Editorial: Where Do The Batman Games Go From Here?


So Arkham Knight is out and whatever you think of it, it’s meant to be the penultimate Batman game, at least by Rocksteady, who pretty much have set the bar for Batman games and arguably super hero games in general. It’s also Rocksteady’s last Batman game as they move on to other things, and who can blame after doing this for 3 games over 6 years? But even if Rocksteady is done, I highly doubt Batman as a video game franchise is.

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Hopefully Warner Bros. (and most likely their Montreal studio, since they did Origins & the recent Batgirl DLC) does something at least a little different and not try to copy the exact same formula from the last 4 Batman games because I don’t think anybody wants that. Luckily, I have several ideas where they can take either the Arkham or Batman as a game franchise in general.

1. Expand The Roster

The “easiest” way to continue the series of Arkham games without making them feel old is to add new characters to the mix. the Arkham series has played with this a little, with having short DLC with a couple characters and brief sections where Batman teams up with his allies, but what would keep the franchise fresh is the ability to play as many characters with many abilities. There is an entire Bat-Family out there. Multiple Bat-Girls, Robins, Nightwing, etc. you can even throw in Black Canary and Green Arrow or any number of DC heroes. I think adding in major Super Powered characters like Superman or Green Lantern would break this style of game, but there’s plenty of human superheroes you can use. Just make them unique, have them play differently with their own abilities and unique upgrade trees. I think this is a way you can still attach the Arkham name to something without it being the same thing we’ve played for several games now.

2. Go Beyond

I’ve got two words for you: Arkham Beyond. That simple. Put it in Neo-Gotham. Make it Terry McGinnis and give him the slightly futuristic upgrades against the likes of Joker gangs, Spellbinder, Inque, Blight, etc. And have crotchety old Bruce Wayne advising Terry instead of crotchety old Alfred advising Bruce. A whole new setting along with all new villains (although maybe a couple old ones who could still be around such as Mr. Freeze or Ra’s Al Ghul) and similar combat but with a couple new futuristic gadgets could be exactly what this franchise needs to keep fresh.

3. Go with a different genre entirely

You might not be able to recapture the feeling of the Arkham series. It might be completely dead and nobody will want to play it again even if you put in a new setting and/or new characters, so why not go a completely different route? I think we are sorely missing the kind of Super Hero Diablo-esque action-rpg we got plenty of in the past with the X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance games & to a lesser extent Justice League Heroes. I could totally go for a fan service-filled top down action rpg where I can play as some of the famous and not as famous Justice Leaguers. Sure, playing as Batman, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, etc. would be a fun, but an action rpg filled with playable characters and built for multi-player might also let me play as Booster Gold, Vigilante, Huntress and so on. I think this might be the best move so people see yet another Batman Arkham game and go “meh”.

4. Change nothing. But take a long break.

Ok, so this seems the absolute least likely possibility, but it may still be the most reasonable one. Notice how Rock Band is coming back after years of silence and people thought music games were dead and everyone’s really excited? Considering how much the Arkham series has done for superhero games & video games in general, I think the best move might be to just let the franchise sleep for awhile. Take 4 or 5 years off, then bring it roaring back. The problem with nearly all franchises is over-saturation, and we’ve had 4 Batman games in 6 years. If we don’t see it for awhile, we may remember it pretty fondly when it comes back. I think this would be the most sensible move, but I doubt it’s what’s going happen because there’s nothing companies seem to love more than running a franchise into the ground instead of giving it room to breathe.

And those are pretty much the places I think Batman games can go from here. Of course there’s also the possibility that Batman is now just another annualized franchise and we’ll keep seeing a new game every year until we can’t take it anymore, but I really hope that doesn’t happen. What do you think should be the direction of Batman games going forward? Let us know in the comments!

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