Black and white sketch of Arkham City and the Batman's Batarang.

Rumored Reboot of the Batman Arkham Video Game Series Excites Fans

Rocksteady’s critically-acclaimed franchise supposedly ended in 2015, but all indications point to another installment on the horizon.

Everyone, at one point in their lives, has dreamed about being a superhero. Why wouldn’t they? Having the speed of the Flash or the strength of Superman would definitely make life much easier. Unfortunately such things aren’t possible, unless some scientists release millions of radioactive spiders or create artificial lightning that imbues superpowers.

But at least we have superhero video games. They give us a way to vicariously live the crimefighting life we’ve always wanted — minus the real responsibilities and consequences.

Four of the most renowned superhero games of the past decade are a part of what is known as the “Arkham” series, in which players get to play arguably the most famous superhero of all time, Batman. The Rocksteady-developed series consists of the titles Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight. Players can play as the Caped Crusader, along with several of his most famous allies, including Robin and Catwoman.

The video game series was met with critical acclaim, not only for its revolutionary gameplay and design, but also for its ability to carry a narrative throughout four games, almost like a long, playable movie franchise. The games have won multiple awards and even obtained the Guinness World Record for “most critically acclaimed superhero video game.”

Since September 2019, WB Games Montreal, another developer of the Arkham franchise, has been posting to Twitter a cryptic series of photos and videos of mysterious insignia with the caption “Capture the Knight.” To a casual fan, these symbols mean nothing, but many die-hard Batman fans were quick to speculate about a new Arkham installment.

Each of the five emblems posted by WB Games Montreal bears some significance to Gotham’s Greatest Hero — but more on that later.

A Redditor on the subreddit GamingLeaksAndRumours proclaimed that a game domain titled “Gotham Knights” was registered by Warner Brothers in June 2020. The rumor somewhat verified the future release of a Batman video game, which had fans even more excited. It has also been reported that the announcement of the game may be made official in August of this year at the DC FanDome, DC Comics’ Comic Con-esque event.

Many have questioned how the series will continue since, in the fourth installment, Arkham Knight, Bruce Wayne seemingly dies. Gotham Knights will reportedly be a “soft” reboot; instead of restarting the entire story completely, the game will have a jumping-off point somewhere among the four already-existing games, most likely somewhere in Arkham Knight. It would make the most sense for Gotham Knights to reboot from a point before Bruce Wayne’s death — after all, he is the protagonist.

As far as the storyline is concerned, nothing has been announced, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating. One of the more obvious plot lines the game could borrow is from the comic book series that shares the same name. The “Gotham Knights” comic book series ran between 2000 and 2006 with 74 issues. Focusing on the group nicknamed “The Bat-Family,” which consisted of famous Batman allies such as Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Huntress, the series shined the spotlight on other characters other than just Batman himself.

Because of the shared title, many fans believe that the Gotham Knights video game will give players the choice of which members of the Bat-Family they would like to play as, and the ability to switch freely among them.

Whereas the Arkham series let gamers play Batman, along with a few other characters, getting the chance to play even more characters in a single story would be super fun to play. It would be even more interesting if choosing a certain character to perform one mission would affect the story differently from another character doing the same mission, similar to other games using the butterfly effect.

Now, back to the symbols mentioned earlier.

Sharp-eyed fans pointed out that one of them resembled the helmet of a Batman villain known as Talon. The character is depicted in Batman comic books as a member of the secret society known as the Court of Owls.

Introduced in 2011, the Court is an organized crime group located at the underbelly of Gotham City that has been controlling the metropolis for centuries. Due to Bruce Wayne’s plans to improve the city, the mysterious group’s disdain toward the billionaire grows as they have been the ones to oversee it from the underground.

Even though the group was mentioned in the Batman: Telltale video game series, they have not been depicted as the main antagonist for the Caped Crusader. It would be interesting to have the organization secretly revealing themselves to Wayne when he least expects it, in contrast to other supervillains who have been upfront with their nefarious intentions.

While two of the five emblems were a mystery to even some of the biggest Batman fans, there was one that no one could miss — one that involved the head of a demon, signifying the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul, whose name literally translates to “head of the demon.”

The League of Assassins is an important fixture for Wayne; in many comic book iterations, they were the group that trained him in his journey to becoming Batman. Even still, the group ultimately became a foe to the hero. Similarly, the Assassins have made appearances in three of the four Arkham games.

Many players would like a new series of video games, but it seems that, at least for now, there is only one Batman game planned. As such, many people have hypothesized that the two groups indicated in the mysterious symbols will both be antagonists for Bruce Wayne and possibly even go to war with one another.

This would make for quite an interesting storyline for Batman and the rest of the Bat-Family, who would have to intervene amid all the chaos the two groups would most likely create.

But if you think that’s all, you may be forgetting that there is a fifth symbol posted by WB Games Montreal. It depicts a shield and crest as the forefront, with an eagle, stars and the silhouette of a city surrounding it. Obviously this crest symbolizes the Gotham City Police Department, which may either be an ally or another obstacle for the superhero family.

It would seem that Batman will have a lot on his plate when the newest installment in the Arkham reboot comes out. Nonetheless, fans are surely eager for a release date; the theories mentioned above, foretelling a new experience through innovative storytelling, are quite different from what has been seen in previous games.

Chris Dang, University of California, Riverside

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Chris Dang

University of California, Riverside

From Orange County, California, Chris Dang has always enjoyed the big (and small) screen. He one day wants to work in the entertainment industry as a TV writer.

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