Batman: Arkham City's shocking ending dissected

Rocksteady explains why it broke Batman taboos

If you've yet to complete Batman: Arkham City, switch off your monitor, take exactly 10 steps back from your computer and put a towel over your head. Do it. Your children will thank you. Speaking to Xbox World 360 (via CVG) game director Sefton Hill has detailed the thought process behind the game's memorable, controversial ending.

We'll give you a few seconds to clear out, noobs. Still here? Finished Arkham City, have you? Absolutely sure about that? Entirely positively completely confident you've gobbled up every last crumb of storyline? Right.


As you'll know (last warning), the game concludes with both Joker's death and the death of Clayface, who's been impersonating Joker in order to trick Batman. This was something Rocksteady "decided fairly early on".

"Batman is very much about the story, so we discuss the story early," Hill explained. "Right at the start we sat down and thought what story we wanted to tell. We knew we had Joker starting off sick from the previous game and we wanted to play on that idea.

"Pretty early on we hit on this idea of Joker poisoning Batman and the two of them having this kind of shared goal, but with diametrically opposed world views. We felt that gave a lot of opportunity to interact in interesting ways, and I guess then we sort of knew that we wanted that story to have resonance in the universe."

Sparing Batman's painted arch-nemesis after leading him to the noose would have been cheap, Hill went on.

"You invest time in a game and this story, and you want to feel like the universe is affected by the events you play. We didn't want it to feel hollow - Joker starts off poisoned, Batman gets poisoned, where does that story go?

"We knew people would be thinking: 'obviously they're not going to kill Batman or Joker, right?' We felt killing Joker was a really striking end. It was almost taboo, like it was something we could never do. That would be interesting."

And Clayface? "The idea of the two Jokers was something we hit upon early. If you play through the game again, you can see a ton of hints that the end is going to happen. Lots of people talking in the street talking about that as you play through. At some point we'll release a video of all the hints, or something."

What's your take on Arkham City's ending? We scored the game a 9/10, commenting that it lacks the tightness of Arkham Asylum's story but compensates through sheer quantities of things to do.

Rocksteady writer Paul Dini wouldn't mind doing a Superman, Captain Marvel or Green Lantern game next.

Do give the full Xbox World 360 interview a whirl. They have their moments, those chaps.