the game and would really love to see what Camouflaj could do with something of even greater size, scope, and ambition. We explored a few options but quickly settled on Batman, which then kicked off a six-month discussion with Warner Bros. Interactive about not only creating a big, exclusive Batman title for Meta Quest 3, but one that is an official entry in the storied Arkham franchise.

Since day one WB and DC have been terrific partners. They’ve provided guidance where necessary while also yielding a surprising degree of freedom for Camouflaj to explore areas of the Arkham franchise that have yet to be developed, encouraging us to put our stamp on those moments. We’ve struck, in my opinion, the perfect balance between IP partner and development studio to enable us to make something special.

As a lifelong Batman fan and admirer of the Arkham games, this project has been a dream come true. Batman: Arkham Shadow is the manifestation of all the strengths and learnings Camouflaj has developed over the past eight years developing VR games. I’m confident it will be the best game we’ve shipped to date.

Q: How long has Batman: Arkham Shadows been in development in earnest?

A: Development began in earnest sometime in Q3 of 2020, so it will have been about a four-year journey once we wrap development later this year.

Q: How did you approach the game’s overarching direction? There are expectations from the previous Arkham games, but given that this is a VR game, surely there are some unique considerations—were there any aspects that felt ‘essential’ in the game? Any that had to be thrown out because they didn’t fit in VR?

A: We initially went to WB with a back-of-the-napkin list of core Arkham features we felt were essential to getting right in VR. At the top of that list was the freeflow, rhythm-based combat that the team at Rocksteady revolutionized with Arkham Asylum. We also spoke about the importance of nailing the feeling of being Batman, with his graceful moments, the ability to grapple up to perches, run and slide through vent covers, and silently take down enemies from the shadows.

Early in the negotiations with WB we showed up with two pivotal prototypes: one focused on combat, and the other on locomotion. Thankfully they were impressed with what we delivered, and thus development work on Batman: Arkham Shadow commenced. From there we went further down the check list of classic Arkham elements we knew we needed to function great in VR including exploration, boss battles, investigations, gadgets, puzzles, collectibles, and character-driven cinematics.

When players get their hands on Batman: Arkham Shadow later this year, I think they’ll be impressed with the degree at which we’ve not only faithfully translated all the classic Arkham elements into VR, but how fresh and exciting it all feels.

Q: What, if anything, learned during the development of Iron Man VR has informed the design of Batman: Arkham Shadows?

A: Mechanically Iron Man VR and Batman: Arkham Shadow are very different games, which has been a challenge in its own right. One thing I think we’ve proven to excel at as a studio is creating highly polished VR mechanics that feel comfortable despite how fast-moving our games tend to be. When we first showed off Iron Man VR, people doubted our ability to make flying as Iron Man feel fast and comfortable, and yet the team pulled it off. With Arkham Shadow, we knew grappling up to high perches and then gliding down onto unsuspecting enemies, in VR, could be a challenge from a comfort perspective, not to mention how intense Arkham’s freeflow combat is. Yet again, however, I suspect the public will be surprised at how great everything feels when they get their hands on Arkham Shadow later this year. This is all truly a testament to the incredible colleagues I have here at Camouflaj.

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Q: What, if anything, from Iron Man VR was not as successful as you would have liked, and you either scrapped or majorly reworked it to make things better for Batman: Arkham Shadows?

A: During the development of Arkham Shadow, we supported the amazing development team at Endeavor One to bring Iron Man VR to Quest 2 in time for holiday 2022. Although some of our engineers were concerned that it would be a distraction from our core work on Arkham Shadow, it ultimately ended up being an incredibly positive experience as it provided valuable insights in terms of how to push the Quest hardware. Supporting the development effort in bringing Iron Man VR to Quest ensured Arkham Shadow wouldn’t be our first Quest-focused game. From there we applied those learnings, allowing Arkham Shadow to take full advantage of all the strengths of Meta Quest 3.

Q: How has the development and design of Batman: Arkham Shadows been similar or different from Iron Man VR?

A: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the development of Arkham Shadow couldn’t be more different than how we built anything prior. We learned a lot developing our previous titles, and knew we needed to evolve as a team—to take it to the next level.

Throughout developing Iron Man VR I had a nagging feeling there was a better way, and then I came across a gentleman named Bill Green who had left Rocksteady after shipping all the Arkham titles over there. I was able to convince him to join Camouflaj, and since then Bill has truly transformed the way we develop games. Bill was able to convince Sophie Leal-Bolea to also join Camouflaj, who was a designer on both Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight, who has also been an incredible boon to the team.

Since Bill and Sophie joined, we’ve incorporated many of their lessons and transformed the way we make games here. Tangibly it means our designers and artists fully embrace the nature of highly iterative work, and develop pipelines and tools to support drastically uprooting areas that aren’t working for the game and story, and being equipped to make improvements in a matter of days. (The same changes that, back on Iron Man VR, would have taken us weeks if not months.) Bill and Sophie’s approach has supercharged the way we make games here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Ultimately it all comes down to the end user experience, so my hope is that players will find that, like the previous Arkham games, the world of Arkham Shadow feels expertly crafted and a joy to explore. We have some incredibly fun Arkham Asylum-inspired dungeons, in particular, I can’t wait to see players explore.

Q: As far as ‘game type’ goes, what are you aiming for? A straightforward linear narrative adventure?

A: Above all, the structure of Arkham Shadow is inspired by the first game in the series: Arkham Asylum. This means the game isn’t open world, but it affords a high degree of freedom for players to explore a courtyard-like area that connects the game’s dungeons. Players are free to return to dungeons in order to unlock secrets once they obtain a new gadget. I absolutely love that game loop, and it feels appropriate for the setting of the game, which we have yet to fully lift the veil on…

– – — – –

Batman: Arkham Shadow is due out Fall 2024. Do you think it will live up to the bar set by its predecessors? Sound off in the comments below!

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Yeshaya

    Could also be a good showcase for the Quest 3 itself. Show what a game can really look like when they didn't need to accommodate Q2 like AC Nexus and AW2 did. Esp for an Arkham game where the (graphically demanding) shadows are such a big part of the look.

  • Nevets

    In development for years, eh? Funny, that. The same thing was said about GTA San Andreas VR.

    • ViRGiN

      Funny, that. The same thing was said about 2 other Valve VR games.

      • patfish

        Were the first game delivered and is since 4,5 years the clear benchmark for every VR Game :) …not that bad or? Sadly it will stay, thx to Mata, the benchmark for a very long time :-(

        • ViRGiN

          Benchmark? Maybe benchmark for high-end pcvr enthusiasts, jerking off how something looks on headsets more expensive than their own gaming PCs.

          250 concurrent players in Alyx right now, LMAO!

          Half-Life 1 from 1998 has 4x more…

  • Everything is "terrific" according to him

    • ViRGiN

      And yet everything you have ever seen barely related to VR/XR etc is "awesome" and "cool" for you.

    • Sven Viking

      If there’s not something outside of this interview being referred to, to be honest two uses of the same word doesn’t seem that notable to me.

  • Rob

    Camouflaj is a good studio so it could be great but… We have to wait and see how good it will be. Stranger things was hyped but turned out to be a bit dissapointing. I own Iron man 2 on quest. It is a good game with a lot of content. But also subpar performance and controls.
    I own a quest 3 but the target group of quest 3 owners is pretty small for making this a quest 3 exclusive. I dont know if that was a good choice. It could also backfire at Meta for leaving quest 2 owners left behind.

    • XRC

      currently playing Camouflaj's debut game "Republique VR" currently free on Steam worth checking out.

      • Rob

        I own that game too. Also got it free. Pretty good. But not completely my type of game.

    • shadow9d9

      Stranger things was not hyped. Don-t even know what studio it was.

      • MeowMix

        Tender Claws – Virtual Virtual Reality, The Under Presents'

        Difference being Camouflaj is a first party studio, Tender Claws is not. Ryan Payton, Head of Camouflaj, is well respected for a reason (Metal Gear Solid, Halo)

        • shadow9d9

          Virtual Virtual reality 2 was a bomb though.

          • Literally the worst game I've EVER played ….
            [ ]^ (

    • Sven Viking

      Presumably it will hurt sales, but they need some incentive for more people to progress to Quest 3S/Quest 3.

      • Blaexe

        I could even see them bundling it with Quest 3 / Quest 3S around holiday season. It'll definitely be heavily advertised with Quest 3S.

    • Publishers would hype the shit outta "PONG VR" ….lol
      That's how they operate.
      [ ]^ )

  • FrankB

    Not having PCVR is a shockingly bad decision.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Well … it is a Meta produced game… but maybe a PCVR version follows later. I think that the decision to skip Quest2 will hurt more in terms of sales…

      • shadow9d9

        The point is not sales of the is to grow the ecosystem and they need incentives to get people to q3.

      • Mateusz Jakubczyk

        There will be no PCVR version, because the entire game would have to be created from scratch and it would cost a lot of money that would not be returned because PCVR games sell poorly. Moreover, this game is intended to help Meta promote its headset and platform, so it will not be available on other platforms. And Quests 2? Well, it's been supported for a little too long and it's finally time to move forward. Meta made a mistake by not withdrawing them from sale yet, it should have done so when Quest 3 was released, then switching to the new generation would be easier now.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Why do you think the entire game would have to be created from scratch? Who knows what engine it is built on.
          (I don't think there will ever be a PC version because it is paid for by Meta and the studio is owned now by Meta)

          • Mateusz Jakubczyk

            Because the game is created for a different platform, it will certainly involve some simplifications and compromises in graphics. The PCVR version would require a major overhaul, it cannot be a simple port, because poor quests visuals would burn the eyes of PCVR guys.

          • Sven Viking

            Plenty of Quest 1 and 2 games release/d on PC with only tweaked graphics settings. Certainly there might be complaints though.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Except most of design these days are done with higher qualities, so not much needed for upping the quality. Also, PCVR has more people then the few that would be bitching about the lower quality, which as I said will not really be a problem as it has been designed with higher quality assets anyway.
            and the Quest 3 doesn't really have any other advantages over other PCVR headsets (which funny enough, most are even Quest headsets).

          • patfish

            Meta paid a lot to downgrade PCVR games to mobile Games and the would pay even more to stop a better PCVR Version of Batman for SteamVR :D :D :D

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh please stop spewing nonsense. They paid to get a product onto their devices, just like Sony pays a lot of money to get products onto their consoles. They don't pay to stop a better PCVR version, that would make no sense.

          • patfish

            You are a dreamer if you really think Meta would make a better looking PC Version of this game soon :D
            If we get Batman on PC (what will never happen) we would get nearly 1:1 die Quest Version only with a bit more dynamic lighting – that's it :D

            I think Meta shoud develop their game in a noticalbe better/higer quality to update their expensive games for the Quest 4 and 5.

            If they don't do that (like with AW2) no one will play their million $ production after 2 years anymore – that's more than stupid

          • Sven Viking

            Every other Camouflaj game had been in Unity afaik.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Ah, then, if done right, it shouldn't even be a big problem to port it. (But again, I don't think that will happen due to Meta having paid for it mostly and it now being a Meta studio).

      • patfish

        Meta has paid a lot to downgrade PCVR Games to mobile Games and they would pay even more for not bring this game to PCVR :D

    • shadow9d9

      It would be a shockingly bad business decision to fund a game for a loss, that everyone would have access to. The whole point is to take a huge loss to build an ecosystem. Your desires do not create business incentive. This is your loss.

    • Mateusz Jakubczyk

      For who? Definitely not for Meta.

  • namekuseijin

    so excited for this and Hitman that finally bought a Quest 3… nothing but good exclusives sells consoles

    • Yeshaya

      I had an Index, bought a refurbished Quest 2 to try some of the exclusives like RE4 and the SW galaxy's edge. Ended up using it instead of my index, and now I have a q3. So I guess the exclusives route can work