That was fast. Less than four months after the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum – aka, the greatest superhero game ever made – a sequel has been officially announced. Even more exciting? The news came packaged with a surprisingly dense teaser trailer, meaning that rampant speculation and freeze-frame detective work can already begin.
Who are the villains? Where’s the setting? What’s the story? Clues to each of these questions are included in the video… you just need to know when to look. Watch below, then keep scrolling for our in-depth, secret-spilling analysis. And if you’ve got a theory of your own, make sure to let us know in the comments.
At the time, we said, “Batman has fought his arch nemesis a thousand times already, and there’s no reason their perverted power struggle couldn’t continue in a second entry… If you think repeating bosses is a stupid idea, let us introduce you to Mr. Ganon and Mr. Bowser.”
Sure enough, Joker and Harley Quinn are the only baddies we actually glimpse here. Actor Mark Hamill has even been brought back to provide the video’s only voice work: a trademark laugh and an unexpected cough.
What’s wrong with the Clown Prince? Study his appearance closely and you’ll notice that, in addition to the nasty hack, he’s also suffering from a missing tooth, sunken eyes, bubbling hives, varicose veins and the wrinkles of a 60 year-old chain smoker. Plus, his fancy suit is in patched tatters and his arm is attached to a blood bag from Gotham General Hospital.
Clearly, the poor guy is still withdrawing from his self-inflicted overdose of Titan serum at the end of the first game. Which means that, a) the sequel takes place shortly after the original, b) The Joker is feeling pretty bitter but c) he’s too weak to bother Batman all by himself. Cue the supporting cast…
We predicted, “Harvey Dent is always second. Once the Joker’s been checked off, there is no villain that fans clamor for more than the coin-tosser with dual personalities. Two-Face is simply too iconic, too important and too intrinsic not to include.”
Check out this poster image from Arkham Asylum 2’s official website. The costume may be Uncle Sam’s, but the individual in disguise is – without a doubt – Harvey Dent. One half of the suit is darker and dustier than the other. One side of the hat is damaged. One hand is not only scarred, but holding a very Two-Face-esque pistol. And although the face has been symbolically torn away, you can see that half of it is pinker than the other.
Now compare the poster to propaganda scattered about the first game. Like we said… no doubt. Two-Face is in.
We predicted, “In a supporting role, the Penguin would rule. Perhaps you’ll visit the villain to extract information, or blackmail him into assisting you take down a more dangerous foe. Whatever the reason, we’d kill to visit his Iceberg Lounge, so prominently advertised in the first game.”
And what’s this? The Iceberg Lounge in all its unmistakable glory!
The Penguin’s nightclub has obviously been through better days. While normally a glitzy and glamorous hotspot for rich Gotham socialites, the Lounge’s windows are now broken and boarded up. Blackgate prisoners have overrun the place, leading us to believe that it is a part of the new Arkham and that Batman will definitely be paying a visit. The Penguin is a posh businessman and not a deranged madman, though, so we’ll be interested to find out if he still resides within. He might remain out of loyalty… or because he’s trapped by the real lunatics.
Our earlier prediction: “We don’t have any solid evidence that Catwoman could appear in a Batman: Arkham Asylum 2. We do have solid evidence, however, that the games industry will do anything within its power to showcase a sexy female character in as ridiculously revealing a costume as possible.”
We still don’t have any solid evidence of Catwoman, but we do have a tantalizingly tiny clue. As the trailer’s camera passes by the Iceberg Lounge, watch the upper right corner very carefully. Notice the fire escape? Notice what just jumped onto that fire escape?
A black cat. Sure, could be a coincidence. Or, knowing how much attention the developers at Rocksteady pay to detail… not.