While the new trailer is full of well-choreographed action, it looks like WB Montreal might not have thought out a minor-major character moment about the DCU’s most staunch no-killing vigilante.
Plus, new screens and details (Joker: confirmed) from this full trailer tease out more about the cast of characters in the DCU prequel.
The problematic moment comes pretty early on in the trailer, as Batman stalks a group of masked thieves through a darkened warehouse. After dispatching the first two, he comes across the third, grabbing him by the throat and giving a noticeable, sharp squeeze before the crook goes down. “Did Batman just break that guy’s neck,” I wondered. Then he discovers the contents of their haul: a short-time bomb, which leads him to fling himself through a window before it explodes in trap set by Deathstroke.
Both are kind of weird beats for what WB Montreal is using as the story of one of Batman’s early adventures as a crime fighter. It sets him up as a more ruthless character than has been portrayed across the previous “Arkham” games and maybe even a little less deliberate/methodical. I kind of hope this isn’t some little throwaway moment and that the developer is thinking in these terms about how an unseasoned Batman would handle crimes, because that might be an interesting path to explore for the character throughout the game: his quest for justice versus his need for vengeance against the crime in his city.
The trailer also confirms that Deadshot will be one of the eight assassin’s hired by villain Black Mask to take out the Batman during the course of the game. It’s hard to think of him as much of a threat, though, given how easily he was dealt with as one of the side missions in “Arkham City.”
His employer, criminal kingpin Black Mask in on full, sadistic display. We’re seeing the actual masked incarnation of the villain and not the one with the mask grafted onto his face, which jibes with early story details out of the developer placing this squarely during the time when his alter ego is able to operate as a legitimate businessman. Chances that somehow he suffers a horrible burn that melts his mask onto his skull? I’d say 100%.
The developer also included some new screenshots with the trailer, bringing the Joker and villain Anarky into the mix. I was hoping after the conclusion of “Arkham City” (and Mark Hamill’s insistence that he was done with the role, later rescinded) that we might not see the Joker this time around. I think we all love seeing Batman go up against his nemesis, but after two games, it would be nice to let absence allow fondness to set in.
The presence of Anarky (pictured above), though, presents another issue: villain bloat. “Arkham City” was ultimately wildly unfocused, with a sprawling cast of characters that ultimately undermined the stakes of the story and what was supposed to be its primary villain, Hugo Strange. Likewise, a character like the Anarky (his whole schtick is that he’s a child genius/anarchist) might be kind of large to place alongside an overall plot featuring Black Mask, eight assassins, and the Joker in some capacity.
The quick turnaround on “Arkham Origins” means that WB Montreal might not have had the opportunity to be as responsive to some of the issues with “Arkham City,” and yet I still want to hang out in this universe and get another game with Kevin Conroy’s Batman out in front.
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