Bat-writer Paul Dini Offers In-Depth Insight on Arkham Franchise
Today, Joystiq posted a fantastic, in-depth interview with Batman writer Paul Dini and with the game’s lead narrative designer, Paul Crocker, about the upcoming sure-to-be-a-hit, Batman: Arkham City. Fans may know Dini in particular for his role in creating the absolute greatest interpretation of the Caped Crusader, Batman: The Animated Series, from the ‘90s.
As such, Dini’s regarded pretty highly within the comics-fan community. So it’s reassuring not only to know that his steady hand will be involved in the script of the game, but that he’s such a fan of the game himself.
The Joystiq article, written by Mike Schramm, quotes Dini marveling at how developer Rocksteady was able to capture the feel for Batman’s world. “It had a very English look to it, it was things like ‘Arkham Asylum’ put on a brass plate on a brick wall with ivy twisted around it,” Dini is quoted as saying. “They just got it. They knew what it was supposed to be and how it was supposed to look. The juxtaposition of the very modern Batman gadgets, and yet something that almost looks Victorian.”
The article also reveals that Warner Bros. was considering the production of an animated short to bridge the gap between the previous and forthcoming games, which would show the impetus for former-Arkham-Warden, now-Mayor Sharp to close off a section of Gotham City and allow the inmates to go wild: “We wanted to have a big event that would sort of play into people’s paranoia and fear that Sharp would use to say ‘this disaster has happened, let’s lockdown the city,’” said Dini in the article. Instead, DC is releasing a comic book prequel to the game, because “a comic book seemed to have the immediacy that we needed to set up the story.”
Dini also offers details on a proposed Mad Hatter portion of Arkham Asylum that would have definitely been a cool addition (though, I can see how it might’ve been overkill at that point):
“We thought that Arkham Island, if it was an old family estate, should have a maze and hedges and an area for children, and whatever that had rotten into in the present day would be where the Mad Hatter would be. To have sort of like an English garden party feel, and so we experimented with that.”
Other details the article offers are the fact that the relatively obscure villain, Hugo Strange, is pulling the puppet strings on the rest of the story—though, I have a feeling that Strange might himself be something of a red herring. There’s no way he’s epic enough to be the big baddie behind the whole thing.
Last, but not least, Dini describes what makes Batman work, and why the folks at Rocksteady have really got this figured out:
“I feel like it almost goes back to the stories for kids, fairy tales…It can be whimsical, you can have talking birds and animals and monsters but if the threat isn’t real, if the ogre isn’t going to kill the hero or the dragon isn’t deadly, the rest of the story isn’t going to work. It’s like the whimsy compels the story along until you get to that moment, to the big finale…And I’ve always felt that Batman’s world is sort of similar to that…You can have villains like the Penguin, who strut around in a tuxedo with an umbrella and Poison Ivy and all of the fantastic stuff she does, but unless there’s a bit of a human in there, and unless there’s a credible threat, then Batman himself doesn’t work.”
It’s nice to know that the Batman franchise is in good Bathands.