Coming into the E3 trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, it is important to note that this is it–the last game that Rocksteady intends on creating for Batman. Keep that sort of story’s end in mind as you watch the trailer, and some things might stand out just a little bit more.
It is certainly not much of a question that big ol’ Bruce usually has something of a scowl on. He’s generally some form of cranky, right? The image above is taken from the beginning of the trailer. Here, however, we see a Batman that seems to have a deep-seated anger in him. Not necessarily at the loss of his parents–no, this looks like he’s upset at something greater, something more all-encompassing. At this point in his career, we can also imagine that Batman is a bit tired. That much shows on his face, as he moves forward with the kind of tired anger you would expect out of the most jaded of elderly individuals. Complimenting that, his voice comes across as more gruff and more solemn than it has in previous games. The intensity in his voice isn’t as prominent anymore, and while it is no less angry, it is certainly more quiet. Right about now, Batman appears tired of all the endless trials he has had to endure. He deals with them, yes, but not necessarily as emblazoned by passion as he might have once been.
Next thing that stands out as you plunge into the 5-minute trailer is the city of Gotham. Batman: Arkham Knight features the largest, most expansive version of Gotham yet, roughly twenty times the size of Arkham Asylum and about five times the size of Arkham City. Surely much of this is to allow the Batmobile room to roam, but there’s something more here. As far as Rocksteady’s Arkham series is concerned, this is the end. This is the last time we will venture through Gotham. As such, the entirety of Gotham has become our battleground, no holds barred. Indeed, Arkham Knight is a final battle that needs to expand through the entirety of Gotham to be won.
It’s not much of a secret that Batman isn’t one for full-out weaponry. Gadgets here and there for assistance, but, for the most part, Batman does most of his work with his fists. For the first time in the series, Batman needs something more than that to bring down his enemies, something a little more explosive, if you will. This is important because it helps showcase just how large the threat in front of Batman and Gotham is. All signs so far point towards Rocksteady creating an epic finale befitting an epic series.
“Thermal imaging shows the Arkham Knight’s tanks are unmanned and controlled remotely. You’re clear to engage.” This is what Oracle reports to Batman as he puts the Batmobile into Battle mode. A fairly standard line of procedure, of course. But there is something of note in here that might be easily overlooked: “tanks are unmanned…,” “You’re clear to engage.” More simply stated, Batman is only really clear to engage with the Batmobile because there’s no true, human enemy he can harm with all the raw firepower that Battle Mode features. It begs the question: if there were humans in there, would Batman really have gone in with the Batmobile? Knowing such tank warfare might kill the enemy operators?