Big news this week. A new Batman game called Arkham Knight was announced. This may sound a little silly, but I have had every Arkham game in my house for months but have yet to play any of them. I’m sure that I’ll enjoy playing them in a decade or so when I get around to them. The Arkham franchise created a new brand of Batman games and the gaming community loves it. But we’ve already had three games featuring our favorite billionaire and I’d think people are a bit tired of him. I am, and I haven’t even played the games. When there are so many great characters under the Batman umbrella, it’s a crime that only old Bruce has gotten the spotlight in his very own game. It’s time for someone else to step up and be our new hero.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Bruce Wayne. He’s one of the most popular superheroes for good reason. But there’s such a thing as too much. Look at the Batman media that we’ve had in the last few years. Obviously, there are there are all of the Arkham games. Then there are the Christopher Nolan Throat Cancer Batman films. And then add on the upcoming Batman/Superman movie, his two cartoons and several direct-to-video films. As much as I enjoy the majority of these, I’m a bit tired of seeing him get project after project and taking away screen time from other amazing characters who hardly get any love outside of their own comics. I think three video games is enough to last Bruce a good, long time. Considering how much work it takes to put together one of these games (when the company behind them actually cares), Rocksteady giving him another game pushes back the possibility of them doing a game on another hero back several years.
I don’t like this practice, but I know why they do this. Batman is one of the few heroes that is universally known. The little girl playing with Barbie knows Batman. Your dad beat up guys in high school for reading comics but I bet he bought a ticket to see The Dark Knight. Executives know that they can sell pretty much anything with Bruce Wayne and they know it will sell because the familiarity is already there. He’s safe. They don’t want to make games and movies for Plastic Man or Booster Gold or Vixen. Instead they just whore out Superman and Batman more than the fanfic community.
Dick Grayson is my favorite superhero, so of course he’s the first person that comes to mind when I think of someone to replace Batman. I even wrote an article a while back saying that he needed his own trilogy of video games, following his arc from Robin to Nightwing to Batman. His acrobatics would certainly be an interesting addition to the gameplay. It would be pretty awesome to play as Damien Wayne’s Robin, too. Thomas Wayne, Terry McGinnis, Jason Todd, the list goes on. I’d like to play a game with any of the names I just mentioned, but I think the next hero of a Batman game should be Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl.
Even put side by side with all the characters I mentioned before, I think that Batgirl comes out on top. She’s the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, so to keep her safe it was a necessity for her to become proficient in self-defense in multiple disciplines as she grew up. She also has an extraordinary intellect and even though she’s no Batman, she’s a very skilled detective. Developers would be able to build a good crime-solving gameplay around her. It would be really interesting to play as Barbara as she tries to balance her personal life, her Batgirl life and her relationship with her father. I also can’t think of a game where you play as a sidekick under the orders of a character more important to the game’s universe as a whole. I really hope this game gets made one day. Not only could we use more playable female protagonists, but we also need more heroes who aren’t Bruce Wayne.