Sorry for another short post, but I wanted to continue this "Arkham City" thing while the game is fresh on my mind, and keenly in my obsession range. There are a lot of things the game does well, and I think they'd play out even better in an RPG. Why? Because in an RPG you don't have to allow for the person to do everything for achievements. So, that said, let's go into the second lesson you can learn from Arkham City.
Lesson Learned: Everything Should Seem Desperate and/or Important
One of the things a few reviewers have mentioned about Arkham City is that everything seems time sensitive in the game. The thing is, this is true. While you're running around dealing with the main plot items you have Hugo Strange counting down to his "protocol 10," you have Riddler waiting for you to solve his puzzles so you can save his hostages, you have Zsasz having you run across the entire city to stop him, and throughout it all you have people in mortal danger right beneath you as you rush to do all of these things. And you know what, this would be interesting to see - within reason - in an RPG. Why? Because this is where true choice comes in.
Imagine in a Super Hero game having the PCs racing around the city trying to find bombs that are going to go off in schools and hospitals. Only, as they're rushing to stop the Mad Bomber, another villain also makes a move and starts to grab hostages. Then another villain starts there thing, seeing that everyone is probably going to be busy. Finally, a jail break happens. Do the PCs split up to try and save everyone? Can they handle these villains on their own? They've always needed to be a group before. What do they do? Do they prioritize who they save? Do they go by number of victims? How do they do it? Even better is you can use all these crimes to obfuscate an aspect of the real story, letting the players win only to find that the real villain set it all up so that they could win too.
It is something I intend to try next time I run a hero game. Hopefully that will be soon.