If we’re being honest, Batman fans went a long time before they could enjoy a really good game featuring the Caped Crusader. Batman: Arkham Asylum changed that in 2009 and blew everyone away.
That game was followed by popular direct sequel Arkham City in 2011 and the prequel game Arkham Origins in 2013, which had a more mixed reception. But another well-received sequel, Arkham Knight, was released in 2015.
It’s been several years since Arkham Knight came out. What do we know about the sequel? We put on our best detective cowl and found out the most important details about the next Arkham Asylum game.
The first thing we needed to confirm was whether there would definitely be a sequel. While we knew that WB Montreal was working on some DC Comics games, they played coy for a long time about whether one of them would be an Arkham game.
That coyness eventually gave way to a coy confirmation. On the most recent Batman Day, the company tweeted out a video celebrating their involvement with Batman. The video had some mysterious images that the company reposted the next day.
These symbols included one that looked like the Demon’s Head of the League of Assassins. This is our confirmation of a sequel, seemingly further confirmed on Twitter by Batman writer Scott Snyder.
Exciting New Villain
Scott Synder (no relation to director Zack Snyder) has been cranking out some of the best Batman stories ever told in recent years. He even added to the Batman mythology by creating a mysterious new force in Gotham City: The Court of Owls.
In a now-deleted tweet, Snyder quoted WB Montreal’s original tweet with a message saying “Wait for it #bewarethecourtofowls.”
It seems that Snyder knows this is not only a confirmation of a Batman game, but that the game will include his new villains as well. This served as a final confirmation that the company was not simply reminiscing about the past (after all, the League of Assassins appeared back in the original Arkham City).
Scary New Foot Soldiers
The Arkham games have always featured an interesting mix of villains. There are the standard thugs and criminals that Batman can dispatch with a few quick punches. And then there are the more exotic bad guys that force you to develop new strategies and use all your cool Bat gear.
If the Court of Owls will be in this game, we know more about the next exotic villains. While the actual Court is made of aristocrats in owl masks, their primary foot soldiers are Talons. These warriors are super-tough and super-old, being unfrozen for periodic missions and then frozen again.
If nothing else, this should lead to some cool new fights.
League of Assassins Returns
Thanks to the preview tweet, we know that the League of Assassins is going to return. However, it’s not clear what role they will play in the overall narrative.
In Arkham City, we saw the death of both Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter (and Batman’s beloved) Talia. However, either (or both) could come back if resurrected by a Lazarus Pit. Alternately, the plot may center on surviving League members who want revenge on Batman for his role in the death of their leader.
New Batman Voice
Part of the charm of the original Arkham Asylum was that it was a kind of reunion for the vocal cast of Batman: The Animated series. That meant Kevin Conroy voicing Batman and Mark Hamill voicing Joker.
We already knew that Joker isn’t going to return. After all, the character died in Arkham City, and we already had him serve as a voice in Batman’s head (and a devil on his shoulder) in Arkham Knight.
Sadly, though, Kevin Conroy has confirmed in an interview with JOE that he will not be voicing Batman in the next game. Conroy said he doesn’t know why. Trust us, Kevin: fans are asking the same thing!
An “Origins” Return
So, who will be voicing Batman if it’s not Kevin Conroy? It looks like all signs are pointing to Roger Craig Smith.
He voiced Batman before in Arkham Origins. And he recently tweeted that he wished he could tell fans what he was working on but he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
After that, a WB Montreal writer and a WB publicist teased him, with the latter going so far as to say that they’d be letting “the cat out of the bag reasonably soon.”
Smith’s return as Batman is all but assured. And while Conroy has a deep legacy, this won’t be Smith’s first dance as the Dark Knight.
It Rose From the Ashes
One interesting fact about this new game is that, story-wise, this is “Plan B” for the company.
The original concept for this game was that it would be more of a direct sequel to Arkham Knight. Furthermore, the rumor mill insisted that the game would focus more on Damian Wayne — which makes sense, given how prominent Robins (and former Robins) have been in previous Arkham games such as Arkham Knight.
While this new game seems like an entirely new concept, it will be interesting to see if Damien still pops up.
The Unanswered Questions
With everything we already know about this game, there are a few details that are still unknown.
First, the release date is still up in the air. It may be as soon as 2020 or it may be a bit later.
We’re also not sure about release consoles. While previous games released on Xbox and Sony and even Nintendo systems, we are on the cusp of the next generation of gaming. WB Montreal may want to hold out for systems such as the PlayStation 5.
Finally, we’re not sure about the rest of the talent behind the game. Scott Snyder had a story scoop, but will he be actually writing the game? And will any previous vocal talents return despite the lack of Conroy and Hamill?
Only time will tell. While all of us are eager to play, we need to channel Batman’s patience and wait for more announcements.