Batman: Arkham Asylum
It might be forgiveable, if there wasn't such a clear example of how you can create a story that 'matters' on the other side of the street.
When Batman: Arkham Asylum
was announced, it was a little odd to look at as a comics fan. The fact that you could see his pupils might seem like a minor touch, but for anyone regularly reading Batman
comics that's a visual cue which very strongly suggests the films. But he wasn't wearing the film costume, and a massive chunk of his rogues gallery that hadn't even been hinted at in Batman Begins
was present and accounted for ? including a couple of super-ish characters such as Killer Croc and Poison Ivy.
Tonally, it felt like the comics, although visually things like the costume (again) didn't quite match. And then there was voice talent from the Animated Series
The Dark Knight Rises
All of the above was slightly baffling to anyone looking to pigeon-hole the game, but had the wonderful effect ? explicit or not ? of freeing the game from the confines of the film or comics continuity and the status of second class tie-in. It didn't line up with any of Batman's previous incarnations ? not through carelessness but by design.
By the next game, Arkham City
, you could really get invested in what was happening when Bruce got chucked into the Arkham gulag. Because this was a different Batman, who you'd started to give a toss about in the first game and who could actually go through a significant character arc in this one. Rocksteady had created its very own continuity, which has now spawned its very own spin-offs in the form of comics series.
I'm not going to claim that it was great storytelling that single-handedly made the Arkham
games superb. But, for the most part, people come to these games because of stories they've enjoyed in other mediums ? story has an important part to play in licensed games. And a thoughtful story with genuine progression and genuine scope for character development provided so much depth in the Arkham
games when compared to the pale reflection of a movie that was The Amazing Spider-Man
Batman, by Jim Lee
It's also worth noting that the other serious contender for 'Best Superhero Property of this Console Generation' is inFamous
, which started its life with no continuity baggage whatsoever.
So, please, any developers reading this and working on tie-in games ? stop worrying about other people's continuity and start building your own. Don't give us a movie's or comic's or TV show's version of the characters you're using ? give us your own. Maybe then we can give a shit.
The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and does not reflect those of SPOnG.com except when it does.
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