Rocksteady have just announced Batman: Arkham Knight for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s a direct sequel to Batman: Arkham City. But I’m guessing you already knew that.
An interesting little nugget of information is that it’s being posed as the final game in the Arkham trilogy. So this is presumably Rocksteady’s final Batman game for the time being, or even for good. Trilogy means they’re curiously not including Arkham Origins, perhaps implying that’s part of its own series now? Either way that’s a question for another day.
For today, I want to pose a theory: Batman will die.
Some SPOILERS follow for Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. I highly recommend you don’t continue unless you’ve finished both games!
Okay so if you’re reading this you’ve finished both games, so below are the reasons why I believe Batman will be killed in the upcoming Arkham Knight.
Rocksteady aren’t afraid to kill major characters.
Arkham City showed that Rocksteady are perfectly down for killing off big characters. You know who I’m talking about.
Whether it was something they had to fight for, or they had no resistance at all over it, Rocksteady killed off big name Batman characters in their last game. There’s absolutely no reason to think that they wouldn’t do it again. Especially considering it added a real emotional punch to the game.
It’d be a fitting end.
From what little we know about the game so far, Batman is going to be pushed to his limits. I imagine the final hour of the game is going to be pretty intense. With this being the final game in the trilogy they’re going to want to pull out every last idea they’ve got. What would be more epic than pushing Batman to his absolute extreme? Where in one final heroic moment he even gives his own life to save Gotham? Batman stories always have an undercurrent of sacrifice, Batman had to give up his own life as Bruce Wayne to dedicate himself entirely to his mission, giving his life would show his ultimate devotion to saving the city.
It’s even happened in the comics.
Batman has been dead before. Killing him off isn’t even a new controversial idea. Of course he came back, because as you know nobody stays dead in comics… except Uncle Ben. So far anyway.
He’ll go out on Rocksteady’s terms.
This is where we flutter down deeper into speculation land. I’ve always wondered, behind closed doors, what do Rocksteady think of Arkham Origins? It must be a little bit uncomfortable to see another studio ride the success that they built. I’ve even seen a lot of casual fans incorrectly assume that Rocksteady, with inferior gameplay and all, developed Origins. It reminds me of what happened with Call of Duty, we know there were some rumblings backstage over how other studios were getting credit for Infinity Ward’s baby.
But anyway, even if Rocksteady are completely happy with Origins and how it turned out, killing Batman is a definitive way to ensure that the series ends with them. They get to decide the ending. If anyone wants to make a sequel they’ll have to work out of a spin-off, or start from the ground up. Rocksteady can kill off Bruce Wayne himself and say ‘This is it, this is how the story ends.”
Conroy gets to say goodbye.
Just like how Mark Hamill has retired from voicing the Joker, Kevin Conroy has steadily backed down from voicing Batman recently. In the newer DC animated movies other actors have occasionally taken on the job. Killing Batman would be a way to send off Conroy’s decades long relationship with the character in quite an emotional and fulfilling way.
Because… I want it to happen.
Okay yeah, this is a terrible reason. But I just wanted to take a moment to say that I really do want it to happen. In my opinion the greatest moment in the series so far is when the city is being bombarded in Arkham City. Arguing over what he’s going to do, Alfred simply says ‘Gotham needs Batman,’ I have never felt more like Batman in my entire life than when I played that bit. It was a brilliant moment because the city was on its knees, it really did need him and he knows it. If there can be something so big, so epic in scope that it pushes Batman to death just to succeed for Gotham, then it’s going to be an absolute blast to see for us fans. I want to play that ending.
…Or I could be completely wrong.
Maybe Warner Bros. veto the idea. Perhaps Rocksteady just don’t want to. Who knows! I could be entirely incorrect and Batman might spend the last scene in the game laughing over some wine with Alfred. But it’s interesting to speculate on in either case. There’s still plenty of time to go until we find out for sure, but until then you can check back here for plenty of Bat-related content. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!