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SDCC '13: Arkham Origins

Daniel Kendi ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Witness the next installment in the blockbuster videogame franchise. Developed by WB Games Montréal, Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, the game showcases a young and unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crimefighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight. As the story unfolds, players will meet many important characters for the first time and forge key relationships. Get the latest reveals from a panel headed by WB Games Montréal creative director Eric Holmes, creative director of the portable game Mark Pacini, and actors Roger Craig Smith (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite), the voices of Batman and the Joker, respectively. Batman: Arkham Origins will be released worldwide on October 25.

Batman: Arkham Origins is one of the most anticipated video games of the year. San Diego Comic Con is filled with Batman fans, so where would be a better place to reveal more information on the prequel to the hit Arkham series?

The panel began with a quick summary of the game’s premise: “Black Mask puts a $50 million bounty on Batman’s head on Christmas Eve, and 8 assassins come to claim it. Three of these eight assassins have been announced so far (Bane, Deadshot, and Deathstroke) and by the end of this panel we learn of one more.

The creative director of the portable game, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate then explained that his game takes place after its console companion. He also explained that the game is similar to the Metroid series and will “open up the rest of the DC Universe to the to the Arkham franchise.” This will hopefully lead WB Games to make games based on other DC superheroes.

The new voices of Batman and the Joker were then introduced, Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker. When asked what it’s like to play these iconic characters, Smith explained that it’s “overwhelming,” but also “a huge honor” to become the voice of Batman. Baker who has been highly praised for his work in Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us said that like in any job, he’s just “trying not to get fired!”

After some comical previews of the actors’ takes on the characters, Eric Holmes (the game’s creative director) spoke about the story. He explained that Black Mask was the obvious and ideal choice for the game’s villain. His ties to the mob make him a perfect foil for a young and less experienced Batman. He also spoke of Alfred who will have a larger presence than in previous games. At this point, Alfred is less supportive of Bruce’s decision to become Batman. Smith teased that there are a lot of great scenes between the two characters.

Finally, the big reveal of the panel was shown, the addition of Copperhead as one of the assassins. Unlike the comic version of this character though, this Copperhead is female. Holmes explained that Copperhead is a contortionist who attacks from the shadows and uses poisons. Geoff Johns, DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, explained that he worked with the game’s concept artists to create this female version of the character. He also announced that this new version of the character would be making her way into DC’s current continuity, The New 52. This is an interesting announcement because Johns is already writing the male version of the character in Justice League of America.

After this some costumes for Batman were shown. Adam West Batman and Knightfall Batman were shown and are exclusive to Sony Playstation 3. Two new multiplatform costumes were shown, Batman: One Million and Worst Nightmare Batman.

During the following fan question section, one fan asked about Robin and Batgirl being in the game. Holmes explained that it was too early in Batman’s timeline for Robin to show up, but he didn’t rule out Batgirl. This is an interesting situation since Batgirl usually arrives after Robin. We’ll have to wait to find out more, but perhaps Barbara Gordon and not necessarily “Batgirl” is in the game.

Another fan asked about a Batman Beyond game. Johns explained, “We talk about everything,” and asked fans if they would be interested in this.

To close off the panel Holmes explained that while many of the assassins will be announced in advance, not all will be revealed. Some will be left as a surprise when the game launches this fall.

Check back for more SDCC panel coverage here at Emertainment Monthly!

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