With Batman: Arkham Origins coming out in October, the demand for good superhero video games continues to rise. And while Marvel continues to make good movies but crappy games, DC should capitalize on the success of Batman’s Arkham series and focus on the members of his ‘Bat-family’. The most obvious (and probably easiest) choice for that would be Dick Grayson aka Nightwing, the first Boy Wonder. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking “What about Robin or Catwoman?” Those are all good choices, but there are two major obstacles that very difficult. First, those characters are all SUPPORTING characters of Batman. Yes, technically Nightwing falls into this category but part of his whole allure is that he strives to differentiate himself from Batman in any way he can, whether by adopting a different costume, leading a team, or even leaving Gotham. Which brings me to my second point: A Nightwing game could be in Blüdhaven. Based off the dialogue from Arkham City, Nightwing has made a small impression on the people of Gotham, and this seems like a good opportunity to show him in his first major time as a solo hero (sort of a Nightwing: Arkham Origins). This would expand the Arkham universe, give players a whole new game to enjoy, and expand the hero’s profile to casual gamers and comic readers alike.
When it comes to the Arkham series, the key phrase is “IF IT A’INT BROKE DON’T FIX IT.” Rocksteady Games has already laid down a great foundation when it comes to the game mechanics. A Nightwing video game (let’s call it NWVG for short) would still be an open world adventure game with stealth game tactics just like its predecessors. Arkham City’s challenge maps have already proven he can be crafted for such a game. The only thing I would add would be a few new gadgets; at the very least, give him something similar to the explosive gel and smoke pellets (a student of Batman MUST carry smoke for disappearing). I would also give him the updated detective vision. His vision mode in Arkham City was a nice touch in showing that he’s independent of Bruce’s money, but it took away from the gaming experience in my opinion. I say in the beginning of the game, have the Bat-clan send him the enhanced vision lenses as a gift for surviving a full year in Blüdhaven. Lastly, make his movement around the city more fluid. Clever PC gamers have already used mods of him for moving around Arkham City, but it looked stiff. Before being a hero and detective, Dick Grayson is an acrobat and his movements should reflect that.
The events of NWVG could be set 3-6 months after Batman: Arkham City. By this point, Nightwing has been spending at least 1-2 of those months helping out with the power vacuum going in Gotham since Joker’s death (another potential Arkham game). Now that he’s back in Blüdhaven, criminal mastermind Blockbuster could plan to get rid of the young hero once and for all. A plot similar to Arkham Origins can be done or create a whole new story (for writers, I nominate Chuck Dixon) that highlights the difference between Grayson and his mentor as both crimefighters and normal people. For a base of operations, developers should go the route of Batman: The Animated Series and have Grayson stay in a loft building. I know he’s the most social of the Bat-clan, but their job does require some level of privacy. The Forsyth Building, which was Robin’s base when he watched over Blüdhaven for a while, would be a good option.
In the span of his vigilante career, Nightwing fought as many criminals, if not more, than Batman himself. For a NWVG, characters from his comic series like Blockbuster, Double Dare, Lady Vic, Brutale and Shrike can be used while Batman-related villains Man-Bat, Deathstroke, Firefly, and Killer Croc (who he has fought on his own) can be included for a sense of familiarity with the previous games. Through his association with Batman, the Teen Titans, and the Outsiders, there’s almost no limit to the amount of villains a game like this game could have.
Though Nightwing usually works alone, he’s not afraid to surround himself with friends and allies. He could be aided by Oracle, who would remotely provide him with intelligence like in Arkham Asylum, and police captain Amy Rohrbach can work into the game the same way Comissioner Gordon did in previous titles. Minor characters like Bridget Clancy and Henry Hogan can have cameos in the game for the diehard fans like myself. Plus with Blüdhaven being so close to Gotham City, it’d be easy for Batman and/or Robin to appear on side missions for some old fashioned ‘Dynamic Duo’ action.
Let me know what you think about Nightwing getting his own game title. But first, listen to his theme music and tell me this doesn’t sound like video game intro music.