Batman fans: breathe a sigh of relief. Despite previous reports that Batman: Arkham Origins would be introducing a new voice actor for the titular character, and not rely on Kevin Conroy to reprise the role, confirmation of his involvement has come from the actor directly.
What does this mean for the newly-founded WB Games Montreal‘s ability to stand apart from the series Rocksteady made famous? It’s hard to tell at this point, but fans hoping for something new may need to look to the other characters featured in the game, not the Batman himself.
Conroy revealed his return to Arkham Origins when speaking at the Dallas Comic-Con this week, despite a magazine report last month claiming that WB Games Montreal was turning to a new voice actor. At the time, we reasoned that the studio’s previous comments about exploring a younger, less-experienced Batman was one of the motivations – younger Batman, younger actor. In that light, it wasn’t hard to be optimistic about the change, since Conroy’s place in Batman fandom is unrivaled; the voice behind the dark knight in numerous animated series and films, and the previous two Arkham games, for many the actor simply is Batman.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In the most recent teaser trailer – featuring a fight between Batman and Deathstroke – the dark knight’s appearance and skills didn’t look all that different from Arkham Asylum or Arkham City‘s version. Now we know that he won’t sound that different, either.
Before anyone assumes that’s cause for skepticism, Conroy revealed that not only has he been working on Origins for longer than the world has known of its existence, but he likes what he sees:
“I can talk about it now. We’ve been working for about nine or ten months on the next ‘Arkham.’ We all sign these contracts that won’t let us talk about this – you know, The studio likes to control the roll-out of any product. So they don’t like any of us to talk about it. It’s now been announced, and it’s an unbelievable game. I still can’t say anything about it…but it’s amazing. Huge, HUGE cast, and a big story. It took almost a year to write and put it together; they’ve been working on it for a long time.”
While it’s true that the success or failure of Arkham Origins will depend on the story and gameplay – and the development team has some strong history in both realms – it makes sense to hedge bets as much as possible. We’re certainly not claiming that the selected voice actor could be the deciding factor, but it makes the game’s connections to the preceding two games that much stronger.
However, those hoping to see a new actor take a crack at the character in video game form will be disappointed. How do you feel about Conroy’s confirmation? Do you take these conflicting reports as a sign that Origins may feature both an old and young Batman, possibly through flashbacks? Or do you suspect that WB Games Montreal is making the safe bet and sticking solely with Conroy?
Batman: Arkham Origins will be available on Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC October 25, 2013.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.