We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s start the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense.
Warning: This article is in two parts. The first contains comments made by Rocksteady regarding the future of the series. The second contains speculation and spoilers for Batman: Arkham City. Please do not read the second part if you have not finished the game yet.
So, you’ve finished Batman: Arkham City. Have you picked your jaw off the floor yet? Game creators Rocksteady have created what is arguably the best superhero video game ever made, and possibly one of the best video games ever.
But what’s up next for the Arkham series? Is Rocksteady going to continue with the Bat-verse?
According to CVG, Rocksteady is down for it, as long as DC is. “What happens next depends on how this game is received,” said marketing game manager Dax Ginn, “We’re really proud of the work we’ve done and I think taking Batman on to the streets of Gotham is where people wanted him to go after the Asylum. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. There’s a philosophy at the studio that as long as we keep making awesome things, awesome opportunities will open up to us. But we can’t make any firm decisions because the games industry is a crazy thing.
So as long as we’ve got stories to tell – and you can see the way the story of Arkham Asylum links into Arkham City – I think so long as we feel we can do that and do that really well then… There’s no other character that’s as awesome as Batman, who’s got such an incredible rogues gallery, who’s got such and amazing structure for gameplay.”
I’d say that Batman: Arkham City shipping 4.6 million copies in a week, that’s double the shipping numbers for the first month of Arkham Asylum, practically seals the deal on a third game. However, we have to see what DC Comics and Warner Bros. decide.
Next we have to wonder, what’s going to happen in this hypothetical next game?
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With the ending, Joker’s death, and Mark Hamill’s stated retirement from doing the voice, it seems as though the Joker is done in this game series. However, I’m enough of an optimist (or maybe a skeptic) that I think that Hamill is trying to throw us off.
Also, Joker may have died at the end of the game, but don’t forget that we’ve been exposed to the Lazarus Pits, and it’s possible that those could factor into the next game. It’s not as if the Joker hasn’t died before, and he’s even been tossed into a Lazarus Pit in the past. It would be especially interesting if he’s revived by a Lazarus Pit and regains his sanity, as he did in “The Demon Laughs”.
Additionally, a small easter egg hidden in the game may hold the key to the future of the series. In the Joker’s lair, on the floor next to a mannequin wearing Harley Quinn’s Arkham City uniform, is a pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test.
Since Harley Quinn is supposedly having the Joker’s baby, it’s almost positive that this will figure into the next game. Will it be a major part of the game, or be a secondary plot point?
In a perfect world, the next game will incorporate Joker being brought back with a Lazarus Pit and Harley’s pregnancy (or child, if the game is set at a later date). Perhaps Joker will come back sane and, temporarily, will want to be a father, until he finally regains his insanity. Maybe the child will be Duela Dent, commonly known as the “Joker’s Daughter”. But could there be a successful Batman title that revolves around these themes? Probably not. Most of the players of these games won’t be as interested by family drama, even if it’s the most dysfunctional family in the world. We’ll more than likely see another villain rise to the top for the next game, with the Joker/Harley/baby drama as a subplot.
Who knows? At this point it’s all speculation. But it’s worth thinking about, since Rocksteady is down for making another game. DC Comics, greenlight this project NOW.