As any comic book fan knows, a great Batman story needs a great villain, first and foremost. Admittedly, the Dark Knight isn’t an easy hero to stand against, but Rocksteady Studios has made some wise picks in their game series. For Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, the team turned to the Joker to drive the events, but for the upcoming finale, they’re headed a completely new direction.
As it turns out, Batman: Arkham Knight isn’t just a reference to Batman’s pseudonym – it’s the name of a new villain created specifically for Rocksteady’s final chapter in their Arkham saga. The studio is keeping coy for now, but it’s clear Bruce Wayne’s new foe will pose a challenge the Joker never could.
This news may come as a somewhat of a surprise, given that the studio made their name by bringing existing Batman characters and fiction into a new style and setting, mixing nostalgia with modernity in a way few developers had tried with beloved properties. Not to mention that the official plot synopsis for Arkham Knight claimed that it would be the Scarecrow who was acting as main antagonist, uniting the villains seen in the past to rid Gotham of Batman once and for all.
But speaking with Game Informer, the game’s director Sefton Hill explained what the title really means, hinting that Scarecrow may not be the one players need to worry about:
“We hadn’t in the previous games introduced someone new to the universe. We wanted to introduce someone who could really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways. We’re not talking about those ways just yet but this guy is definitely a formidable foe for Batman.”
The only image revealed so far shows the titular ‘Arkham Knight’ completely bathed in shadow, with little visible besides his glowing blue eyes. The demo shown to the magazine was capped off by the arrival of the new villain, described as a type of grotesque reflection of Batman himself. Wearing a similar suit to Bats (described as more “militaristic,” with an Arkham Asylum ‘A’ emblazoned on his chest) and using firearms, the image also shows shorter, more horn-like ‘ears’ atop an armored helmet.
Expect more details concerning the Arkham Knight to be released in the future, since his role is evidently a central one. Rocksteady hinted they would be getting more creative with the Batman mythology when they confirmed comic writer Paul Dini wouldn’t be writing their next game. However, the character has been created by alongside DC writer and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, so fans have the right to be excited as opposed to concerned.
It’s worth pointing out that the game will still feature the likes of Scarecrow, Two-Face, Riddler and the rest of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. With Arkham Knight set one year after the events of Arkham City, the absence of the Joker has allowed the criminal of the city to join forces, spreading Batman’s focus and causing an evacuation of Gotham City in the process. How the Arkham Knight fits into that plot is a mystery, but Rocksteady has shown their skill in the character’s mythology, and the idea of a truly dangerous villain embodying the insanity of Arkham is a proposition too enticing to ignore.
Obviously, the marketing for the game so far has centered on one of the most anticipated (and most demanded) gadget of the Dark Knight’s: the Batmobile. However, those paying close attention to the game’s cinematic trailer will notice that Batman’s new suit is featured just as heavily, replacing the riveted fabrics of previous games with a metallic, flexible armor. Not to worry though; according to Hill, the change in costume will be explained within the story itself:
“We wanted that continuity between the new suit and the Batmobile as well to look like the two of them have been developed side by side using a lot of the same materials.”
Given the wealth of new gameplay, traversal, and combat mechanics made possible by the Batmobile’s arrival, one would hope that Batman’s new suit would be similarly game-changing. The addition of the Grapple Mark II has been confirmed, but it’s possible even more features and durability will aid Batman in his fight with foes both old and new.
What are your hopes for the Arkham Knight? Does the resemblance to Jason Todd’s suit and style from the “Batman” comics have your imagination running wild, or are you interested to see how the villain may connect back to the previous games? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions in the comments.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released in 2014 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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Source: Game Informer