Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot is no madman, either. Before the Tim Burton-directed films, he wasn’t even physically deformed. The Penguin is nothing more than a short, fat and ugly businessman with a greed for money, a lack of morality and a fondness for umbrellas that double as weapons. We highly doubt he’d star as the main villain of an Arkham Asylum sequel… at least not until the developers got desperate for (fingers crossed) Arkham Asylum 3 and 4.
In a supporting role, though, he’d rule. Batman often allows Penguin to operate his criminal empire without interference because it provides crucial leads and contacts. 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 the recently opened Iceberg Lounge, so prominently advertised in the first game. It’s one of two Penguin mementos on the island… the only other character to get more than one is Two-Face. Tell you anything?
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 trust the developers of Arkham Asylum to treat Catwoman better than that, of course, but higher powers – those interested only in the bottom line – may force her inclusion.
Hold on. Didn’t we just beat this guy? Well, yeah… you didn’t actually expect him to stay beaten, though, did you? It’s the friggin’ Joker! 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. After watching The Dark Knight, don’t you wish you could see Heath Ledger’s performance in another film? After playing Arkham Asylum, don’t you wish you could hear Mark Hamill’s performance in another game? We’d happily push these other villains aside for a rematch with the Clown Prince of Crime.
And if you think repeating bosses is a stupid idea, let us introduce you to Mr. Ganon and Mr. Bowser.
Who shouldn't be in the sequel?
By the way, Robin is referenced in Arkham Asylum. If you go to the Visitor's Center after locking away Harley, the Joker will ask Batman how he punishes his employees. Then the punchline: "Or is that ridiculous outfit you make him wear punishment enough?"
What about the setting?
Regardless of villain, Batman: Arkham Asylum would not be Batman: Arkham Asylum without… well… Arkham Asylum. The original’s choice of setting is brilliant for three reasons. It’s creepy. It’s filled with villains. Most importantly, it’s contained. You may only visit a few areas during the game, but each is distinctive and packed with details. Open up all of Gotham City and that experience is lost.
A second visit to Arkham won’t work either, though; we’ve explored most of the island, and unlike BioShock’s Rapture, the developers can’t plausibly pretend that another huge, unseen section existed all along. So is a sequel even possible?
Yes! Here are a few environments that could work:
- An abandoned amusement park. Batman’s always battling villains on rundown roller coasters, or chasing them through cobwebbed funhouses. Gotham City clearly has at least one out-of-business carnival… possibly dozens. Like the asylum, this setting is bordered, manageably sized and packed with themed zones. The Joker is right at home here.
- Wayne Manor. The family estate is enormous, especially if you consider the modified caverns underneath and the potential wilderness surrounding. Get Bruce and Alfred out of town for a few weeks and let the vengeful Riddler redecorate. Their house would be as crazy as Arkham in no time.
- A closed city block. More urban landscapes are fine so long as they’re not open-world. With the right planning, a villain like Two-Face could claim an entire block (or two, or three) as his turf and dare Batman to evict him. Logical boundaries might be fallen buildings, rubble, electrified fences or docks. Speaking of which…
- No Man’s Land. In this year-long comic miniseries, Gotham is ravaged by an earthquake, quarantined by the U.S. government and abandoned by much of the population. Gangs and supervillains carve the metropolis into territories: Mr. Freeze, Zsasz, Poison Ivy, Bane, Scarecrow, Joker, Two-Face and even Lex Luthor all claim a piece of the pie. Batman would have to visit each area in turn, slowly but surely taking back his city. Ooh, we get chills just thinking about it!
Sep 04, 2009
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