– Luke Chandler
This edition of In Memoriam is a little different than usual. In Memoriam usually focuses on a single game, but today we will be focusing on Rocksteady’s Arkham Trilogy.
As usual, this article will contain major spoilers. Believe me, if you are yet to play the Arkham Trilogy, you might want to turn back now.
In late 2009, British developer Rocksteady released Batman Arkham: Asylum, which changed the way in which we view superhero video games. Up until this point, superhero games had generally lacked depth and story. Rocksteady were able to create a game that was not only well received by Batman fans, but by video game fans and critics alike.
Following the overwhelming success of Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady released a sequel, Batman: Arkham City, in 2011. Arkham City was quite possibly even better than Asylum. The game took on a more open world approach, allowing you to grapple up rooftops, and glide around the city. It truly felt like the ultimate Batman simulator.
It’s worth mentioning that this is where the heavy spoilers start.
You see, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City shared a major feature; the main villain in both games was The Joker. For those of you who have been living under a rock, The Joker is Batman’s arch nemesis. He is the yin to Batman’s yang, and quite possibly the greatest villain of all time.
Rocksteady made an incredibly bold decision at the end of Arkham City. They killed off The Joker. For anyone who doesn’t know, killing off a superhero’s arch nemesis is a huge deal. It may seem strange to be upset about the death of a villain; But the Arkham Trilogy’s portrayal of The Joker is fantastic. The character is so interesting and intriguing. It is arguably the best portrayal of The Joker in any medium, aside from the comic books. Mark Hamill, of Star Wars fame, does an incredible job voicing The Joker, and has become the defining voice of the character for many Batman fans.
Many fans were left debating over whether or not Rocksteady had really killed The Joker. A lot of people, myself included, thought that there was no way he was really dead. The release of Batman: Arkham Knight last month finally laid all of the conspiracy theories to rest. It is revealed that The Joker did in fact die at the end of Arkham City. However, the clown prince accompanies Batman throughout most of the game in the form of a hallucination, which was pretty much the highlight of the narrative.
It may seem weird to mourn the death of a villain, but it’s hard to not miss such a deep, well written, and iconic character.
RIP the clown prince of crime, and the greatest villain of all time, The Joker.