Fans of Batman are already looking forward to yet another walk down comic book memory lane with Batman: Arkham Origins, following the dark knight on a night early in his career, pursued by some of the world’s deadliest killers.
It was clear with the first batch of Arkham Origins artwork and screenshots that Black Mask would be playing a key role in the proceedings, and the developers are confirming that’s the case. It is Black Mask a.k.a. Roman Sionis who is ruling the criminal underworld of Gotham City, and it is he who calls in eight of the world’s deadliest assassins to rid him of the Batman.
Though Black Mask doesn’t possess the kind of mainstream fan base or recognition of, say, the Penguin or Joker (or even Mr. Freeze), creative director at brand new studio WB Montreal Eric Holmes doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Speaking with GameInformer, Holmes explains how Sionis has plenty of unique talents and a hatred for Batman as potent as any other villain. From the sound of it, fans of the Black Mask will be pleased with the version they’ll see in Arkham Origins‘ campaign:
“We realize that Black Mask is not necessarily as prominent in people’s minds as some other classic Batman villains, so we realize we also need to do work to explain why he’s really cool and make him felt in the game…It’s not something people bring a lot of baggage to when you see the Black Mask, so we have to do the work to make him scary.”
“Black Mask is new money. He’s rich. He’s very, very powerful. He’s made it…He’s known for being brutal and sadistic. And particularly at this point in the Arkham franchise he has enormous resources. He is the number one gang leader in Gotham. And has easily the most power in the city.”
“Roman Sionis is suspected for a lot of things, but nothing’s pinned on him…The Janus Cosmetics company is his background. He inherited a family business related to cosmetic chemicals and ran it into the ground, and then turned it around into a huge criminal enterprise selling drugs. You see Sionis branding even in Arkham City. The steel mills are Sionis facilities. His money primarily comes from the drug trade.”
Both Sionis’ skills as a crime-lord and his willingness to recruit assistance from other villains have been present in the comics for years, and as recently in the DC animated feature Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010). Of course, it wouldn’t be an Arkham game without plenty of supporting acts.
Thanks to images of an Arkham Origins retail display (courtesy of CVG), it seems possible that dozens of Batman villains may be joining the fray, alongside the eight assassins being paid by Black Mask. It’s still too early to confirm which will appear and which won’t, but considering how many were tucked away in Arkham City, the sky is the limit.
Which of the villains revealed so far are you most interested to see a bit earlier in Batman’s career? Can Black Mask carry the load, or will you be skeptical until some heavier hitters are detailed? Sound off in the comments.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be available on Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC October 25, 2013.
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