The Arkham franchise is a beacon of light for a series that hasn’t had the best history when it comes to video games. Batman games had been hit or miss over the years, until Arkham Asylum really turned things around in 2009 and became the first entry into one of the top franchises in gaming. However, it sounds like things could be coming to an end, if you take the word of the voice actor who plays Batman in the games, anyways.
Kevin Conroy recently commented on the possibility of future Batman games based in the Arkham world, and the news is bad for fans of the franchise:
“I can’t believe that they’re not going to do another one, but they’re not. Isn’t that amazing? They made literally billions of dollars on those games, but no, there’s no plan to do another one. Sorry.”
Kevin Conroy has been the voice of Batman in numerous games and shows, dating all the way back to 1990 in Batman: The Animated Series. He also handled the voice of Batman in all of the Arkham games, so it makes sense that he would know what he’s talking about when it comes to this.
2009 saw the surprise hit Arkham Asylum take gamers into a dark, gritty world that perfectly suited Batman and that we hadn’t really seen in previous games. This formula for success continued in 2011 when Warner Bros released Batman: Arkham City, and finally Arkham Knight in 2015.
In addition to those main entries, there were mobile versions of Arkham games, a VR version, remakes… overall, the series seemed as if it was printing money, and people aren’t tired of it yet, so it does seem odd that they would close the door on this one, unless there are plans for something new to take its place.
Fans had been anticipating a new entry this year or next, called Arkham Insurgency, but 2017 is quickly coming to an end, and if you take Kevin Conroy’s word for it, don’t hold your breath for another Arkham game.
Now, it’s possible that there is something in the works and Kevin just isn’t aware of it. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for a company to replace somebody and not let them know right away, but it would certainly be an odd choice in this case. It’s not common for a company to kill off one of their best selling franchises, especially after only a handful of titles, when people aren’t even sick of it yet. Maybe there are plans to tie the next iteration of the Batman game series in with the movies, maybe even using the same actor for both, and Kevin was out of the loop?
In any case, this is bad news for fans of the recent Batman games, but keep in mind that this hasn’t been confirmed by the studio or publisher themselves, and its possible that the actor in the game doesn’t know all of the big picture plans. Also, just because there aren’t currently any plans in the works for another Arkham game, that doesn’t mean there won’t ever be one.
There are still many, many popular Batman villains who haven’t been fully utilized in the Arkham games, if at all. In the rumored Batman: Arkham Insurgency, there was even talk of the Joker making a return to the series. This series is not perfect, there were missteps along the way and things that could still be improved on, but at the core it was a fun action game with great atmosphere, a huge cast of heroes and villains to draw from, fun battle mechanics, and an intriguing world.
Here’s a clip from Wizard World where Batman himself revealed that no new games were in the pipeline:
— Matt Sifford (@KAOTIC24) September 9, 2017
Overall, the reaction to this has been one of disappointment from fans. Some have said that the story is done and there’s no need to keep revisiting it, but the vast majority of people want more Arkham action.
It’s possible that the developers are just looking for some new challenges, and don’t want to keep treading similar paths, and we have to respect them for looking to do new things instead of milking the same cash cow, even if that cash cow results in the best super hero games we’ve ever played.
You can never say never, it’s always possible that they’ll circle back to Arkham, or some type of spiritual successor, down the road… or maybe their next project will be so great that we don’t even think twice about it.
One way or another, it’s a safe bet that there are going to be more Batman games in the future, even if they aren’t part of the Arkham universe. It leaves really big shoes to fill, so hopefully whichever studio picks up the Batman IP next is up to the challenge.