After the disappointment ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ (Warner Bros. Games Montreal 2013) was [and ↑Jaz is with me here, giving good reasons, why it was disappointing], Rocksteady Studios is at the helm again and ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ (Rocksteady 2015) is scheduled for release on 02 June 2015. After their glorious games ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ (2009) and ‘Batman: Arkham City’ (2011) I am absolutely convinced that Rocksteady will do it again. Just like The Creative Assembly just recently saved the Alien-franchise with the fantastic ‘Alien: Isolation’ (2014) after Gearbox Software nearly had ruined it with the godawful ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ (2013).
But I digress. What I really want to talk about, again, is the ever growing impact of what I call the ↵cyberpunk discourse—up to it hijacking other genres. For example the cyberpunk discourse infested the zombie genre [see ↵omega legend for that, and, more elaborated, including computer games, and just recently printed, Knorr 2014].
And there’s yet more hijacking.
Have you noticed that today’s two biggest superhero franchises from the two big comic book universes, Marvel and DC, are about superheroes without any superpowers whatsoever? Instead, both Iron Man and Batman heavily rely on technology. With Iron Man it’s obvious. His superhuman abilities are due to his exoskeleton armour. It’s all the suit as Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers (Chris Evans) ↑tried to point out to Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark (Robert Downey jr.) in ‘The Avengers’ (Whedon 2012):
Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?
Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Steve Rogers: I know guys with none of that worth ten of you. I’ve seen the footage. The only thing you really fight for is yourself. You’re not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.
Tony Stark: I think I would just cut the wire.
Steve Rogers: Always a way out … You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero.
Tony Stark: A hero? Like you? You’re a lab rat, Rogers. Everything special about you came out of a bottle!
Both their superhero personas are products of technology. And here’s yet more to it, too. To the list of what Tony Stark sees himself to be we could add ‘potential alcoholic’ and ‘troubled personality’ among other things. In a nutshell, despite of his armour’s fine design he’s not a streamlined hero, but a hardboiled character. So is Bruce ‘Batman’ Wayne. His deeply traumatized noir personality is drastically rendered in Christopher Nolan’s dark movie trilogy (2005, 2008, 2012) which truly made the franchise into what it now is [↵hugo strange gives a bit of further background].
But back from the depths of hardboiled film noir character psychology to the, equally deep-reaching, surfaces of design. Reviewing the until now available still and moving images from ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ gave me the impression that Batman gets ever more similar to Iron Man. Compare Batman’s new costume, a suit of armour really, to the ↑Iron Man Suit Mark VII designed by Phil Saunders and digitally sculpted by Josh Herman for ‘The Avengers’ movie:
Watch the ‘Arkham Knight’ announce trailer ‘↑Father to Son‘ and the gameplay trailer ‘↑Evening the Odds‘ to see more of the suit and its exoskeletal robotic qualities in operation. And to see the Batmobile. It really is the vehicle which drove cyberpunkish posthumanism ideas deep down into ‘Arkham Knight.’ Very revealing in this respect is what Dax Ginn, Brand Marketing Producer at Rocksteady Studios, ↑said at E3 2014:
And then bringing in the Batmobile at any time. You know, we wanted to make sure that the Batmobile feels like an extension of Batman‘s abilities, that augments Batman‘s abilities—but is only ever like a second away, a button-press away. You want to be driving, one button-press and it’s there, and you seamlessly transition into it. You want to get out of it, you just eject out at any time. So that kind of interplay between man and machine was really the heart and soul of the entire design of the game. (from 00:00:58 on | bold emphasis mine)