The late Kevin Conroy, best known as the iconic voice of Batman in The Animated Series, did not seem to enjoy recording the Arkham games very much.
Conroy, who died in November 2022 at the age of 66, spoke about the process of recording the games on an old podcast interview that recently resurfaced through FandomWire (opens in new tab). Conroy said that the only recording process he'd known of was the one used for Batman: The Animated Series, where all of the actors gathered together in one studio to play off of each other while recording their lines.
"I didn't understand how unique it was until 20 years later when I started doing the Arkham games," Conroy said. "Because of the algorithms, and how they're constructed, they have to have each voice completely clean and in your own take. You do four hours a day alone, in a booth, in a vacuum, creating the character, keeping the character’s voice alive, and then creating the situation for each line. Then they want it three times, you know. ‘Give it to us angry! Oh, keep that anger and give it to us with a little irony! Oh, we love the anger and we love the irony, now just sweeten it with a little bit of love.’ By the time you get out of there you’re pulling out your hair and you’re going, ‘what the fuck do they want me to say!?’"
Conroy said the process would often have two four-hour recording sessions a day, separated by a lunch break, for a week at a time. He'd come back in as more of the game was written. For Arkham Knight, he said the process took two years, during which he recorded some 37,000 lines of dialog. (Conroy also laments that the devs never reused the grunts of pain and effort recorded for previous games.)
It does seem that Conroy had respect for the Arkham series in the end, remarking to the host, "They're incredible games, aren't they? They're just so beautiful."
Arkham developer Rocksteady is now working on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. That game will feature a posthumous performance from Kevin Conroy, as he provided the voice for the game's evil-infected Batman.
The Arkham games are near the top of our guide to the best superhero games.