If you’re a gamer and a Batman fan, it’s impossible not to appreciate the Arkham series. Spanning four games in total, the Arkham series finally broke the trend of bad comic book games. From the environments, voice acting, writing and of course gameplay, fans had the first true Batman gaming experience. The attention to detail is still staggering. The developers poured everything they had into making truly immersive versions of key Batman mythos locations. Perhaps the biggest contribution to the sense of immersion was the sheer volume of easter eggs that saturated every corridor, room and street.
When Arkham Asylum was released, fans didn’t know what to expect. Cautiously, we booted up the game and discovered a glut of secrets alluding to the many years of Batman continuity. The game was picked clean. Knowing this, Rocksteady seriously upped their game with Arkham City. The easter eggs were subtler and the sheer volume left players busy for months. This trend continued throughout the series, setting us a joyously time intensive and knowledge testing task with every new installment. So we’ve dove into the depths of our memory for the most obscure easter eggs we could remember. Suit up with us as we look at 15 easter eggs only true fans noticed…
15 ARKHAM CITY BLUEPRINTS
Perhaps the most infamous easter egg in the whole Arkham series, this cemented the series’ reputation for playing the long game with hidden clues for fans to find. It was so well hidden that Rocksteady had to reveal it themselves. In Warden Sharp’s office, behind a wall that doesn’t show in Detective Vision, is a secret room where players can find Sharp’s proposal for an expansive prison in the streets of Gotham. Of course, this plan saw fruition and Arkham City was constructed, with Bats eventually causing complete and utter chaos within the prison walls in the titular sequel.
Considering that Arkham Asylum was an unknown quantity, you really have to commend Rocksteady for their dedication to the franchise. If Asylum had bombed, it would have been a neat piece of world building. But Asylum was a resounding success and this easter egg turned into a great example of foreshadowing.
14 JACK RYDER/THE CREEPER
Jack Ryder appears as a somewhat clueless journalist in all of the Arkham games, regularly butting heads with Batman and landing one or both of them in hot water. Something that the games themselves don’t really address is Ryder’s unhinged, but mostly altruistic, alter ego: The Creeper. Created by Steve Ditko, the Creeper has all the general superpowers you’d expect, alongside weaponized laughter and a truly garish but fantastic costume.
He’s actually fought alongside Batman on many occasions, even holding a slot on Batman’s super-team The Outsiders when Bruce Wayne was dead. The Creeper is probably a little too “out there” for the Arkham series’ grimy and grounded take, but it’s a testament to Rocksteady’s knowledge of the franchise to include such a relatively obscure character in a major, recurring role.
13 HARLEY'S INTERVIEW TAPES
The Arkham games are packed to the brim with content that both expands the world and adds depth to the characters. One of the most thorough ways Rocksteady did this was through use of the Interview Tapes. Originating in Arkham Asylum, these conversations between psychiatrists and the villains were prime real estate for some good ‘ol fan service. Our favorite example of this is the Harley Quinn tapes in Asylum that outline her origin.
Showing her conversations with The Joker and her progression into insanity, most of Harley’s dialogue in the tapes are paraphrased from Mad Love, the comic by her creator Paul Dini that brought Harley from the animated series to the comics. For fans who didn’t pick up on it, the tapes were a great insight into Harley’s psyche. For fans that did, they showed that Rocksteady loved these characters just as much as we do.
12 STAGE C CODE
There seems to be one die-hard, unbreakable rule when bringing superheroes to another medium. At some point, somewhere in the background, maybe at the top of a newspaper, or on a car’s license plate, you absolutely must include the date of their first appearance. The Arkham games, being upstanding and respectable superhero adaptations, pull their weight and give us the required nod in Arkham Knight.
It takes the form of a code needed to progress in the Panessa Movie Studios, right before you fight Johnny Charisma. The code is 0539, referring to the historic Detective Comics #27 which was released in, as you probably already gathered/knew, May 1939. Props to Rocksteady for finding a fresh, subtle way to pay homage to the introduction of Batman.
11 MIAGANI ISLAND
The great thing about Rocksteady’s approach to easter eggs is their ability to tie them back thematically into the game. Some allude directly to future or past events in the franchise. Some serve to expand the mythos of the Arkham universe as a whole, referencing famous aspects of the comics. Miagani Island in Arkham Knight is a perfect example of the latter. One of three islands you get to punch your way around, Miagani Island is actually named after a tribe of people who occupied prehistoric Gotham.
Batman, in his post-Final Crisis escapades through time, saves the tribe from slaughter. Holding Batman’s abandoned cape as an item of worship, the Miagani revere the “spirit” that came to save them and adopt the stealth tactics and obsessive Bat-Branding of their guardian. In a fun little allusion to the island’s legacy, Miagani Island is where the player first encounters Man-Bat too.
10 GENTLEMAN GHOST
Gentleman Ghost is an old school villain and a onetime nemesis of Hawkman. He then made the move to Gotham where, let’s be honest, he was more thematically applicable. Gentleman Ghost’s villainous career thrived for a short while, only for him to disappear around the time Jason Todd became Robin. So, all in all, not the most noteworthy of Batman villains. But when did that ever stop Rocksteady?
Gentleman Ghost gets thrown a proverbial bone in Arkham City, specifically in the Wonder City segment just prior to the showdown with Ra's al Ghul. If you scout around you can find a storefront with Gentleman Ghost’s trademark top hat, monocle and lack of face in the window, on a sign entitled “Gentlemen’s Hats & Accessories”. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a decidedly creepy doll riding a toy “Ghost Train” in the window as well.
9 BANE'S TEDDY BEAR
This one’s a deep cut from Bane’s early years. While serving time in Pena Duro for his dead father’s crimes, little Bane found solace in his teddy bear, lovingly named Osito. Not so loving is the knife that, according to rumor, is stored within Osito, which is used by the fledgling crime lord to stab his prison enemies. Damn, Bane.
Osito makes his fuzzy cameos in Arkham Asylum just before the Bane fight, sitting on a table in Wonder City during Arkham City and, somewhat sadly, locked away in the GCPD Evidence Archive in Arkham Knight. We imagine it’s only a matter of time before Bane launches a savage assault on the GCPD to rescue his childhood friend. Never come between a Venom-addled criminal mastermind and his bear.
8 KILLER MOTH'S VICTIM
One of the most prominent C-Tier Bat-Villains, Killer Moth was pretty low hanging fruit in terms of easter eggs. Having said that, this one isn’t as obvious as you’d think, leaving us to stumble upon it during Arkham Asylum. There you’ll find a hanging skeleton cocooned by Killer Moth’s cocoon gun. Scanning it will unlock Killer Moth’s profile, but his fate in the Arkham universe was left to ambient dialogue in Arkham Knight.
One of Harley’s thugs can be overheard discussing Killer Moth while on patrol, confirming that Killer Moth had survived the events of Arkham City. However, his luck soon ran out. We find out, again through ambient dialogue, in the Red Hood DLC that Killer Moth has been hunted down and killed by Red Hood. All in all, Killer Moth survived longer than you’d expect a hokey C-Tier villain to last and, for that, we salute him.
7 DETECTIVE JOHN JONES
While all of the games include subtle, easy to miss background easter eggs and fan service, Arkham Knight really goes above and beyond. Alongside copious nods to other DC heroes like Green Arrow, Booster Gold, Superman, The Flash and John Constantine, Rocksteady gift us a small but undeniable tip of the cap to Martian Manhunter in the GCPD Headquarters. The name “John Jones” appears on a table of detective’s shifts, alluding to Martian Manhunter’s long running disguise as a human police officer and private detective.
It seems that, in the wake of all the chaos after Arkham City, J’onn J’onzz has picked up some shifts in Gotham to help lighten the load on the GCPD. He’s a class act, that Martian Manhunter. Although he probably could have done more good if he just flew in and used his superpowers. Hmm…
6 THE RED HOOD'S CRIMES
While Asylum, City and Knight showed Batman in his prime, it was interesting to go back to the beginning of his career in Arkham Origins. Origins showed us Batman’s first encounters with a variety of villains, most prominently The Joker. While Joker appears fully formed and ready to cause chaos, there is a subtle hint to one of his most popular origin theories, if you look closely enough.
At the top of the pin-board labelled “2” in the Batcave are newspaper clippings about the crimes of a man in a red mask. Look at the pictures and you’ll see the infamous Red Hood from The Killing Joke. Considering the Joker’s presence in Arkham Origins and the fact that, well, it’s called Origins, leads us to take this as the definitive Joker origin in the Arkham universe.
5 MAXIE ZEUS'S CELL
Part of the fun of exploring the buildings in Arkham Asylum was trying to find all the villain’s respective cells to get a glimpse into how they spend their time in the asylum. As you’d expect, these cells are prime easter egg territory. One of the more obscure villains referenced here is Maxie Zeus, a former teacher who fell into mental illness and crime after his wife leaves him. He becomes convinced that he is the Greek god Zeus incarnate (not really surprising when you think about it) and embarks on an entirely uneventful criminal career.
Maxie’s cell has books on Greek myth lying around and, slightly more ominously, Greek symbols carved all over the walls. One of the unlockable Stories in Arkham City confirms that Maxie had been subject to electroshock therapy inside Arkham, alluding to his notable appearance in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
4 GREAT WHITE SHARK
Once a brilliant but highly corrupt financial baron, Warren White made the decidedly unbrilliant decision to make the insanity plea when he was eventually arrested and tried. This succeeded and, considering he was tried in Gotham, he was shipped directly to Arkham. Talk about a plan backfiring. Obviously Arkham drove him insane and, to top that off, he lost his hair, nose and lips in an altercation that ended with him locked in one of Mr. Freeze’s refrigerated cells.
White then adopted the moniker “The Great White Shark”, probably because the comparison was too obvious to ignore. While never seen outright, there’s little nods to Great White Shark here and there. Throughout the series, Great White Shark’s nose, fingers, teeth and lips can be found in a jar. You can also find premises with “W White” on the storefront, potentially serving as a base for his shady antics in Gotham.
3 BATWOMAN'S VOICEMAIL
Bruce Wayne’s office answering machine in Arkham Knight is the veritable hoard of easter eggs. There’s nods there to Lex Luthor and Vicky Vale, but our favorite has to be the message from Kate, asking Bruce if he’ll still be attending her and Maggie’s engagement party, while reminding him that he taught her to “keep up appearances”. Bat-Family fans knew who this was from instantly.
“Kate” is Kate Kane, known to Gotham’s underworld as Batwoman. Her relationship and engagement with Maggie Sawyer is a fan favorite, regardless of how DC handles it (yes, we’re still salty). The worst thing about this easter egg is we know that Batwoman is established and operating in Gotham in the Arkham Universe, but with Rocksteady ending the series with Arkham Knight, we’ll never get to team up with her. Why do you wound us so, Rocksteady?
2 NO BONES JOKER
Rocksteady love to reward attentive players, in regard to both easter eggs and the main plot of the games themselves. Near the end of Arkham City, you discover that The Joker you’ve been fighting throughout the game is in fact Clayface, posing as The Joker’s to cover his Titan-induced illness in Arkham Asylum. Observant players particularly dialed in to the Batman mindset would have pieced this together from a small but vital hint in a mid-game boss fight with the Joker.
Pop in to Detective Vision during the fight and take a look at Joker. Where Detective Vision shows all of the thug’s skeletons, Joker is a solid form with no skeleton in sight. Conclusion? This Joker doesn’t have a skeleton. Clayface must be involved. It’s an incredible detail that, if spotted on your first playthrough, would leave you feeling like the true Dark Knight Detective.
1 CRAZY QUILT SHOUTOUT
We’re going to be upfront here; Crazy Quilt sucks. A rare misfire for Jack Kirby, Crazy Quilt lands on the wrong side of cheesy and, as a result, is really just a piece of trivia. Rocksteady capitalized on this by having roaming thugs discuss him in Arkham City. After Two-Face’s early game defeat, speculation is rife among criminal circles as to who was behind the defeat of such a major player.
Apparently, a small number of thugs are insistent that Crazy Quilt was behind Two-Face’s failure. The thugs discussing the rumor are just as confused and derisive as us, calling Quilt a “lame ass villain”. They might be small time criminals in a city bursting with vigilantes, but at least they can get something right.
Which of these easter eggs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!