Game Informer's month of Batman: Arkham Origins coverage, looking in-depth at the just-announced prequel to the popular Arkham games, continues, now revealing Batman's new top foe. While The Joker ruled in Arkham Asylum and returned for a major arc in Arkham City, in Origins we're seeing a much deeper underworld. The man hiring the assassins to come kill this new hero Batman has been revealed as Black Mask.
There are two characters who have been known as Black Mask in the world of DC Comics. The first, Roman Sionis, is the one appearing in the game. As Sionis, he could have run in the same social circles as Bruce Wayne, but as he transformed himself to Black Mask in the literal blood of his parents, he became the underworld leader who would, at one point, unite Gotham's gangs and even kill a Robin (Stephanie Brown).
“We realize that Black Mask is not necessarily as prominent in people’s minds as some other classic Batman villains, so we realize we also need to do work to explain why he’s really cool and make him felt in the game,” creative director Eric Holmes told GI. “It’s not something people bring a lot of baggage to when you see the Black Mask, so we have to do the work to make him scary.”
As the head of Janus Cosmetics and the new Mob leader, Black Mask's "brutal and sadistic" nature from the comics will translate over to the game, promises Warner Montreal.
“His thing is torture. That is what gets his rocks off,” Holmes said. “And he’s really good at it.”
The setting of a full Gotham City was also expounded upon. The game is set in midwinter of "Year 2" of the Batman's crime-fighting career, with the Christmastime setting giving them "a beautiful thing in an ugly place," says Holmes. Gotham will be a much larger world than the previous games, and will also represent a world lost to time, much like Batman: The Animated Series. The locations fans remember in Arkham City will still be there - but as normal locations in the more than twice-as-large city. To navigate the three-tiered city, a fast travel by way of the Bat-plane will be offered for the first time, as well.
More on Batman: Arkham Origins will keep coming leading up to the October 25, 2013 release.