|Name:||Batman: Arkham; Arkhamverse|
|Creator:||Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Montréal|
|Date(s):||2009 - present|
|Medium:||PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
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Batman: Arkham is a series of action-adventure video game based on Batman media. The franchise consists of four main installments and an upcoming spin-off, along with four smaller titles for mobile devices, a virtual reality game, novelizations and tie-in comic books, and an animated film. The continuity established by the games is often referred to as the "Arkhamverse", and is part of the larger DC Multiverse.
The core of the Batman: Arkham series is comprised of Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), Batman: Arkham City (2011), Batman: Arkham Origins (2013), and Batman: Arkham Knight (2015), with the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (2022) being a spin-off set in the same continuity. Story-wise, Arkham Origins is chronologically the earliest part of the saga, set eight years before Arkham Asylum, while the chronological sequence of the rest of the games corresponds to their release order.
The games are a devoted adaption of the Batman comics mythos, while also generously incorporating elements from Batman: The Animated Series and the DC Animated Universe—including the contributions of veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, and iconic voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker—as well as the Nolanverse and the Burtonverse.
The Arkhamverse is largely self-contained within Gotham CIty and—compared to the rest of the DCU—contains mostly small-scale supernatural elements (magic, aliens, metahumans). There are no explicit mentions of the existence of a Justice League, though there are some passing references to Lex Luthor, Superman, and Oliver Queen.
- Batman (Bruce Wayne)
- Batgirl/Oracle (Barbara Gordon)
- James Gordon
- The Joker
- Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel)
- Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley)
- Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane)
- The Riddler (Edward Nashton)
- Clayface (Basil Karlo)
- Killer Croc (Waylon Jones)
- Victor Zsasz
- Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Nightwing (Dick Grayson)
- Robin (Tim Drake)
- The Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot)
- Two-Face (Harvey Dent)
- Calendar Man (Julian Day)
- Black Mask (Roman Sionis)
- Hush (Thomas Elliot)
- Amanda Waller
- Deathstroke (Slade Wilson)
- The Arkham Knight
- Lucius Fox
- Batman: Arkham Asylum – The Road to Arkham, 2009 comic
- Batman: Arkham City, 2011 interquel comic bridging the gap between Asylum and City
- Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, 2011 mobile game
- Batman: Arkham Unhinged, comic book miniseries following various villains before and during Arkham City, including Hugo Strange, TYGER security, and various Arkham inmates
- Batman: Arkham City: End Game, a six-issue digital comic set directly after the ending of City
- Batman: Arkham Origins, 2013 mobile game
- Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, 2013 mobile game
- Batman: Assault on Arkham, a 2014 direct-to-video animated film, the 20th entry of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies
- Batman: Arkham Knight, a 2015 prequel comic to the game of the same name
- Batman: Arkham Knight – Batgirl Begins, a promotional one-shot comic that was distributed for free at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015
- Batman: Arkham Knight – Genesis, a six-issue series depicting the origin of the Arkham Knight, written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Alisson Borges with Dexter Soy
- Batman: Arkham Knight, 2015 novelization by comic writer Marv Wolfman
- Batman: Arkham Knight: The Riddler's Gambit, prequel novel by Alex Irvine focusing on the Riddler
- Batman: Arkham Underworld, 2016 mobile game
- Batman: Arkham VR, 2016 VR game, set some weeks prior to the events of Arkham Knight
Reception and influence
The main games in the Batman Arkham series have been met with positive commercial success and widespread critical acclaim, with praise for their narratives, voice acting, world design, graphics, and gameplay systems and design, along with the faithfulness to the source material and cinematic-level quality interpretation of the Batman mythos. The games are regarded as one of the best media adaptations of Batman, have collectively sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and have been lauded for revitalizing and revolutionizing the superhero video game genre.
Arkham Asylum sold more than 9.4 million copies and held the Guinness World Record for Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever based on an average Metacritic score of 91.67, but was replaced by its sequel Arkham City in 2011. The game was praised as reaching to a darker side of Batman not seen in video games before. It was also acclaimed for its polished combat and stealth gameplay, as well as selection of gadgets at Batman's disposal and the extensive comic book lore and easter eggs planted all over the map of Arkham Asylum. Arkham Asylum also received positive feedback for its choice in voice actors, such as Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy as The Joker and Batman, respectively.
Arkham City is generally considered the pinnacle of the series, followed by Arkham Asylum as the game that started it all, then Arkham Knight as a solid installment, while Arkham Origins (developed by WB Games Montréal), though considered by many to have some solid story and boss battles, has the overall reputation of being weak and disappointing compared to the others.
Before Arkham Asylum, most AAA license titles were [promotional] movie tie-ins like the Harry Potter games, which adapted the movies rather than serve, like the Arkham games, as an adaptation of the license tailored to the video game medium. Since the success of the Arkham games, most licensed games are standalone games rather than explicit tie-ins to a then-popular movie. While some movie tie-ins do exist such as The Amazing Spider-Man, they are more or less relegated to mobile games, and with the most recent Spider-Man PS4 following Arkham’s approach in adapting the license to the game rather than make a movie tie-in. Most famously, where The Lord of the Rings had movie tie-in hack-and-slash licensed games, for The Hobbit, Monolith Studios made a game-centric adaptation of the licensed property, leading to the critically acclaimed Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Monolith explicitly cited Rocksteady as their inspiration noting that it raised the bar for adapting licensed properties by insisting that it work first and foremost by providing entertaining gameplay.
Community and meta
Arkhamverse fans seem to have something of a rivalry and overlap with fans of the 2018 Spider-Man game, both being phenomenally popular superhero games with record-breaking sales; this is part of the DC vs Marvel fandom rivalry.
In the years since Arkham Knight, Arkhamverse fans have reacted to the news of a new WB Games Montréal Batman game with anticipation for the continuation of the Arkhamverse, though some have had mixed feelings due to preferring Rocksteady as a developer. In 2020 and 2021, previews of the 2022 Gotham Knights video game have been met with mixed reaction among Arkhamverse fans—some are excited for another action role-playing game starring the Batfamily as playable characters; others have expressed disappointment that this game is separate from the Arkhamverse, and misgivings over the character designs and gameplay.
Many fans were unimpressed with the reveal of the Arkham Knight's true identity, feeling that the twist was abruptly introduced yet also easily foreseen by anyone with decent knowledge of Batman lore. However, the character's role has been well-received overall, and this high-profile appearance and his playable DLC contributed to his steady rise in popularity across Batman media during the 2010s.
- Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle (BatCat)
- Bruce Wayne/Talia al Ghul (BruTalia)
- Joker/Harley Quinn
- Bruce Wayne/The Joker (BatJokes)
- Tim Drake/Barbara Gordon — This canon pairing has been somewhat controversial due to Dick Grayson being Barbara Gordon's conventional love interest across other Batman media. In the Arkhamverse, Tim Drake has been aged up considerably, and in general Tim/Barbara only appears in Arkhamverse fan works as a background pairing.
- Jonathan Crane/Edward Nygma (Riddlecrow)
- Natural by Amaranth
- My Arkham Knight Cosplay! by jmweissman
Archives and communities
- Archive of Our Own (AO3): Batman: Arkham works
- FanFiction.Net (FFN): Batman: Arkham stories and crossovers
- Reddit: r/BatmanArkham
- Facebook: Batman ArkhamPosting
- TV Tropes
- Batman Arkham Videos
- Know Your Meme: This Game Really Makes You FEEL Like Batman
- "Batman: Arkham Asylum Awarded a Guinness World Record". CBR. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
- "Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Videogame". Guinness World Records. Retrieved May 24, 2015.