He is vengeance, the night, and everything else in between. One of DC's most profitable characters, Batman has been around for nearly a century, starring in all sorts of comics, films, TV shows, and video games. His legacy began in the comics, where he continues to fight crime, form his own teams, and work with the Justice League. It's the comics that keep Batman stories moving forward and his logo on T-shirts. However, Batman proved just as successful in the video game industry. While several games starring the Dark Knight were less than satisfactory, that all changed with Rocksteady's Arkham series. Suddenly, Batman had made a glorious leap to a playable experience where players could feel like they were the Caped Crusader (as much of a cliche that line is, it's still very true). The developers worked tirelessly to bring the Batman lore to a new medium while simultaneously introducing elements that could make their way into other forms of storytelling.
With the Arkham games seemingly done at this point, they've left a legacy on Batman that cannot be understated. With the Dark Knight still fighting crime in the comics, there are several things that we feel the writers could pull from the video games to spice things up. That said, there are also elements from those video games that would be better off not being put in those stories. Here are 10 Batman video game elements that need to make it to the comics and 10 that can stay on the console.
20 WANT: FLUID COMBAT
One of the main draws of the Arkham series was the new freeflow combat system that Rocksteady developed. This allowed the Dark Knight to tackle on numerous foes, throwing punches and countering attacks all in a quick chain of motion that looked and felt great.
Depicting a battle in comics can be a bit tough, but it would be nice to see something that looked a bit more fluid. Batman constantly switching opponents and trading blows are the sorts of things that people pay to see, and it would make for some great panels to read. It would also look great on film.
19 DON'T WANT: TITAN
With new Batman stories in video games came with it a few new story elements to the Dark Knight's lore. One element was the Titan chemical. This powerful drug could be used to turn people into monstrous versions of themselves capable of taking all sorts of damage while destroying everything around them.
Apart from creating some more difficult foes to fight, it didn't have much use in the story. Joker would later use it to become a monster in the finale of Batman Arkham Asylum, and it was an underwhelming moment. Writers can think of better ways to spice up their stories.
18 WANT: BIGGER VILLAINS
The comics haven't shied away from using all sorts of foes, but more recent Batman stories have gone away from the more over-the-top characters that we see in Batman video games. Killer Croc was one of the first villains in Batman: Arkham Asylum, and he was much larger than most people would've imagined. Mad Hatter had all sorts of demented tricks up his sleeve in Batman: Arkham City.
While modern superhero stories tend to tone things down a bit, the Batman games have shown that the wackiness of the comics can work with the right twist to them. It makes each encounter that much more frightening.
17 DON'T WANT: HAND-TO-HAND JOKER FIGHTS
Some people were disappointed in the finale to Batman: Arkham Origins where the Dark Knight beats the Joker to a pulp. There are a few times in Batman games where players are tasked with fighting the Clown Prince of Crime. While it makes for a sometimes entertaining boss fight, it wouldn't be an interesting encounter in comics.
The Joker doesn't have the same training as Batman and is at an immediate disadvantage. Joker works best when he plays with Batman psychologically, using his clever schemes and twisted thoughts to gain the upper hand. Anything less would just feel like a step down.
16 WANT: INTENSE CHASES
Many great games have exciting chase sequences, and the Batman games are no different. While Batman Arkham Knight was criticized for its use of the Batmobile, there's no denying how intense it was zipping through Gotham City while chasing armored vehicles or rushing down Firefly during one of his arson sprees.
It's those sorts of intense chases that would make for some great moments in the comics. Give the Dark Knight a sense of urgency, and each panel can play with the readers. Allow it to constantly dance around with the idea of every obstacle as Batman gets closer or farther from his goal.
15 DON'T WANT: TANK
While the Batmobile was a natural next step after giving Batman: Arkham City a bigger world to traverse, turning it into a tank was better as a concept than it was a real mechanic. Completing puzzles and stealth missions while in a tank is not only tedious, but it breaks the immersion in a series of games that are mostly consistent with Batman's moral code.
While the Dark Knight has a lot of crazy gadgets at his disposal, there is no reason that the Batmobile tank should appear in the comics. Batman coming up with clever solutions to clean up crime while not ending anyone's life is what makes him so compelling, and the tank takes that away.
14 WANT: SCARECROW FEAR SEQUENCES
Some of the best moments in Batman: Arkham Asylum came when Scarecrow got the drop on Batman. The Dark Knight would then be thrust into a series of disjointed levels with a massive Scarecrow in the center, searching desperately for him. Scarecrow can be more than just a dude who sprays gas into Batman's face, and the games did a good job with it.
Look at his design in Injustice 2. Comics have the opportunity to go a bit crazier with Scarecrow's fear toxin to create some memorable scenes and have some frightening imagery while making it all work in the context of the DC Universe.
13 DON'T WANT: CRAZY SIDE PLOTS
Batman: Arkham City upped the ante quite a bit, but it did falter in some areas. There were a few side plots in the main story that seemed like they were haphazardly tied together at the finale. While the fights with Ra's al Ghul and Mr. Freeze were cool, they made it easy to forget that the overarching plot with Hugo Strange was still looming over.
Batman stories are at their best when they're much more concise. Batman: Arkham Knight faltered in this area as well, having all sorts of random encounters on the side that made it difficult to keep rushing toward taking down Scarecrow.
12 WANT: GADGETS
Batman is an extension of both Bruce Wayne's physical skill as well as his intelligence. This translates into gadgets that both help him get around Gotham and take down bad guys. These gadgets can be anything from a Grapnel Gun to an Ice Bomb that can freeze enemies and create platforms.
These gadgets helped Batman explore more areas of Gotham and Arkham Asylum respectively, but they could serve a purpose in the comics too. On top of being precisely the ridiculous toys that we love seeing the Dark Knight use, they could be used to show Batman's resourcefulness in each situation, just as players are encouraged to do in the games.
11 DON'T WANT: ROMANTIC INTERESTS
Many Batman games deal with old Bruce having a tie to some sort of woman in his life, whether it be Catwoman or Talia al Ghul. Batman is not a character that benefits from having attachments to other people in this way. After all, he is a damaged character, and the writers consistently tease him having a happy life only to write out his happiness a few moments later.
In the games, romantic interests feel tacked on and often have little to do with the story. They could be cut out, and things wouldn't be too different. Besides, Batman in a relationship just doesn't sound as appealing as Batman taking on tons of criminals.
10 WANT: DETECTIVE WORK
Batman is a crime fighter, but he's also a detective. Modern stories focus more on Batman fighting hordes of monsters rather than doing any serious detective work. A few Batman games have utilized his detective skills in a few scenes. All of the Arkham games had some moment where players needed to use Batman's tools to send them on a journey to solve a mystery tied to the plot.
A more concise story with Batman solving a mystery could potentially be more interesting than Batman fighting people on every page. It would also be a nice change of pace from big team-ups with the Justice League.
9 DON'T WANT: FACELESS CRIMINALS
When stories show Batman getting used to his new suit, he often takes on a few faceless criminals before going up against someone much more important to the story. In Batman video games, 90 percent of the enemies players face are just nameless criminals who have recycled designs and voice lines.
It makes each encounter feel like little more than an avenue where players can test their skills. With that element of interactivity absent from a comic, having Batman go against faceless criminals would be practically pointless. Every fight needs to count in a narrative, especially when Batman is driving it.
8 WANT: THE BAT FAMILY
After Batman: Arkham Asylum was a largely isolated experience, Batman: Arkham City started to open up the world of the Dark Knight by including Robin. The game's sequel brought in players like Nightwing and Red Hood as well. The Bat Family is an important aspect of Batman's character.
Its very existence challenges Bruce's tendency to hide in himself and block out everyone that cares about him. The Bat Family should be a great part of the comics going forward, as they hold the Dark Knight accountable. He is a flawed character, and having him interact with other heroes is a great reminder of that.
7 DON'T WANT: A BOATLOAD OF VILLAINS
With designing a Batman game, the developers have to create a world where players want to get lost for hours on end. On top of that, they want to have plenty of reason for fans to get invested in the adventure. Because of this, they cram a lot of villains into each game, more than would be reasonable for a regular comic book.
The first game boasted appearances from Scarecrow, Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Victor Zsasz, Riddler, Poison Ivy, and Bane. From there it got even more absurd. That level of villains wouldn't work in a story, as it would cause too many deviations from the main plot.
6 WANT: TEAM FIGHTS
Some of the best moments in Batman: Arkham Knight were when Batman would team up with another one of his friends to take on a horde of bad guys. Whether it be Robin, Nightwing, or Catwoman, each fight felt more dynamic. They had team up attacks and let players switch between characters with the press of a button.
Fighting side-by-side with another hero is exactly the kind of thing that would look great in the comics. Not only would it give Batman a sense of integration with the other heroes in his world, but the art would be astounding. Imagine how the team up attacks could be realized in a comic.
5 DON'T WANT: RIDDLER CHALLENGES
It's understandable why Riddler challenges were in the Arkham games. They were there to give some sort of clever collectible for players to constantly be on the hunt for. Completionists would have their fill as they tried to find all of the trophies and clues hidden in each game. While less is certainly more in terms of Riddler challenges, they're the type of thing that wouldn't work in a comic at all.
Without a story being driven by a player, there's no reason to include them. Ultimately, they serve no purpose to what's truly happening. Including them in a comic outside of a reference would be asinine, as readers would be forced to sit through pointless scenes.
4 WANT: PREDATOR SEQUENCES
One of the reasons Rocksteady's system for the Arkham games was so praised was because it introduced two ways that players could fight enemies. One was taking them head-on and the other was in the form of predator sequences. Batman would stealthily glide through certain areas and take out guys one by one until no one was left.
These sequences would work just as well in comics as they do in the games. It would be a thrill to see one take place from the perspective of a criminal, giving the reader the sense of dread that one feels when being stalked by the Batman.
3 DON'T WANT: DIFFERENT ENEMY TYPES
There are a few different enemy types in Batman games. Some have regular fists, others are trained men with guns. Some have riot shields while others are just bigger than everyone else. They offer variety to the gameplay and have players think differently about their combat styles. Those enemy types aren't needed in a comic.
Readers aren't guiding fight scenes, so it would be more than fit to simply show how Batman uses different strategies to take on criminals. Having bad guys with different equipment would feel random and stale, so it's definitely best if this mechanic stays in the games.
2 WANT: PERSONAL STAKES
What the Arkham games built up as they went on was how personal the stakes were for Bruce. The more he was Batman, the more danger he and his friends were in. After his fight with Joker in Arkham Asylum, his very identity was threatened at the start of the next one. It culminated in the loss of his love and his arch nemesis.
The last game in the trilogy saw him face losing everyone he loved while also reaching the realization that being the Dark Knight took its toll on him, and he was ready to disappear. Those personal stakes are what drive the best Batman stories. They work especially well in the comics too, and more of that would be a great thing.
1 DON'T WANT: AN EMPTY GOTHAM CITY
One of the biggest complaints with Batman: Arkham City and more specifically Arkham Knight was that the big open worlds felt empty. Arkham City was littered with nothing but goons, but that at least had some consistent story explanation. Arkham Knight evacuated everyone out of Gotham City, which hurt the game overall.
Trying to be Batman while managing everyday citizens could've been an enticing addition to the games. It's important in Batman stories that Gotham feels like a real place and is lived in. It's the home that Bruce cares about deeply enough to protect it with his life. Regular people in harm's way have to be there.