The Batman Arkham games have long held the title of one of the best game series of all time. Across the expanse of four games that are set in different time periods of Batman’s life- Rocksteady captures and aptly portrays characters in its own creative style. Different characters from comics, movies, and shows are included, along with a number of returning and familiar characters, it also introduced some faces to the mainstream Batman audience that would only be an instead found in older comic issues.
Let’s imagine, how it would be if these iconic videogame characters that made a comeback.
The release of Arkham Asylum in 2009 set the path for Rocksteady to be able to scale up the grandeur of their stories and the characters in them. Game testing services would have for certain extended to this triple-A giant to be able to improve the quality of gameplay, writing, and design of the games to come. – (read. Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham Knight)
Let’s follow some of these characters across the Batman Arkham series and find out how according to us, they captivated old hard-core fans and new players alike:
No. 5- Arkham Knight
Although the character only appears in Batman: Arkham Knight- the game and story try to immerse the player into relating with the Arkham Knight’s past traumas. It is a constant uphill battle that Batman goes through as he tries to outmatch the Arkham Knight in terms of battle strategies and technological capabilities. It is easy to see from the very first introduction of the Arkham Knight that he has some sort of a connection with Bruce in the past- but the player does not quite know why or how. As the events of the game go forward, it is made more and more clear that the Akham Knight knows Batman’s tactics and techniques- which makes the player ponder how close he could be to Batman. As the reveal happens, it all falls into place and we are able to puzzle the pieces together. Troy Baker does a stellar job voicing the Arkham Knight- as the performance captures the pain and suffering that the character has to go through in his past.
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No. 4- Penguin
The Penguin’s story throughout the Arkham games is not so dissimilar from what he goes through in the movies or T.V. shows. Constantly trying to be one the best mobsters in Gotham City, Cobblepot is given ample screen time across the series and we get to see how the young gangster is very flippant and reactionary in his younger days in Arkham Origins. As the series picks up and he gets to shine in different situations such as when he trains the Abramovici Twins in Arkham City, it gives him a lot of agency in the overarching narrative. He keeps getting control of weapon caches and rogue thugs to use against Batman- but is unfortunately bested at every turn by the player and Batman’s wills put together! There are moments in the game where the player is brought to a complete halt in progression, just to find out that something the Penguin has done or gotten orchestrated needs to be fixed by Batman.
No. 3- Barbara Gordon
Barbara Gordon is one of Batman’s most trusted family members who also goes by Oracle and Batwoman throughout the storyline. The game allows the player to play as Batwoman for a DLC which gives a slightly different playstyle than what Batman operates like- hopefully, these mechanics are polished and repurposed for each of the Bat-family members in Gotham Knights (release late 2022). Batwoman gets crippled by Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke (in past events in the Arkham universe)- and she goes on to become Oracle and Batman’s assistant in his nightly escapades. Barbara plays an integral role in Batman’s story and character arc, as she is the Commissioner’s daughter, an old friend, and a past love interest. She drives the story and characters ahead and play a significant role in Batman’s transformation into his final accepted self at the end of Arkham Knight.
No. 2- Aaron Cash
Our first introduction to Aaron is when he helps Batman escort joker into Arkham Asylum in the opening credits scene. Over the next few games, we get to see Aaron doing different police duties and also interacting with and helping Batman more than any of the other officers in the GCPD (Gotham Central Police Department). Officer Cash is responsible for many of the high-profile jobs in the police department such as tracking down Azrael, Killer and the Riddler. The only inmate he ever feared was Killer Croc, as he had been amputated by the creature during a riot in the asylum. He goes on to lead a medical team in Arkham City after losing his job after the events of Arkham Asylum- where he is unable to do his duty as the chief security guard.
No. 1- The Joker
The Joker is a character that has had multiple retellings over comics over the last few decades. He is integral to the story of Batman and for the success of the Arkham Series- as he drives home the age-old analogy of a “unstoppable force meeting an immovable object”- where the unstoppable force is the Joker and the immovable object is Batman. Arkham Asylum begins with him being caught and escaping to orchestrate the events of the whole game- and Arkham City and Arkham Knight further explores his relationship with Batman. After Joker’s demise in Arkham city, at the end of Arkham Knight is finally when Batman is able to get rid of Scarecrow’s toxins from his system- metaphorically enough, the Joker is also cleansed from his psyche as he has been obsessing over catching him and putting him away. The message is put across quite poignantly through cutscenes and character arcs across the games over the years.
If you have any additions to this list of interesting characters, drop them down below in the comments!