Of all the high profile games releasing this fall (including Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3), only one is building hype the old-fashioned way. By mixing an equal dose of subtle marketing and fan service to whet people’s appetites, Batman: Arkham City is leading the charge for the most eagerly awaited game of 2011; and judging by its heated competition, that’s saying a lot.
Arkham Asylum was such a massive hit not just because it was a fresh experience with polished gameplay, but it was a Batman fan’s wet dream come true thanks to the assortment of easter eggs that were hidden throughout the adventure.
Since the announcement of a sequel, rumors have been swirling around the internet and forums have been ablaze about what new villains would be showing up to thwart the Dark Knight. Even with it’s October release date soon approaching, Batman: Arkham City has kept it’s story and full cast of characters secretive, with only a handful of trailers popping up every so often showcasing a new foe (or ally).
Here is a breakdown of the characters that have been revealed so far for Batman: Arkham City, detailing who is returning from the first game and who is new to the action:
After his brief, but memorable, appearance in Batman: Arkham Asylum, the ‘Batbreaker’ was recently confirmed to be in the sequel. However, reports indicate that this time around, Bane is working with Batman in side missions where the two team up searching for a dangerous drug and thoroughly beating up its addicts. The drug is most likely the Titan formula from the first game which made Bane a walking death machine, but now its used by random goons in the city, making them hulking beasts thirsting for blood.
The Batman: Arkham City prequel comics have established that after the events of the previous game, Bane had created a fight club competition where he hoped to meet a worthy adversary. Unfortunately he did, in the form of a raging lunatic pumped to the brim on Titan, who pummeled Bane to submission. That explains why Bane needs a worthy teammate to track down and destroy Titan along with whoever uses the drug, especially the massive enemy who defeated him. It’s also worth noting that Bane’s trademark ramming attack is back from Arkham Asylum and it can even hurt Batman during their time as an ill-fated dynamic duo. It’s a different approach for someone like Bane to work with his nemesis, but it’s definitely going to be interesting to play alongside him.
Initially revealed as Arkham City’s main antagonist, Strange serves as a warden over the city of Gotham, watching over the inmates by implanting order through the use of torture and ruthless psychiatry. He is a fan favorite due to his cunning nature and clever antics, particularly his deduction of Bruce Wayne and Batman being the same person.
Judging from the awesome CGI trailer, it appears Strange does discover Batman’s true identity but it’s unknown how he will use it against the Dark Knight. While not a real physical threat, Strange will probably be used as an overseer of the events in Gotham who disperses his elite Tyger guards to hunt down anyone in his way. Though he will be one of the game’s more important villains, Strange will most likely share the spotlight of orchestrating movements in Gotham with the likes of Joker. Though, his presence does make the game bound to have some mental aspect of danger for Batman in one form or another.
One of the first character reveals for Batman: Arkham City, Quinn was introduced again to reinforce the fact that Joker is still attempting to run the show. Wherever she is, her crazy clown boyfriend isn’t too far away, planning some evil scheme to conquer Gotham. Quinn’s role in the game is exactly the same as the way she’s depicted in the comics, more of a general nuisance or errand-runner who taunts Batman while trying to kill him (ineffectively).
Her outfit has changed in the sequel, becoming even more sexy and revealing then it was before. From the trailer, it appears she finally gets to lay the smack down on the Dark Knight with a nice baseball swing to the head and she might prove to be more than just a lovable henchman (woman).
Anything related to Batman has be connected to his arch-nemesis in some way. Good is always at battle with evil. Joker recovers from the beating he received at the end of Arkham Asylum with scars aplenty, but it hasn’t stopped him from joining the gang warfare happening in Gotham. Even though Hugo Strange is getting crowned as the game’s true criminal mastermind, don’t expect Joker to sit back and let his glory be taken from him. As far as evil geniuses go, it’s hard to beat the Joker and Batman can attest to this.
Footage has shown him attempting to assassinate Catwoman while still sounding in rough shape from his last encounter with Batman, coughing and wheezing as if out of breathe. How it will affect him is anyone’s guess, but Joker will have an ace up his sleeve that will change things up later in the game, it’s practically a guarantee. With everything going on in Gotham, Joker is bound to have an alternative plan that’s primary goal is to eliminate Batman and anyone else in his way.
Finding Harvey Dent’s prisoner cell in Arkham Asylum was one of the more memorable moments in the game, but it was disappointing to see him missing in person. In the sequel, Two-Face’s attendance is in full effect, operating like he has for decades, with a two-sided approach to everything he does.
In the E3 demo walkthrough, Two-Face has captured Catwoman and holds a public trial in a courthouse for her to determine if she will be executed in a vat of acid. Of course, Dent’s ‘trial’ consists of flipping a coin but it’s part of who he is and why his personality makes him so unorthodox. Batman arrives and saves the day by rescuing Catwoman and beating up Two-Face and his goons.
The question is, how far into the game does this sequence appear and does Dent make another appearance later in the game? There’s no way to tell, but the game nailed his character perfectly on visual design.
Fans knew Oswald Cobblepot would be in Batman: Arkham City when footage from a trailer showed the villain’s infamous lair, the Iceberg Lounge. But the Penguin was confirmed to appear in the game when a video debuted online showing him shooting cops with his trusty umbrella and sending mindless goons to fight Batman. Once again, visually, the Penguin is a dead-on interpretation of his comic design, but he is voiced (by Nolan North) with a thick Cockney accent in the game.
This version of Cobblepot is more in the realm of a gangster, and a viscous one too. Later in the video he fires a grenade launcher at Batman that explodes a giant fixture made of ice, dropping the hero into a pit below where Solomon Grundy is waiting for him. It’s exciting to have finally seen Penguin in action and his inclusion during the war for Gotham and its mean streets, fits in exceptionally well. Just don’t expect a boss battle with the short egg-shaped villain, a fist fight between him and Batman is hardly legendary.
Not as popular as other massive brutes like Bane, Grundy has been a foe of Batman’s for years now. Other than being a strong physical presence for the Dark Knight, he usually is hired to do the heavy lifting by Gotham’s more upscale criminals like the Joker or Two-Face. It appears that Penguin has kept him caged below his Iceberg Lounge headquarters as a back-up plan against Batman.
Grundy was always dim-witted and mentally slow, only muttering lines from the nursery rhyme his character is based off of. In the Penguin trailer, he is seen at the end repeating his famous line of dialogue, “Solomon Grundy born on a Monday”. He obviously will battle Batman in the game, but it’s interesting to note how electricity is used to power him as seen in the trailer.
Grundy’s existence was always odd in the DC universe, where his zombie appearance was explained to originate from a supernatural experience. In Batman: Arkham City, the Penguin seems to control Grundy as a pet through the torture of electricity and will use him as a weapon to fight Batman. Hopefully the fight will prove to be more interesting than the rumble with Bane from Arkham Asylum.
Edward Nigma‘s role in Batman: Arkham Asylum was another fantastic reason why the game was such a irresistible work of art. A long time foe of the Bat, the Riddler was never seen but he was most definitely heard. Taunting Batman to solve riddles and search for clues to prove his worth as a detective, he was ultimately beaten to the punch once everything was solved. The audio of his confident teasing suddenly turning to that of horrified astonishment once Batman discovers his location, is a classic end to a battle of wits.
In Batman: Arkham City, the Riddler is back with his trademark trophies spread around town, but this time he makes a physical appearance as well. As displayed in his own trailer, Nigma is portrayed almost as a Jigsaw type of villain with numerous deathtraps holding hostages for Batman to save. He is much darker in nature in Arkham City, which is a welcome change, yet his outfit remains to be his famous green suit and bowler hat. The Riddler’s attempts to prove yet again that he is a criminal mastermind with no equal, adds another mental aspect of danger for Batman to solve and a potentially different approach to gameplay.
Since Arkham City has various gangs vying for control of the city, Black Mask is most likely a prominent leader contesting for power. He became famous in Batman comics after his rise to super villain supremacy was gained from fully owning Gotham and its criminal activities within. His role in the game will be similar to a mob boss who operates throughout the city with numerous gang hideouts, which may be side quests to complete for Batman.
Talia al Ghul
Only one image of Talia has surfaced online, showing how she will look in Arkham City and that’s pretty much it. We have no idea how she will fit into the big picture, but with a character like Talia, her father is somehow connected to it. Ra’s has not been announced to appear yet in the game, but maybe he sends his daughter to attend to jobs he is incapable of doing.
Given her history with Batman (they had a kid together), it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Talia’s role will be kept secretive until the game is launched and that reason alone makes the story for Arkham City even more enticing since her presence adds a handful of questionable ideas.
Easily one of the most important characters in the game, Catwoman has been headlining Arkham City footage and screen shots early on during its development. She has since been established as a playable character with her own set of unique moves and weapons that rival Batman, fighting exactly how you imagine she would: with her claws out. Catwoman has always balanced herself as a friend and enemy to the Dark Knight since her days as a jewel thief, but in Arkham City, it seems she will act as a love interest instead.
In the gameplay trailer for Catwoman, she is seen fighting and traversing through Gotham with a keen agile prowess that fits her character exceptionally well. With her own missions and side quests, Catwoman seems to be the star of the show alongside Batman. This is as surprising as it is engaging. One thing’s for sure, she does look like fun to play as and is just as dynamic in game play as the Dark Knight.
Yet to be shown
With two months left until the release of Arkham City, tons of confirmed villains and allies have yet to be revealed. Robin has been shown (he looks quite badass) but has only been announced at this point for use in challenge maps. Jack Ryder has also been shown in a walkthrough assisting Batman with details on what’s going on in Gotham regarding the inmates. A concept model has also been released online of the Calendar Man’s visual design of the game that is eerily similar to his look in the Long Halloween graphic novel. Other than that, the list of unrevealed villains remains high, as do the friends of Batman including Alfred and Commissioner Gordon.
Below is a full checklist of who’s officially confirmed to appear in Batman: Arkham City that’s sure to get your blood pumping:
- Batman/Bruce Wayne
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Robin/Tim Drake (Playable only as DLC)
- Commissioner Gordon
- Gotham City Police Department
- Jack Ryder
- Holly Robinson