After storming onto the scene with the single best Batman game ever made, it’s no surprise that fans are eagerly awaiting the next game from Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City. We know that the game is stepping things up in more ways than one, throwing in more than a few classic enemies to make Batman’s attempts to restore order on Arkham island more difficult. But as far as the game’s main antagonist, Dr. Hugo Strange, we’re still largely in the dark. Thanks to some newly released viral audio tapes from Arkham City‘s main campaign, we’ve got a better idea of the role he’ll be playing.

Players and Bat-fans alike won’t be hurting for classic villains, with the Joker, Riddler, and even Penguin and Solomon Grundy all announced. But among that kind of roster, it would take one heck of a twist to bring a relative unknown to the top of the villain pile. But that’s the task that Dr. Hugo Strange, the new warden of Arkham Asylum is taking on.

After Strange’s role was confined to audio logs of patient interviews in Arkham Asylum, it seems that Arkham City will be showing just what all of that psychiatric experimentation has led to. While he may not have the same panache or gimmick as some of Batman’s other foes, Strange knows one secret that all of them would kill for.

As we saw in the game’s announcement trailer, Strange knows Batman is Bruce Wayne. As a result, Strange seems on a mission to turn other former inmates to his cause, while keeping Batman’s identity a secret known only to himself. At least, that’s what’s implied in the first audio tape of Arkham City‘s viral marketing.

The first tape is apparently an interview between Strange and Penguin, with the good doctor asking some intriguing questions about the villain’s history with the Wayne family:


All psychiatric diagnoses concerning Penguin’s view of the Waynes aside, the fact that Dr. Strange reveals that he is “allowing him certain freedoms” makes it clear that the Arkham warden is running the show. At least, in part. Past details have led us to believe that Strange was working with the Joker in his second chance at tormenting Batman, but the Riddler’s expanded role in the game implies otherwise.

The second audio tape, uncovered by gives another sign of just how much influence Dr. Strange is able to exercise over the powerful figures of Gotham City. As it turns out, he isn’t alone:


We know Riddler would be stepping up his game the second time around, using citizens as bait to lure Batman out. The audio tape hints that the Riddle may have a compelling reason for Dr. Strange to work with the famous puzzler, which casts his ‘side missions’ in an entirely different light. Could these riddle missions be a part of Strange’s plan? How do they fit into the motivations of the Joker and Riddler?

We’ve got plenty of questions to answer, not the least of which is why Strange isn’t sharing the fact that Bruce Wayne is Batman. We’re more than happy to wait to have them answered, but it’s clear that Rocksteady Studios will be bringing a much larger story to Arkham City.

What are your theories on the apparent villain alliance that’s setting the trap for Bats? Are you worried that more than one central villain will only complicate things? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Bruce Wayne will have his work cut out for him when Batman: Arkham City is released on October 18 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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