In my humble opinion, The Dark Knight is Christopher Nolan’s best Batman film. Heath Ledger nailed The Joker. And it was a joy to see Two-Face on the screen as he should be. This is also my second favorite Batman film ever, coming in at a close second to Tim Burton’s Batman. I’ve been fascinated with Batman since I was eight years old. And while I’m ashamed of the current DC Movies out there, it is nice to take a look at what was almost perfection. Little did I know in 2007 Pandemic was brewing a tie-in video game that could have blown our socks off. Unfortunately, it joined the ranks of many deceased games. Here is its sad tale.
The Glory of What Was Pandemic
We all know how amazing Pandemic’s games use to be. This was the studio that brought us Destroy all Humans, Mercenaries, Full Spectrum Warrior and of course our beloved Star Wars: Battlefront games. Their last title, The Saboteur, was met with critical acclaim but not financial acclaim. It is sad that the failed development of The Dark Knight put the final nail in their coffin. In the video below you get to see some of the development that had taken place by the team.
The Cost of Not Meeting Deadlines
Rumors were floating around in 2008 that Pandemic’s The Dark Knight would be releasing alongside the movie of the same name. The rumors also stated that the game took place after the events of the movie and would follow Batman along an open-world Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon himself, Gary Oldman, said in an interview with G4 that the game developers had finally smoothed out Batman’s gliding ability. Unfortunately, the game did not meet the June 2008 deadline and was pushed back to December of 2008. This cost both EA and Pandemic a huge sum of tie-in money. According to Newsweek magazine that missed date cost the studio and publisher an estimated $101 million dollars. That is a huge chunk of change, especially when the development studio is missing deadlines left and right.
December was fast approaching and EA knew that Pandemic was not going to have the title finished. In October EA officially canceled the title and instead of getting an amazing open world Batman game EA was given a bill for 100 million dollars. EA was none too pleased with this outcome and laid off Pandemic’s Brisbane Australia office on the Christmas of 2008. They didn’t stop there, they closed that studio completely in February and then in November of 2009 they completely shut down Pandemic’s LA office. A sad end for a once great studio and an interesting game, we all know what happens next though. In August 2009 Rocksteady’s near perfect Batman: Arkham Asylum was released to both critical and financial success. To quote Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”. The omelet was Arkham Asylum, the eggs, sadly, were Pandemic Studios.