The anxiously awaited Telltale Batman game has finally been available for just under a week now and the conversation has been divisive to say the least. Some players are beyond excited with the split storytelling and the impact the decisions you make have one both Batman as well as Bruce Wayne. Just about all Batman oriented video games have been just that, but the promise of exploring the duality of the character has been a long wanted change of pace. Other gamers have commented on the slight bugs, somewhat repetitive nature of the dialog, and what some are calling less than inspired art direction. Honestly, it is Telltale’s art style crossed with traditional comic books; everything it should have been. But, that is not the point here.
The real question buzzing around forums and comment sections is regarding the villain of this episodic adventure. Plenty of names and faces are dropped throughout the first episode leaving plenty of passages open. And much is the case for most comic book related materials. Though it seems early to truly speculate seeing as only twenty percent of the overall product has been released, but that is part of the fun for this style of game.
TO CHASE THE CAT
The first enemy thrown at you is Catwoman. Having remained her station as a thorn in Batman’s side as well as a love interest for Bruce himself, Catwoman seems much like an ever present, plot moving character. Though she has been involved with some of the major story arches of the Caped Crusader’s franchise, she tends to act more as a catalyst progressing the story through her continues game of cat and mouse with the bat. The chances that she is the center villain of the tale is slim to none, but her relation is undeniable.
THE WHITE ROSE IN GOTHAM
A more obvious choice for the central villain, given what the first episode has played out thus far, is Carmine Falcone. To be a little less specific, Falcone is more a representation of Gotham City’s street level underworld. Dealing with Falcone could open the door for behind the scenes entrance of Salvatore Maroni, another Gotham crime boss. From here, a series of further crime lords and the more street level enemies can spill into the streets of Gotham.
A NEW FACE FOR GOTHAM CITY
Another one of the Dark Knight’s most infamous and ever present enemies is the split decision crime lord Two Face. The summed up back story, in all of its varied iterations, is that district attorney Harvey Dent gets half of his face mangled and takes to enacting justice and fulfilling crime through the luck of fifty-fifty chance with a coin. It seems odd that Bruce would be so involved with aiding Harvey only for him to be a sinister evil all along, but with four more episodes left to come out, the possibility of changing tides is always a potential.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT FEAR IS
Potentially the most hidden possibility is the sadistic psychologist Johnathon Crane, also known as Scarecrow. This villain focuses on using a gaseous inhalant chemical that causes vivid hallucinations based on one’s own deepest and darkest fears. But, he was not mentioned in the game at all? Well, he personally was not, but the hallucinogenic neurotoxin from Ace Chemicals down by the dock is a strikingly similar description to that which Scarecrow uses frequently.
RULING GOTHAM FROM A SHADOWED PERCH
What appears to be the most likely central villain to Telltale’s Batman series is the newer, but ever popular, Court of Owls. The Court is essentially a group of Gotham’s wealthiest aristocratic families that have secretly been guiding the gears of the city since its founding. The name of episode one is Realm of Shadows, which can easily be concaved to reference Batman’s tendency to operate tucked in the shadows literally and figuratively. Taking this title a step further, it could easily mean that the actions in which Bruce Wayne and Batman are fulfilling is slowly forcing the Court of Owls to come out of hiding. The most direct reference to the Court’s existence in this games universe comes during an event that Bruce holds for the Dent campaign in which Regina Zellerbach, chairmen of Wayne Enterprises and member of wealthy family, says, “old families like ours should flock together, like birds.” Subtle if you do not know about the Court of Owls, but glaringly obvious if you do.
All of this is purely speculation and theory crafting, but the proof is in the pudding. Each of these villains either appear directly of are referenced in the first episode alone. This is not to say that these are guaranteed to be anything more than Easter Eggs, but comic books and associated media using the material source have a reputation for dropping the slightest hints all along the first two acts and pulling the rug out from underneath you with a big reveal come act four. Until then, we can only patiently wait for the release of the following episodes and piece the puzzle together as we go.