Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Working Robin into Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City is still months away from release and many burning questions will be speculated upon before it hit’s store shelves.  A recent interview on IGN confirmed that there will be no multiplayer in Batman: Arkham City. Many thought that Catwomen may even be a co-op companion…that still doesn’t entirely rule out a mode where you control Catwomen; i.e. like Joker was a playable character in the PS3 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.  

What I’m getting at is that there was allot of speculation that Batman: Arkham City would feature a co-style mode with Catwomen and Batman clearing the streets of Gotham. This idea began to stretch out though, and some thought Catwomen as a co-op partner was too farfetched. Instead many thought that Robin would finally make his appearance in the sequel to Arkham Asylum.

Even if Catwomen befriends Batman in certain parts of Batman: Arkham City’s singleplayer; she can’t take the place of Batman’s true partner, Robin.

Robin wasn’t even referenced in Batman: Arkham Asylum – to my personal dismay. Anyone who has read comics in the past decade or so knows that Robin is a much more integral part of who Batman is then feature films have given him credit for. The ’96 Batman & Robin movie turned the character of Robin into a joke; but there were far more problems with that movie then Chris O’Donnell’s stellar acting performance (obvious sarcasm.) Really as a kid I always liked Robin. Yes he was thrown into the Batman universe to appeal more to the child demographic in the early ‘40s Detective comic run. Yet still as time passed Dick Grayson—Robin—became a surrogate son to Bruce Wayne. Completely removing Robin from the Batman universe as if he never existed is neglectful to what Batman is all about; or what he has become since he accepted Robin as his partner.

Now I understand that the Batman universe that Chris Nolan has established with his current run of films may never feasibly be able to introduce Robin as a believable character; but that doesn’t mean that he should be absent from Batman: Arkham City or any Batman game for that matter.

I have some thoughts on how Robin could ultimately work in Batman: Arkham City. In order for Robin to work in the setting that Rocksteady Studios has established with Batman: Arkham Asylum some changes to Robin’s overall look need to be addressed.

First, the red color scheme has to go! Drab things up a bit on Robins costume; even emulate Batman’s traditional color scheme if need be.  Second, it has to be Dick Grayson. Sure Tim Drake has his own qualities that have turned Robin into more of a standalone character than even Dick Grayson did. Yet I don’t think Rocksteady wishes to interject a father and son relationship: which is what you would get with a young Robin, like Tim Drake. Instead Robin needs to be somewhat of a rival to Batman. As Batman is taking down criminals in one part of Gotham; Robin can be tackling foes in another. Let’s say what brings them together is the two of them end up having to cross paths in order to take down a mutual enemy: like Bane or Killer Croc. I’d go as far as to say that Robin should only make brief cameos in certain parts of the game. Say he only shows up 3 times or something. That way he doesn’t become too much of a distraction and other characters (which Batman: Arkham City has a ton of) have their own time in the spotlight. After all the game is called Batman: Arkham City…not Batman & Robin in Arkham City

Ditch this...
for this!

Okay so not everyone wants Robin--I understand the trepidation-- that brings me to a counter-point to the Robin addition—don’t even have Robin at all. Let me explain. Rocksteady has established that the Batman: Arkham Asylum game was in its own space and time in the Batman canon. So why not even have Nightwing instead of Robin. They could essential play the same role. Have Nightwing be someone who helps you throughout one or two boss fights or something similar in various parts of the singleplayer game. Really the only real difference between Nightwing and Robin is Dick Grayson’s age…that’s pretty much it; as an adult Dick Grayson as Nightwing tends to shun some of the methods in which Batman fights crime. 

I'll admit Nightwing looks a hell of a lot cooler than Robin

Hell, even have Robin show up…end then have him killed by the Joker or something! Well I’m not the biggest fan of the premise of Robin’s demise, it would introduce and interesting dynamic to the story. Now instead of Batman just trying to stop Joker, he has personal issues stemming from the loss of his young partner. A revenge sub-plot could be a good half-way point in the singleplayer story; well it’s not really a twist, per se; it still would spice things up towards the end of the game.

In the end, who knows whether Robin is, or isn’t in Batman: Arkham City—we are still months away from its release after all. I’d even like a co-op mode that was separate from the singleplayer: something similar to the Challenge rooms that were in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Whichever route Rocksteady Studios decides to take I have complete faith in what they have already shown with Batman: Arkham Asylum from two years ago. My thoughts are that Robin won’t derail what they have established already in their Batman world – it can only add to it. I mean we all ready have like 10 different characters or something in the game at this point…surely a mainstay character like Robin can be squeezed into the singleplayer someplace.


  1. Well, I think Tim Drake should be in Arkham City because he is the World's Second Best Detective, and that's only because of his age. In the comics Batman even said Tim was better than him. He doesn't have to the Red/Green or Red/Black color scheme as long as he doesn't have panties and pixie boots. And still, Nightwing can also be incorporated. I think Robin should be a playable character though.

  2. yeah, it would be incredibly off-putting if he showed up with the old pixie boots from the original Robin incarnation.