The Riddler to star as major villain in Batman: Arkham City

New screens reveal not only an expanded role for The Riddler, but a deranged and dangerous personality as well

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He%26rsquo;s not just a creepy, cocky, disembodied voice anymore. New Batman: Arkham City screens reveal that The Riddler, relegated to collectible taskmaster in the original game, will play a much larger %26ndash; and more visible %26ndash; role in this October%26rsquo;s sequel. Look, he%26rsquo;s got a face, a costume and even his own hideout!

Though The Riddler (aka Edward Nigma, aka E. Nigma) never appeared physically in Arkham Asylum, his quizzical presence and influence were everywhere %26ndash; from tiny green trophies and question mark graffiti to a complex network of environmental puzzles. His character gave developers at Rocksteady the perfect excuse to load their game with DC Comics trivia, plus an astonishing amount of fan service, so I%26rsquo;m excited to see if those aspects of the sequel will be expanded as well.

A few details you might miss if you%26rsquo;re not studying thesescreenshots at full-size:

%26bull; The Riddler%26rsquo;s surveillance station is located inside a Sionis Industries warehouse or factory %26ndash; you can see the logo on his dashboard controls. Previously, I%26rsquo;ve speculated that villain Black Mask, aka Roman Sionis, might show up based on how many of the game%26rsquo;s official images featured his name, but now it seems that The Riddler is just using his buildings as a makeshift headquarters. Or are they working together somehow?

%26bull; Guards are being bound, tortured and possibly killed on some of those television monitors. See the electrocution? The Riddler is more than arrogant in Arkham City%26hellip; he%26rsquo;s deranged and dangerous, using innocent victims as pawns in his mental showdown with Batman. Is this why The Oracle has gone missing, to be replaced on your earpiece by Alfred?

%26bull; With an unbuttoned collar and extremely loose tie, Edward Nigma isn%26rsquo;t as meticulously dressed as usual. Either the previous game%26rsquo;s defeat has truly sent him over the edge, or this shot of his frustrated face is taken later in the sequel, when the World%26rsquo;s Greatest Detective has worn him down with superior solution skills.

%26bull; Batman can hold people while ziplining now? Please let that ability extend to enemies, too!

%26bull; And finally, take a closer look at the concept painting of The Riddler below. Cool cane, but I%26rsquo;m talking about the statue %26ndash; it contains what appear to be working gears. I suspect these collectibles won%26rsquo;t be as simple to grab in Arkham City as they were in Arkham Asylum. Some may be booby-trapped.

UPDATE: Now that the first Riddler images have been revealed by Warner Bros. and Rocksteady, I%26rsquo;m finally free to tell you about the first Riddler video, which I was shown at GDC earlier this month. At the end of a half-hourgameplay demo, Batman spotted a billboard with the following words written in green spray paint:

%26ldquo;Turn on, tune in before someone checks out. 275.00 325.00.%26rdquo;

When he used his Batradio to track that frequency, the game faded into a short trailer, beginning in what can only be described as the inside of Edward Nigma%26rsquo;s brain. The camera zipped from one glowing question mark-shaped synapse to another as The Riddler repeated some of his overconfident lines from Arkham Asylum. Then we realize, through a few quick scenes, that The Riddler is no longer merely taunting%26hellip; he%26rsquo;s kidnapping prison guards and police officers, then leaving them in timed puzzle rooms full of gears, saws and blades. One particularly terrified hostage reminded me of Renee Montoya, Gotham PD%26rsquo;s most famous member after Commissioner Gordon.

By the end of the video, Riddler has transformed from arrogant to downright angry, practically spitting out his final words, %26ldquo;I%26rsquo;m better than you!%26rdquo; The stakes? They have been raised.

Mar 16, 2011


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