The times have rarely been better for Batman. As true testament to the DC Comics superhero's staying power, one rebirth of the character is taking place - set to debut in Batman V Superman, replacing Christian Bale's Dark Knight as the most recent version - as yet another incarnation ends: that created by developer Rocksteady Studios for their Arkham video game series.
The studio is choosing to go out on a high note with Batman: Arkham Knight, introducing a brand new villain, a functional Batmobile that could put its live-action counterparts to shame, and making the most of a new console generation. The latest trailer and screenshots show even more classic villain will be on hand - and given that a brand new Batman is on the horizon, the combination of a "serious" attitude and outlandish comic book characters shows there's still plenty of ground for a live-action caped crusader to tackle.
That isn't to say that a clear line can be drawn between video games and film... although the creative leads at DC Comics have confirmed that the current comic book design of Harley Quinn is based on that introduced in Arkham Asylum (now adopted for Suicide Squad). But the modern success of Batman movies and games have led to telling parallels, as Dawn of Justice looks to finally move from a suit of armor to a comic-esque Batsuit, and Arkham Knight sees Bruce Wayne ditch the fabric suit for a new - you guessed it - suit of armor.
A heavier-duty Batsuit is clearly needed for Batman's video game send-off, with this gameplay video giving a glimpse of just a few of the villains he'll be tangling with. Scarecrow (voiced by Fringe's John Noble) will be returning to offer more living nightmares and terror, but it's the mysterious Arkham Knight who will be claiming the spotlight when all is said and one (with his real identity being speculated upon for months).
Add in Poison Ivy to liven up the proceedings - along with countless other allies and villains - and you have an adventure, Rocksteady hopes, worthy of concluding their award-winning trilogy.
Knowing just how closely director Zack Snyder is keeping to the comics with his version of the Dark Knight, it seems many of the previous expectations about what was 'possible' with a live-action Batman may need to be revisited. Given the recent developments on the set of Suicide Squad, it seems that an embrace of the 'heightened,' if not downright fantastic is the norm for Warner Bros.' shared movie universe (assuming that's what each director is interested in).
Could Harley Quinn be just the first live-action DC Comics character to borrow from Arkham's success? There are plenty Batman fans who hope to see the game's faithful treatment of 'the world's greatest detective' adapted to film this time around, but even if Warner Bros. and their team of directors ignore the games entirely, the comic book source material they're both pulling from means Arkham could offer an idea of what to expect.
If it wowed skeptics in one medium, why not try it in another?
Batman: Arkham Knight is the final installment in the Batman “Arkham” video game series, which began with Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, and a prequel title, Batman: Arkham Origins. The series will bring its trademark style to the Batmobile for the first time ever, giving players the option to either grapple above the streets of Gotham or tear through them in the armored behemoth (but let’s be honest, they’ll go with the latter). The Scarecrow, who hasn’t been seen since Arkham Asylum, will ascend as the game’s primary villain, along with the mysterious new Arkham Knight character. Kevin Conroy will once again bring The Dark Knight to life as the voice of Batman.
Batman: Arkham Knight is slated for release on June 23rd, 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.