Arkham Asylum and the Dark Knight – Why the Batman game and movie worked – Part 2
What Hollywood and what Nolan did, was what every Director and studio in Hollywood should learn from. They took the basics from a source, built a solid platform and with the rest, they took creative liberties and instead of remapping a comic book on the
big screen, they wrote a screenplay and added plot elements which worked in movies.
Rather than have Harvey Dent turn into Two Face by having acid thrown on him, which is how the District Attorney of Gotham City turned in the comic books, they brought in a love triangle between him, Batman and Rachel Dawson which messed with his mind until
the White Knight cracked. Oh and they had a room full of petrol and nice explosions too, which is mandatory in every movie.
The movie was story, character and action driven. It earned its own identity and it knew its limits as well, restricting itself to a limited number of characters and focusing on them. Not only that, but doing it well.
Instead of the video game following the same example, Batman: Arkham Asylum went the other way with it. Two Face was not in the game at all, instead they brought in a whole host of Batman’s worst enemies.
Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bane and The Joker all made the roster, something a movie could not hope to accomplish. Not only that, the game did each of the characters justice.
Why? Because the game knew what it was, a video game, something which could last much, much longer than the average two hour film. The length of the single player could be adjusted to make sure that each character had their time in the spotlight. This is
not a critique of the film, it took the time that it had and did justice to it by remaining focused.
While the movie focused on characters and emotions and the like, the video game had a sound plot of its own, with the Joker having sprung a trap in Arkham Asylum where all of Gotham’s most notorious inmates are kept.
Yet, from there on in the story became slightly generic, but no one noticed it, because the action in the game was so perfect. Another important point, a video game is a platform where players can be put through intense periods of action and still want more
by the end of it. In films the same formula would not be guaranteed to succeed.
The combat system in the game took it above the rest of the competition in the genre and the accurately recreated universe of Batman was so rich and immersive that players were hooked the second they walked the Joker through the asylum’s gates.
In the end, the answer is simple, the game and the movie both did well because they knew what they were, they knew what their strengths were, they both knew their unique limitations and they both knew what worked on their respective platform.
Rather than leech off each other or the comic books, they took inspiration from it and applied only what worked for them.
If Rocksteady can do the same for Batman: Arkham City and Nolan the same for The Dark Knight Rises, then everyone will finally have a model of how to make a video game and a film adaptation of the comic books we know and love and maybe, just maybe, be spared
from enduring another Batman & Robin.
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