Sweeping across the skyline of Gotham City comes Warner Bros.’ Arkham games. Since 2009 we have been hooked and horrified by the grimy underbelly of some of the best video games out there. Our trip into Batman gaming madness started with Arkham Asylum in 2009, branched out into Arkham City in 2011, fell off the wagon with spin-off Arkham Origins in 2013, then returned to glory with Arkham Knight in 2015. Veteran Batman writer Paul Dini wrote Asylum, while the rest of the games broke free from the decaying walls of Gotham's mad house and ran with his idea to become massive sandbox games.
Arkham Knight marked the end of a chapter, and Rocksteady may have bowed out after three entries, but that doesn’t mean that we should let the franchise crumble like its titular asylum. Our love of the Waynes certainly isn’t waning, and with rumors that Warner Bros. Montreal is suiting up the Bat Family for another big adventure, just who has to appear for more Bane, more batarangs, and more bromances.
Here are the 15 Characters We Need To See In The Next Batman Game
Birds, planes, and Superman have to fly into the next Batman game, otherwise, it is the biggest crime against gaming since Atari made E.T. Arkham Knight was stuffed with clues pointing to Supes. Littered around Gotham, we saw LexCorp advertisements, companies that can fly you to Metropolis (notice the red blur in the background), and even one of those nameless grunts uttering the phrase: "You know the only thing that's missing is if that freak from Metropolis flew in here." Just like references to Blüdhaven, we know Metropolis is out there, and what would Metropolis be without Clark Kent? The bonus of including Superman in a Batman game is the chance to get his own full-blown feature.
As a DLC or even a flying tour of Gotham, introducing Superman is one way to show gaming advancements since the first Arkham game in 2009. As the Arkhamverse moved to bigger environments and finally introduced a playable Batmobile, the next logical step is to fly without the help of grappling hooks or Batman.
Let’s not forget, we have nearly been here before; it was reported (shortly after Arkham Knight) that Warner Bros. Montreal was developing a Superman game under the title Superman: Unbound - concept art emerged, but no one proved it was real, and everything went quiet. With a big announcement coming on March 7, gamers might not have to wait too long to see Clark Kent take to the skies in a Warner Bros. game.
14 James Gordon Jr.
A buffed-up version of James Gordon Jr. was a welcome reimagining of an aged Commissioner Gordon. With Barbara, the Gordon family became staples of the Warner Bros. games. One member of the family who was missing, and with good reason, was James Gordon Jr, so let's see what Arkham could do with him. As the template “young psychopath," comic book Jim Jr. showed violent behavior from a young age by killing and dismembering animals - sounds like the perfect addition to the rogues of the Arkhamverse.
Featuring most notably in Batman: The Black Mirror, James Gordon Jr. could pose as the perfect side-mission for a game if following the comic books, or even as the main antagonist. After appearing as a reformed member of society, James Jr. was actually using his time with Dr. Leslie Thompkins to try and infiltrate a baby formula facility and create a new generation of psychopath tots. It may sound similar to the whole Joker venom storyline, but with the games getting progressively darker, it only makes sense that they start adopting some of DC’s more mature storylines. With The Black Mirror taking place under the absence of Bruce Wayne, it could easily fit into a continuation of Arkham Knight.
As long as they steer clear of some Jason Todd/Arkham Knight reveal, James Gordon Jr. could mess with the Gordon family's happy homestead as one of the universe’s more realistic foes.
13 Dr. Leslie Thompkins
If we are going to have James Gordon Jr., we might as well include Dr. Leslie Thompkins too. Depicted in various different incarnations over her tenure, this means Warner Bros. could pick whichever version of the doc they wanted if she were to enter the Arkhamverse. Whereas the games all-too-often focus on the villains of the piece, Dr. Thompkins could be a great addition to the ever-growing Bat Family as one of the most under-used, but loyal, friends of Bruce Wayne. Arkham City sees her medical clinic located in a far corner of the map, but until now, she has remained just a name on the wall.
Depicted as a highly-intelligent doctor and former colleague of Thomas Wayne, Thompkins has been on the scene since Detective Comics #457 in 1976. More often than not, she is featured as a surrogate mother to Bruce, who is aware of his identity, which makes her lack of screentime in the games already all the more confusing.
It could be explained that the games are taking into account the War Games storyline, her most notable tale, which saw Thompkins banished after pretending she had killed the fourth Robin, Stephanie Brown. Moving away from her “old lady persona,” FOX’s Gotham features a much younger Dr. Thompkins, erasing her gray hair bun and maternal protection of Bruce Wayne.
12 Cassandra Cain
Also missing from the roster of friendly faces is Cassandra Cain. With Babs firmly confined to her wheelchair in the Arkham games, who is currently holding up the mantle of Batgirl? We already know that Cassandra’s mother, Lady Shiva, was one of the eight assassins in Arkham Origins, and with plenty of time passing since then, surely she's had a kid by now? Cain featured way back when in 2001’s Gamecube Game Batman: Dark Tomorrow, as well as being creatable in Lego Batman: The Video Game, however, she's still not even an Easter egg in Arkham.
If the next Arkham game were to touch further on the idea of a No Man’s Land, it would be the perfect time to introduce Cain alongside her comic book introduction from the 1999 storyline. Here, Cain was one of Oracle’s agents inside the city, operating under Batgirl.
However, if playing a good girl isn’t quite gamer’s bags for Cassandra, we have also seen her villainous streak when she headed up the League of Assassins in One Year Later - a group in turmoil after Talia al Ghul's death in Arkham City.
It is clear that Oracle won’t be leaving her paraplegic state anytime soon, so Barbara could easily start the training of her Batgirl boot camp and Cain. The other benefit of Cassandra is that she is sometimes depicted as a mute assassin, meaning Warner Bros. probably wouldn’t need to hire a voice actor for the role!
11 King Shark
After three games of pursuing Killer Croc through the bowels of Arkham, Arkham City, and flying prisons, isn't it about time we found a villain with a little more bite? Up until now, Waylon Jones as Croc has been one of the biggest villains in the Arkhamverse, but now is the time to step it up a notch and introduce King Shark. For anyone doubting King’s addition, seriously check out Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding’s Assault on Arkham for the DCAU and you will see why King Shark is a “must-have” addition. The King Shark from Assault on Arkham was a million miles away from the hybrid “Jaws with legs” from CW’s The Flash and the comic books - here he was a formidable foe with a giant metal jaw and more human-esque features.
King Shark may seem more at home alongside Aquaman, but don’t forget he has had numerous run-ins with the Dark Knight and has been especially involved with the Suicide Squad. Secondly, David Ayer revealed that King Shark was originally featured in the lineup of his Oscar-winning film, so could very possible be in the sequel.
As for the gaming universe, King Shark could offer a muscle-bound boss battle. Imagine if Croc were to return as well. It would be one hell of a King Shark vs. Killer Croc vs. Batman battle, seeing the player try to take on two of the world’s biggest brutes.
10 Duela Dent
If there is one character who gets a particularly bad rep in DC, it's Duela Dent, aka The Joker's Daughter - the misused, sometimes alternate world-dwelling, lesser Harley Quinn. Dent was introduced in 1976 and over the years has claimed to be the daughter of everyone from Catwoman to Scarecrow, sadly, it was a running joke that fell flat. With storylines as a member of the Teen Titans and the New Suicide Squad, Dent’s claim to fame is as the girl who wore the Joker’s face in the aftermath of Death of the Family during the New 52. Duela Dent actually has all the makings of a great villain, so another Arkham game could be her time to shine.
Arkham’s Joker may be gone, but does his crazy really have to as well? Disappointingly, Tara Strong’s Harley Quinn was largely absent from Arkham Knight, which saved most of her action for the DLCs. Long-term fans of the series want more of Joker, or at least his proposed offspring in the fray. Although Dent isn’t actually the daughter of Mr. J, the arrival of Duela Dent could serve as the game’s central mystery or could be the perfect way to wrap up the “Harley is pregnant” cliffhanger from Arkham City.
9 Jane Doe
Oh great, another formidable assassin who can mimic everyone else, what’s so new here? Where Jane Doe excels, is by being a villain literally born from horror itself. Appearing in (so far) only two of the comic books, there is so much untapped potential for the faceless female. Introduced in the lauded Arkham: Living Hell, the inclusion of Doe in the games would take the Dark Knight on a very dark journey indeed.
Jane is a cipher, with relatively little (if anything) known about who she really is. She arrived in Living Hell under the alias of psychiatrist Anne Carver, whom Doe had actually already murdered, and is also responsible for the creation of Warren White, aka. Great White Shark, who we already know exists in the Arkhamverse. Feeling incomplete, Jane attempts to take the lives of those around her, making her one of Gotham’s most dangerous and psychotic foes.
After monitoring her victims from afar, Doe decides to become them, both mentally and physically. Like a scene from Game of Thrones, Doe likes to flay her victims, then wear their skin. She has also been involved in the House of Hush storyline, becoming obsessed with Bruce Wayne and cutting off Thomas Elliot’s new face, thinking it was Wayne.
Doe tracking Batman, or even becoming one of those closest to him and hiding in plain sight could be a huge twist moment for the games and really amp up the horror!
8 Dr. Hurt
Grant Morrison sure knows how to write a good villain, and while Dr. Simon Hurt may not be flavor of the month among DC fans, he is perfect Arkham material thanks to his mysterious past. Gamers want something new, so the chance to flesh out Dr. Hurt on our screens is one too good to pass up on. First introduced as an unnamed doctor in 1963, Morrison officially brought Hurt into canon during Batman R.I.P., a story that was met with mixed reception. However, by leading both the Black Glove and the Club of Villains, as well as once being thought to be Darkseid, Hurt opens up the Arkhamverse to a whole host of possible storylines and other characters-- most interestingly as the devil-worshipping ancestor of Bruce himself.
The ambiguous identity of Dr. Hurt means that any Arkham game could effectively run with it in whatever direction that they want. You could stick with the supernatural element of him being some sort of devil incarnate, or have him as an actual character we have already met. The games weren't afraid to shy away from the occult with the likes of Amadeus Arkham and Ra’s al Ghul, so why would a centuries old descendant of Bruce Wayne stand in their way?
Court is in session and the owls have landed. It is amazing that the Court of Owls hasn't yet even had a look in during the Arkhamverse, bar a possible mask in Barbara Gordon’s apartment. Gamers may have been caught up in the League of Assassins, but move over, there is a winged worry on the horizon. The whole Court of Owls/Night of Owls storylines are a game within themselves, and there are persistent rumors that this is the route the next game could take. However, in particular addition to the Court, we also need to see Talon/multiple Talons rising from their caskets. The DCAU’s Batman vs. Robin gave us an almost perfect portrayal of Talon.
Basically, Talon could be anyone, and over the many years of the Court’s Illuminati-esque status in Gotham, Talon has been a mantle adopted by several people. Most notably it was Dick Grayson’s great-grandfather William Cobb who has given us the most Talon-time. During the Court of Owls, Cobb tortured Bruce in a giant labyrinth constructed by the Court. Sounding like the perfect Arkham level, you can already imagine a hallucinating Bruce treading the corridors of a giant stone maze as the masked Court watch from above. Interestingly, the comics also say that Dick Grayson’s destiny was to become a Talon, but that his adoption by Bruce scuppered those plans, so, having Nightwing face his destiny deserves to be more than just a DLC.
Can you hear that tweeting? Well, if it isn’t the Court of Owls, it must be Thomas Wayne Jr., or to be more precise, Owlman himself. Designed as the evil equivalent of Batman, isn’t it about time someone else took to the skies to battle the Dark Knight? The LEGO Batman universe started exploring space and other dimensions, so any continuing Arkham game will have to start exploring the various different Earths' doppelgangers and the myriad of stories that come with it. DC may have (partially) retconned everything with Infinite Crisis, but the games have no need to follow suit.
As a member of the Crime Syndicate of America, Owlman usually operates out of reverse Earth-Three and has a complicated past as Thomas Wayne Jr. In a reality where Bruce and Martha have perished, Thomas Wayne Sr. heads up the GCPD and has a hateful relationship with his villainous son. There have only been a few tussles between our Bruce Wayne and Owlman in their history, but Arkham could be the perfect showdown. The games have already mastered gliding and flight, but one thing that would amazing to see brought to life would be in-air battles.
Introducing multiple Earths may seem like an easy way to overcomplicate the storyline, but it also offers a wholly new spin on the Gotham we have spent four games playing.
5 Calendar Man
Coming a long way from his campy red costume with numbered shoulder pads, Calendar Man represents what DC can do with a lackluster villain when they try. To be honest, The Long Halloween deserves a whole game of its own, but the reintroduction of Calendar Man to an Arkham game is probably about as close as we will get. By adapting Calendar or The Long Halloween into the next Arkham game, it is also the perfect opportunity to explore Selina Kyle’s backstory and cover her trip to Rome in Catwoman: When in Rome, or the parallel story of the Hangman Killer in Batman: Dark Victory.
Whereas Calendar was relegated to a cell for his Arkham City stay, he got something more to do in the Batman: Arkham Knight prequel comics, so his role in the next game is already written. The prequel comic had Calendar murder several people at the Campbell Calendar Company and create seven Solomon Grundy clones (each named after a day in the week). The Grundy battle in Arkham City was one of the hardest elements, so imagine having to fight seven of them.
While Calendar doesn’t have the bravado to be the game’s main villain, we should definitely set a date for his return to the franchise.
4 Maxie Zeus
A man who thinks he is the Greek god of thunder - well, that is one way to shock Arkham gamers. The club, The Gotham Olympus, appears in Arkham City, revealing that Maxie Zeus has disappeared after several electro-shock therapy sessions, so we know he is out there somewhere. Hopefully, Arkham’s version is better than the comic book counterpart, whose merits include being highly annoying and colliding with a tree when escaping Arkham in the Knightfall story. Having Maxie holed up in some casino penthouse like Howard Hughes or a Bond villain could elevate the character from sub-level villain to an actual danger!
Underrated and underappreciated, Maxie could easily play a part of the criminal underworld and face off against the already established Oswald Cobblepot in the games. Parts of Zeus are a bit lame, such as his formation of Greek Mythology-based superhumans the New Olympians, but Warner Bros. can easily come up with a way to make him more credible.
Zeus also has big ties with villain Ares, who we all know will play a huge part in the upcoming Wonder Woman live-action film. Just as Superman and co. can expand the Arkhamverse into Justice League territory, Maxie can be seen as a gateway character for the games.
If you ignore the parts about a “Ghost Key” and interdimensional travel, Prometheus is just another grumpy orphan and the perfect sparring partner for Bats. Similar to Owlman’s origin, Prometheus represents a twisted mirror image of Bruce Wayne’s Batman. Whereas the Waynes were victims of crime, Prometheus' parents were petty criminals who fell in a Bonnie and Clyde-style shootout. With his hair turning white after his parent's death, Prometheus traveled the world to develop his skills, using his parent’s money. From then on, Prometheus promised to eradicate the forces of good.
Popping up as a pit-fighter in Brazil, a mercenary in Africa, and part of a terrorist group in the Middle East, Prometheus is effectively Bruce Wayne from Batman Begins. What makes Prometheus a valuable villain is the fact that he can download the fighting patterns of his partners into a compact disc in his helmet. If the games were moving forward with this, it could be a neat addition and another element similar to Bruce's Detective Mode.
While a character under the Prometheus name is currently causing trouble on CW’s Arrow, co-creator Marc Guggenheim has stated that it is not relevant to the comic book counterpart. However, now could be the time to introduce him to Arkham.
2 King Tut
Alongside Condiment King and Egghead, King Tut is one of the least likely characters to appear in the Arkhamverse, but also one that poses some interesting possibilities. Known for Victor Buono’s campy portrayal in the ‘60s series, King Tut went on to be the only villain outside the core group to appear in every season. Sadly, where everyone else underwent reinventions and New 52 makeovers, Tut is still remembered in ‘60s technicolor.
It took until 2009 for Tut to rise from his sarcophagus and into the comic books, but he is still screaming out for a gritty Arkham reimagining. The “new” Tut was Victor Goodman, a criminal Egyptologist who targeted Gotham’s wealthy with Egypt-based clues. It still sounds a bit lame, but surely Warner Bros. can do something with the character?
We have already explored the bowels of the Natural History Museum, so why not reanimate a decomposing version of Tut in typical Arkham fashion. Tut was there in The LEGO Batman Movie, and with Tom Cruise battling against Egyptian bandage kings in the upcoming The Mummy reboot, “mummy’s the word.”
1 Damian Wayne
You can ditch Duela, wave too-da-loo to Talon, and say "so long" Superman; there is only one Boy Wonder real Arkham fans want to see in the next game - Damian Wayne. With the exciting news of the upcoming Nightwing movie, we can't let Dick Grayson be the one who is "Robin" all the glory in Arkham games. There is more than enough room in the Arkhamverse for Batman's smallest sidekick to fly into his own adventure. The LEGO Batman Movie may have been all about the adoptive relationship of Grayson and Wayne, but the real father/son drama comes with Bruce and Damian, especially when you consider the kid's grandfather is Ra's al Ghul.
Already playable in the LEGO Batman games, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and even the DC Legends game, it only makes sense that Warner Bros. have been saving the son of Batman for another game. We've already met Dick Grayson as Nightwing, Tim Drake is the current Robin, and we all know what happened to Jason Todd, so let’s skip Stephanie Brown and get to the good stuff.
Damian's arrival would also be perfect timing; his mother Talia got a fleeting mention in Arkham Knight, so isn’t about time that Bruce and Damian got to mourn her loss together? Any opportunity to reference stories like Son of the Demon or Batman and Son would mean a pretty spectacular game, while the League of Assassins DLC from Arkham Knight set up an alternate ending where Ra's is still at large. Grandpa could easily have picked up Damian on the way.
Who would you like to see in the next Batman game? Let us know in the comments below!