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Rocksteady Studios' follow-up to Batman: Arkham City might not be a direct sequel. A new report suggests that they're going to create a prequel set long before the events of Arkham City and its predecessor Arkham Asylum.
Variety says that Rocksteady's next game is based on the Silver Age of DC Comics, which ran from the 1950s to the 1970s. Batman was a bit more social and teamed up regularly with other superheroes like Superman. He even becomes a founding member of the Justice League.
A game with the Justice League and other superheroes front and center seems like a prudent business decision by DC and Warner Bros. It puts them in a good position to make spin-offs of this game starring fellow do-gooders. Arkham Asylum and Arkham City really didn't have that potential.
Given the dark tone of Rocksteady's previous Batman games, I doubt Arkham 3 (or whatever it's called) will present a squeaky clean version of the Caped Crusader. The game's said to center around Batman's first brush with the Joker. While there's a chance he'll be a campy prankster of the early Silver Age, it feels just as likely he'll be the homocidal maniac of the 1970s. Or so I hope.
I'm not a huge fan of prequels but Rocksteady sort of painted themselves into a corner with Arkham City. Not to give anything away about that game's plot but: if Rocksteady wanted to continue using the Joker as a prominent character, they needed to wind back the clock. Plus, Mark Hamill said he wouldn't be voicing the Joker again so a different era seems necessary to make the change in voice actors less jarring.
Sadly, we'll have to wait awhile for this next game. Variety's report says it won't be out until 2014, which all but confirms it'll be released on the next generation of gaming consoles.