There seems to be a constant demand for Batman- related, adjacent, and inspired media. Games like the Batman: Arkham trilogy are heralded for their quality and take on the Dark Knight. People savor things like Batman: The Telltale Series and Batman: Arkham VR for their unique takes on the stories and less combat-oriented elements of Batman’s life. There is a demand for Injustice: Gods Among Us games, because there are these awesome team-ups. And now, fervor is even more frenzied due to rumors about new games. Why? What gets people so hyped up?
A part of it is the idealized lifestyle Batman gets to lead. This is a man who, at first glance, has it all. He is rich, attractive, healthy, and in shape. He has a successful company, a mansion, a butler, an adopted son in some adaptations, and in other portrayals is a socialite with attractive women of varying degrees of famousness fawning over him. He doesn’t even have to work, unless he wants to. This is essentially the dream of most people. To have the sort of financial security where you are safe and sound is a big deal. To also have the luxury of some degree of notoriety is something else many might want. He is the sort of person many aspire to be.
But then, there is the glamorous side. Batman does not just have financial power and social power, with his daily life as Bruce Wayne. He has physical power. He can dole out justice. He is above the law as a vigilante who works alongside the police in a wink-nod sort of way. Best of all, he does it without having supernatural powers like Superman or The Flash. He is an ordinary human, just like us. Maybe he’s a bit smarter, sure. And his lifestyle has afforded him the opportunity to carry out a fitness regimen we can’t afford. But he uses part of his fortune to device gadgets, make suits, and create vehicles to help him make the world a better place. It allows us to think and pretend that maybe, just maybe, the Batman lifestyle could be doable.
The games make all this a reality. No matter what sort of Batman game we play, it is recreating some form of Bruce’s lifestyle. Something like Batman: The Telltale Series lets us go between his ordinary and superhero lifestyles, making good use of the unique properties of both. Batman: Arkham VR lets us focus on his mind, acting as a detective like he does. The Batman: Arkham games are a power fantasy, really putting us into his shoes. Injustice: Gods Among Us and Lego Batman let us be silly.
Now, onto the more recent rumor. According to thegww.com, a soft-reboot may be coming soon. The rumor suggests it will “…kick off a new, somewhat cohesive DC Game Universe. Shortly after it’s release this Fall, it will be followed up by a next-gen DC game from the creators of the Batman: Arkham franchise, Rocksteady Studios. The roadmap from there is foggy; sources have said that a next-gen Superman game (NOT ROCKSTEADY) is also in the works at WB, but nothing confirmed yet.” While COVID-19 has likely put this time-table into question, it shows the kind of hype that can come from even the slightest hint of Batman news.
Batman is an icon, because he is someone people imagine they might be. Maybe if circumstances were different. Maybe if things somehow worked out. As unrealistic as he is, he is still one of the more reasonable and plausible superheroes out there. Through games, we get a little closer to living his life.