Platform: Atari ST (also Commodore 64 – See link below)
We have had a detailed page on the cancelled C64 development for quite some time – but hadn’t realised that an Atari ST edition once existed until flagged up by Ross Sillifant.
Batman Returns was previewed in ST Action issue 63 back in June 1993, and showed a number of screenshots of the game in progress. The game was being developed by Denton Designs, where according to the article, John Heap was the programmer, with Ally Noble and Dawn Jones on graphics, and with Fred Gray on music.
The game was initiated in October 1992 according to the article, and was due for release in September 1993. Oddly though, the film was released in July 1992, and it seemed quite late for the game, where usually games were developed to co-incide with the film release.
The PC DOS version (developed by a different team for Gametek) was released in December 1992, just in time for Christmas. It seems odd why the Amiga, ST and C64 editions were started only 2 months before the release of the PC version.
Additionally, as with the C64 at the same time, the ST market was starting to dry up compared to the Amiga and could be why ultimately it was never completed/released. It is likely that when deciding to cancel the C64 edition, the ST version was added to the cancel list. We hope to get this confirmed soon with John Heap.
The question at the moment is about how far the actual development got. Many of the screenshots in the article seemed to be sprite sheets, with only a few early scenes shown. Nothing of the later rooftop levels were shown for instance, suggesting that at this stage there was still plenty to do.
However, the game would likely have been in development for a number of months more at least from this point, so we expect there were at least a few levels playable. The Amiga edition would not see a release until around the start of 1994, suggesting there were a number of development issues, which the poor reviews seemed to confirm.
If you know anything more about the development – please get in touch. As for the chances of finding something to play – well, there has been no luck with the C64 edition, where John, Ally and Roy Bannon (coder of the C64 edition) all confirmed no longer having anything.
With thanks to Ross Sillifant for the heads up and scans.