Rocksteady’s Next ‘Batman’ Is a Silver Age Prequel, Features Justice League

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 11th, 2012 at 7:09 pm,

Batman Rocksteady Prequel Justice League

How do you follow up on the most critically acclaimed Batman game of all time? Turns out developer Rocksteady Studios isn’t just bringing the Caped Crusader back, they’re sending him back as well.

There was minute speculation months ago that the developer would depart the Gotham universe altogether after teasing its next game as “exciting” and different” – some even anticipated a curious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles deviation. Those rumors can take a rain check, though, as a new report positions Rocksteady at the helm of a Silver Age Batman prequel – with a league of familiar faces in toe.

Stemming from an unnamed source at Variety is the knowledge that Warner Brothers Interactive, publisher of all DC Comics games, has commissioned Rocksteady to chronicle Batman’s first encounter with The Joker. Teaming up with the superhero will be several, but right now unspecified members of the Justice League of America, in a game that’s slated to release in 2014.

In the DC Comics canon, this sends Batman back to the Silver Age – a period of comic book making, from 1955 to c. 1970, that saw the constant inception of new superheroes (as well as the formation of the Justice League) and an increased emphasis on artistic verve. Indeed, it’s alleged that the new game will be “highly stylized,” though whether or not that means an inflection from the beautifully harrowing, gritty design of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City isn’t stated.

Batman Rocksteady Justice League Game

What’s also vague is how Rocksteady would use the Justice League alongside the main playable gameplay sequences of Batman – sequences our Arkham City review felt were close to perfection in the last title. We’re thinking right now that a rotation of JL-specific missions is more in sync with the developer’s singleplayer modus operandi (think Arkham City’s Catwoman or Robin missions, just not as DLC), but AI companions or even co-op mode aren’t out of the question.

As for the award-winning voice work of the franchise, don’t expect Mark Hamill to make a return; the voice of the Joker in the previous two installments has stated on several occasions that he wouldn’t be reprising his role (this time for real). Kevin Conroy as Batman was left open for another appearance, but it might depend on just how drastically redesigned the prequel aims to be.

Batman Rocksteady Justice League 2014

Another interesting tidbit asserted by Variety concerns the project’s release date. Allegedly, the prequel/Justice League pathway represents a calculated, post-Nolan effort by Warner Bros. to ingratiate audiences with the Justice League of America (whose only current sans-comic presence, really, is in LEGO Batman 2) before a 2015 JLA film. This leads them to posit Rocksteady’s Batman game as a 2014 release at the earliest. So we have to wonder: is the game also being developed primarily for the next generation? If so, the potential for Rocksteady to shine – they’ve built quite the reputation for gripping narratives, elaborately detailed worlds, and wildly popular characters – is staggering.

Ranters, now that we know where Rocksteady’s locus is at for their next game, how excited are you for a Batman prequel? How should the Justice League (and, apparently, some Justice League film synergy) factor in to the game’s design? Which members should take center stage?

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Variety [via Game Informer]

TAGS: Batman, Batman Arkham City, PC, PS3, Rocksteady Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive, Xbox 360

  • JT

    I only approve of this is if Hal Jordan is a playable character.

  • Litlrob

    I think they should make gotham city before they make a prequal.

  • Josh Calkins

    No offense to people that love Justice league, but I feel like its a kid oriented concept. It’s like dumping the toy box on the floor and mixing up your action figures. I see the appeal, and I dig the multi-hero xmen stories, but I think it waters down Batman to spread him out thin amongst many others. Even acknowledging that there are superheroes in the world is a dangerous leap away from realism. If wonder woman were in the next movie I would be bummed. Likewise this move sounds like its for a younger crowd. I wont bash Rockstar, but this doesn’t sound like good news to me at all. I like Batman the way he is these days.

  • Ford Prefect

    Umm, what about the rest of Gotham City? Aren’t there enough rouges to fight in another game? I think I’d rather see an Arkham Island over a JLA game. Also Black Gate was on the other side of the prison wall of Arkham City, so why not add that into another Arkham game. And if Mr. Hamill isn’t coming back for Joker, they’d better get someone damn close in voice to play the part.

  • Brownman

    Thats a cool creative concept I wouldn’t mind it, I think playing his first encounter with the joker is very intresting. They could make it less dark and more vibrant or the opposite bleak and dark, I don’t care lol as long as the combat is the same or better and you get to ride around in the classical bat mobile in a open world Gotham. I don’t know how to feel about JLA being involved, just as long as they are used well and don’t interfere with the story I’m good. Don’t make them playable though, it would make it too much. Oh and guys it’s not confirmed yet, rocksteady has said nothing about this, there is no basis to this claim other than variety and stuff. As far as I’m concerned this is a pure rumor and Arkham 3 is in the works instead, this is like the TMNT rumor remember how that turned out? AC had so many sidemissons and eastereggs leading into the sequel , like azereals prophecy, hush, scarecrow, Quinn’s and jokers baby, and scarecrow! Even if this rumor is true I think they’re gonna take they’re time on Arkham 3 and release it on a next gen console( or not).

  • Jeff

    This is extremely disappointing to hear. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t expand on the Arkham world that Rocksteady has set up. They are amazing games, and to go in another direction makes no sense. Several side missions (Azrael and The Order of St. Dumas, Hush), Harley Quinn’s positive pregnancy test, all point to Rocksteady progressing the story. Also, they made such an emphasis in the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC, that Batman was acting differently/upset since the end of Arkham City, why would they not expand on it in a new game? In my opinion, they will continue the Arkham franshise and this new game is not a “prequel”, but a new series all together… I hope.

  • Spiderling

    I could write a very long post, but why bother?

    I essentially agree that it could be really kool, but that if it’s true, should totally be a new series altogether.

    Certaqinly I think the Arkhamverse Batman could fit in with the Justice League, and they could even draw on that version as their inspiration for this one. But I don’t think the JLA should be present in a prequel that depicts the beginnings of the intimate relationship to the Joker.

    Also, I personally feel that if they are making a JLA game, it should be a JLA game, not a “Batman: featuring the JLA” game.

    Batman has enough of a spotlight. let’s share the wealth. and make them all playable. please.

  • DuckDuck

    “Justice League of America (whose only current sans-comic presence, really, is in LEGO Batman 2)”

    Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe?!?!?!

  • Dan

    I would rather see a sequel to Arkham City remember at the end If you wait for the credits you will know Harley Quinn has the Joke Baby and she sang to it Hush little baby don’t say a word mama’s gonna blow for you e whole damb world that’s Pretty good sign that they will continue the storyline maybe the son of the Joker will be a Heath Ledger like Joker one with a darker sense of humor, WHY SO SERIOUS.