How Did The 2005 Batman Begins Game Pave A Path For Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham Series?

How Batman Begins Foreshadowed the Arkhamverse.

Batman Begins Dialogue Scene
Batman Begins Dialogue Scene

All of us are familiar with Batman Arkham Asylum, the very first installment that gave birth to one of the highly regarded and praised superhero video game series “Batman Arkham.” From engaging combat mechanisms to a unique narrative, every element in the Arkham Series is just phenomenal.

If Batman Arkham Asylum had not been released in 2009, I don’t believe anyone would have imagined witnessing such a comic-accurate superhero game in the late 2000s.

In addition, I believe the major credit for such a massive growth of ArkhamVerse goes to the leap of faith taken by the writer Paul Dini, who dared to craft an extraordinary narrative while remaining faithful to DC’s source material. Moreover, it was Kevin Conroy’s, Mark Hamill’s, and Arleen Sorkin’s voice acting that managed to grab the attention of many gamers.

Personally, Conroy being Batman’s embodiment and Hamill bringing the aspect of menace in Joker was something enough to give everyone goosebumps. Such dedication from every team member involved in the Arkham Series made Rocksteady heavily capitalize on the game that previous DC games failed to do.

Batman Begins Dialogue Scene
Batman Begins Dialogue Scene

Batman Arkham Asylum initiated this successful franchise, and Arkham City, Arkham Origins, and Arkham Knight followed in its footsteps. Batman Arkham City remained the most popular game in the franchise and introduced many iconic and frightening villains, such as The Joker, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Scarecrow, Deathstroke, and more.

Despite being a great franchise, the 2015 story closure Batman Arkham Knight received an underwhelming response as compared to its prequels, which, in my opinion, was due to several reasons: non-involvement of the series’ main writer, Paul Dini, weak story, and no boss fights.

I found the game to be heavily milked with Joker’s character and continuous dependence on Batmobile to complete several missions, which angered me into not proceeding with the side-missions after completing the game’s primary story campaign. Regardless of downgrading, the series has managed to maintain its popularity among fans even in 2024.

But many people need to learn about another third-person Batman game. As I see it, the game paved the way for Arkham Universe to emerge and become the biggest superhero game franchise that it is today.

Batman Begins 2005

Having been introduced to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, I immediately developed a deep admiration for the character of Batman. The cherry on top came when I got to play the Batman Begins game.

Batman Begins is a stealth action-adventure game based on its cinematic counterpart of the same name. Developed and published by Eurocom and EA Games, respectively, the game was released one month after the release of the movie on Sony’s iconic console: PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Game Cube.

The game combined the beat’em up and stealth elements, which amazed me at the time of release. The stealth gameplay evoked my memories of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series and Prince of Persia. Besides combat, the game gave players access to several of Batman’s gadgets, such as Batrang, Smoke Grenades, and Flashbangs.

Combat in Batman Begins
Combat in Batman Begins

Furthermore, the game had a unique gadget, HF Transponder (also featured in the original film), which summoned bats to gather around enemies and incapacitate them with fear. In stealth sections, the player can manipulate the environment and create diversions like explosions or dropping crates that subsequently frighten the enemies, making it easier to capture them.

Other than the stealth element, the developers included various racing segments where players can drive the Batmobile. Since the game was canon to the movie and all of the cast returned to voice for it, it featured over 20 footage from the movie as cutscenes.

Batman Begins Vs. Batman Arkham Series

I, or any other fan who has played both series, conclude that both the games are very similar. The EA’s 2005 Batman Begins game laid the groundwork for Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series by initiating innovative gameplay and narrative elements that later became the defining features of Batman Arkham games.

Batman Begins Batmobile
Batman Begins Batmobile

The instilling of stealth elements, fear being one of the major gameplay mechanics, and the incorporation of driving Batmobile; all of these features from the 2005 game have been polished to be integrated into the Batman Arkham series.

Additionally, as I see it, the loyalty to the movie’s script and the immersive storytelling in Batman Begins showcased the possibility of creating an authentic and captivating Batman experience that inspired Rocksteady to experiment and explore these concepts in the Arkhamverse.

My Take

Both the games share the same mechanics except for the absence of the open-world free roaming in Batman Begins due to a limited budget. Batman Begins has remained a highly underrated game since its release. It did not receive the praise it deserved as it came up with something extraordinary, which was new for most people at that time.

Sadly, the sequel to this game was canceled; otherwise, who knows if the sequel had come into existence, the gamers would have gotten to witness something different.

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