Where Could Batman Go From Here?
A new Batman game is something we deserve, not something we need. Yes, Batman: Arkham Knight was just released but the Dark Knight's spirit lives on.
He has over 75 years of content and he transcends all forms of media. From books, comics and movies, Batman saves the day just about everywhere. He hasn't had the greatest track record with video games. Not until Rocksteady released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. That game blew away everyone's expectations and spawned two sequels: Arkham City and Arkham Knight. (Arkham Origins was more of a spin-off since it is made by a different developer.)
Rocksteady said that Arkham Knight is their last Batman game, but it's a good guess that another studio will take over. So, where does the caped crusader go from here?
One answer could be a smaller scale story. The three out of the four Arkham games see some sort of city-ending scenario that Batman has to stop. Yes, he's capable of handling those odds but he's still only a man. Heck, even the latest Batman movies see him saving the entire city of Gotham. Scott Snyder's latest Batman comic run also has him up against huge factions of bad guys and saving the city.
Again, Batman is more than capable at saving Gotham. But, huge scale battles are something Superman is more suited for. At the end of the day Batman is a crime fighter and a detective so a new game should explore more of those sides of him. The parts of the Arkham games that focused on solving mysteries really stood out. One part in particular in Arkham Origins has you piecing together an entire murder in an apartment. The next Batman game could be more of a murder mystery à la Heavy Rain. Arkham Asylum worked so well because it was such a self-contained story. Batman was taken on a conveyor belt of madness where as he progressed more into the asylum, he'd meet more iconic villains and unravel more of the story.
Batman: The Long Halloween was a fantastic comic run written by Tim Stale and Jeph Loeb. In it Batman tries to find a murderer who kills people on specific dates. A new Batman game could take this as an idea and formulate an original story. If a new developer wants to keep a new Batman game in the Arkham universe they could continue from where Arkham Origins left off, where he was a much younger Batman.
Another cue a new developer could take is from Scott Snyders first Batman storyline which was about the Court Of Owls. Without going to deep into any spoilers, the Court Of Owls is a group working in the shadows. Basically, think of the Patriots of the Metal Gear Solid series.
The Arkham games need a return to form. Having three games in a row that deal with Gotham being terrorized is one step closer to being stale. Going back to the more linear ways of Arkham Asylum would be welcome.
Or, if the rumored Justice League game is true, Batman could take a step down and simply just be the detective of the game. Superman could be the heavy hitter while Batman remains in the shadows helping.
Franchises try changing up their presentation all the time. Unless you're Call Of Duty, becoming stale is inevitable. The Resident Evil series went further and changed their whole genre. Batman doesn't need to go that far, he just needs to do what he does best: work from the shadows.