Batman has repeatedly proven to be a great brand to adapt into video games. Productions like the Arkham franchise and the Batman Telltale Series have sold millions of copies, and have generally earned glowing reviews. Despite this success though, the argument can be made that we haven’t seen a great deal of variety in Batman gaming. Save for in the ensemble fighting games of the Injustice series (and a few casino titles), the Dark Knight hasn’t been utilized too much in modern gaming beyond the core franchises already mentioned.
If this were to change though, and if studios were willing to step out of their comfort zones with the character, there are many different types of games that could take advantage of the character’s mythos and media adaptations. To expand on this notion, here are some specific ideas we’d love to see, and which would almost certainly be bound for success.
Square Enix’s Go series of games use visually appealing, diorama-like settings wherein you make decisions to move a popular character along a grid in order to eliminate enemies while remaining undetected. Along the way, you might throw an object to distract a guard, go back a step to let a villain finish their rounds, or avoid returning to spaces that might crumble under the weight. The games have been very successful, with individual installments having adapted hit franchises like Hitman and Tomb Raider essentially as mobile puzzles. This could easily work for Batman as well, particularly given that the character is known for stealth and gadget usage. A “Batman Go” game could follow the same mechanics of the existing titles, with the caped crusader attempting to incapacitate enemies while lurking in the shadows. On top of that, the game could take advantage of popular locations from the comics and movies that players would love to explore –– like Arkham Asylum and the Gotham City Police Department.
The Batman Slot
As we briefly alluded to above, Batman has been successfully adapted to online slots already, with developers having used licensed material from classic movies and TV shows to liven up the reels. Probably the best such game in the category is The Dark Knight. This slot machine offers an engaging experience for devoted fans of the movie, making use of a variety of characters and props relevant to the plot –– from the mob accountant Lau, to the “I believe in Harvey Dent” pin. The extraordinary film score by Hans Zimmer can be heard during gameplay as well, together with memorable quotes and shots which are released every time the player achieves a big win. All in all it’s an effective game, and basically one we’d like to see more of! Essentially, a fresh version of this concept built around the latest film –– The Batman –– would be a treat for fans of Batman gaming. The dark aesthetic would make for a nice twist in the slot category, and Michael Giacchino’s haunting score would play as excellent background.
This is another style of online casino game that blurs the lines between slot machines and digital bingo. Players spin slots in order to turn up numbers and symbols matching their bingo cards, seeking to complete rows in order to unlock prizes. Slingo is not new, but it is being brought into the mainstream largely via the Slingo section at Foxy Bingo, where we can already see a number of titles building on the success of modern slots. Slingo Starburst and Slingo Rainbow Riches, for instance, are directly building on major slot games. Furthermore, a Slingo game based on the show Friends shows that there’s potential for franchise adaptation in this space as well. For these reasons, we’d love to see a Batman Slingo game, either based on an existing slot or built anew. The game could even take advantage of the fact that rounds of Slingo are timed –– perhaps by adding a classic villain trap, with Batman thwarting the Riddler or the Joker only if the player earns adequate prizes in time.
Batman Fighting Game
Batman may have been featured in recent game franchises like Injustice or Multiversus, but he hasn’t had his own fighting game since the beat-em-up Batman Forever –– a 1996 arcade game that a Retrovolve review called “an astonishingly bad take.” So needless to say, an update would be nice! A modern fighting game revolving around assorted Batman characters, could take advantage of improved graphics and even better physics engines in games to provide a more realistic experience. We could visit various locations from recent films and battle through them with all of the combat moves we’ve seen recent iterations of Batman master (rather than just the standard kicks and punches). It would be particularly interesting if such a game even allowed players to take the roles of different specific versions of Batman from cinema and comics.
Turn-Based Batman Combat
As one of the most popular franchises in video game history, Firaxis’s XCom has managed to transform turn-based single-player combat into a highly complex but engaging mechanic. And now, the same studio is developing Midnight Suns, a Marvel title based on XCom’s gameplay style, but adding a more complex melee aspect to battles. This foray into the superman space for the genre naturally makes us wonder if a similar approach could work for Batman –– with the Caped Crusader and his allies facing multiple enemies that must be stopped one by one. The game could also use the “cover” element of the XCom series, allowing players to use the surroundings to their advantage and remain hidden to prevent alerting more enemies –– an ideal concept for a Batman game if ever there was one.
Batman has represented a near guarantee of success for decades now. Several of DC’s most successful comics have Batman (or Dark Knight) in their titles, and Warner Bros. has produced one blockbuster film series after another based on the character. Success in gaming has been a trend of late also, but as stated it has lacked some variety. The introduction of games like these –– from mobile puzzles, to slot and Slingo titles, to action editions –– would solve that problem, and thrill legions of Batman fans.