I don't think it's going to surprise anyone if I mention that the LEGO Batman series has produced some of my all-time favorite superhero video games. I mean, I like LEGO and I certainly like Batman, so that's a no-brainer, but the truth of the matter is that they've started off strong and just keep getting better. The second game's expansion into a huge, open LEGO version of Gotham City populated with the heroes of the Justice League was really fantastic, and I've often wondered how they were going to top it. I figured maybe they'd throw in a few visits to other cities and call it a day.

Turns out, I vastly underestimated the developers at TT Games. They, along with Warner Bros. Interactive, have just announced LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, and this time, IT'S IN SPACE.

 

 

As revealed in today's announcement, the third installment of the LEGO Batman franchise isn't just bringing back the Justice League, it's pitting Batman and his pals in a star-spanning adventure that finds them battling Brainiac across multiple alien worlds. Considering how much they managed to cram into a single city, expanding out into settings like the Watchtower satellite and the Hall of Justice is pretty exciting stuff.

In addition to the new environments, players will be able to unlock and play as over 150 unique characters, all of which will have their own unique (or semi-unique) sets of powers. That's something LEGO Batman 2 was actually really great at, mixing up powers and gadgets to give everyone a fun (and reasonably accurate) set of powers to affect the environment. Also, it's worth noting that the Big Figures, seen in video games with characters like LEGO Marvel Superheroes' Hulk, for oversized DC characters like Killer Croc and Solomon Grundy.

Really, though, that's all beside the point. You had me at "Batman In Space."

The plot focuses on Brainiac, who has arrived on Earth having hijacked the power of the Green Lantern rings and used them to shrink down and steal cities from across the vast DC Universe. Obviously, the Justice League has to step up to stop him, and obviously Batman is there to lead the charge with his jetpack, working alongside the League to stop Brainiac from destroying the Earth -- and teaming up with other villains to save the Earth.

LEGO Batman 3 will be out for all the major systems -- Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, XBox 360, XBox One, PS3, PS4, PlayStation Vita and PC -- later this year.