UPDATE: Batgirl’s identity in the upcoming Arkham Knight DLC has been confirmed! From Rocksteady Studios lead game designer:
As a few of you have asked about the DLC, "who is Batgirl?" I can confirm it is indeed Barbara Gordon.
— Sefton Hill (@Seftonhill) May 5, 2015
Great news to all my fellow Babs Gordon fans: Batman: Arkham Knight will be releasing multiple DLC packs, including a chapter featuring a playable Batgirl! We’ve been waiting a long time to play as Batgirl in a game of this quality–even if it is in a small chapter–so I’m still holding out hope for an Arkham Trilogy-caliber standalone game starring Barbara herself. Regardless, this is easily the next best thing. The Catwoman missions in the chronologically-previous game, Arkham City, were a very welcome addition to the series, introducing us to a new set of skills and a swifter fighting style. Adding Batgirl to the roster of playable characters will bring, I assume, a combination of Bruce and Selina’s fighting styles. She’ll likely most of the same gadgetry as her mentor, and her lithe frame and Babs’ character history of gymnastic training will make her a formidable (and graceful) fighter.
Also, the design looks awesome! Take a look at the official render, revealed over at Warner Bros. Games:
As you can see, it’s a very faithful recreation of Batgirl’s cowl and costume from her New 52 reintroduction by artist Ed Benes and writer Gail Simone. The same costume was also the basis for an appearance (again via DLC) in 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, but like all of the rest of the costumes in that game, it was … amped up, shall we say? There sure were a lot of armored shoulder pads in that game. The rain in the scene above has clearly darkened her hair, which is the reason for the speculation that the identity of Batgirl in this game was either Barbara or the second Batgirl of the modern age, Cassandra Cain.
So far, the only details we have about Arkham Knight’s Batgirl-centered DLC is the following:
Batgirl: A Matter of Family
An all new prequel story expansion in an entirely new location where you play as Batgirl for the very first time in the Arkham series
Since all we have to go on is that it’s prefaced as a “prequel story” and we now know that it’s Commisioner Gordon’s daughter under the cowl, we can safely assume that the “prequel” in the case means prequel to the entire trilogy. Barbara Gordon’s post-Batgirl reign as wheelchair-bound Oracle has been established in the series since the first game. I would say it’s fair to speculate that the title “A Matter of Family” seems eerily aligned with the infamous “Killing Joke” comic book storyline that draws equally as much ire as it does praise in the mythology of Batgirl.
Challenge maps and character skins are appearing just as they have in previous installations. We know that Batman, Catwoman, Robin & Nighwing are getting an assortment of costumes just as they did in the Arkham City DLC, so hopefully we’ll get a few costume changes for Babs as well. Here’s a full rundown on the rest of the DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight –
The Season of Infamy
Play as Batman in all new story missions featuring legendary super-villains invading Gotham City, with new story arcs, missions and gameplay features.
Gotham City Stories
Play as Batman’s key allies in narrative missions extending their storylines, from both before and after the events in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Legendary Batmobiles with Themed Tracks
Drive the most iconic Batmobiles from Batman’s 75-year history, on custom-built race tracks, each themed to that Batmobile’s specific era. Every Batmobile will be drivable across every race track.
Crimefighter Challenge Maps
Engage in a series of new challenge maps utilizing the unique play styles of Batman and his allies.
A variety of skins from across the eras for Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman.
From the sound of it, the Trilogy is ending with a bang. The Arkham games have always been solid examples of how to handle paid DLC. The expansions have always been welcome bonus content that extend an already-finished game. These days, there exist developers who like to chop up core parts of games and then make them available as paid content to extend their profit margins. Not the Arkham Trilogy games, though. Yes, $40 is steep for any DLC season pass, but this is more content than your average digital drop. Once a player has barreled through the campaign, these additional beefy missions and challenges will help extend the life of the game over the coming months.
News of Batgirl’s solo mission in Arkham Knight is especially welcome on the heels of DC’s announcement of the forthcoming “DC Super Hero Girls” initiative. It’s a targeted campaign that will include Mattel as a partner in action figures and LEGO as a partner in construction play sets, as well as a variety of television and direct-to-video specials. While “DC Super Hero Girls” will be aimed at a younger audience, it’s important to extend content like this DLC to the adult consumer market, where overall media representation of female super heroes is still underserved. Now, if we can somehow manage to get a digital representation or a WB Animation feature of the current Batgirl of Burnside aesthetic by Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, and Brenden Fletcher I will be one happy camper!
Image: Warner Bros. Games
How excited are you for Batgirl’s inclusion as a playable character!? Let us know below, or nerd out with me (@rvwalkerregrets) on Twitter!