Weeks ago Bat-Fans were told to 'save the date' of New Year's 2014 for an announcement to the next expansion of the Batman: Arkham prequel game, Batman: Arkham Origins following the release of the Initiation DLC. That day is here, and as promised there has been a significant reveal.
With the events of Batman: Arkham Origins taking place over an extremely busy Christmas Eve in Gotham City during Batman's second year under the cowl, this tease clearly pointed to an expansion of the core game. A change from the Initiation challenge pack's “pre-prequel” exploration of Bruce Wayne's combat training, the hereunto untitled new expansion will take place a week after the end of Batman: Arkham Origins on New Years Eve, according to the tweet sent out from the official Batman: Arkham Twitter account which included the image of an invitation to the Humanitarian of the Year awards presentation at Wayne Manor.
While the events of the core game and the happenstance of the date first created speculation that the DLC would feature Calendar Man, enterprising Bat-Fans were able to make a connection between the “Humanitarian of the Year” award and a couple pieces of lore from both the Batman: Arkham universe and events shown in the early days of the DC Animated Universe, namely the landmark Batman: The Animated Series episode “Heart of Ice.”
Both franchises note that the origins of the classic Batman foe Mr. Freeze involve the machinations of the CEO of Gothcorp, a man who puts up a front of being a great humanitarian to hide his cruel business practices. One such move led to the transformation of the heart-broken cryogenic scientist Victor Fries into the literal and figurative being known as Mr. Freeze.
A powerful yet tragic figure, Mr. Freeze is a popular figure in Batman's rogue's gallery for his borderline anti-villainous behavior. He was forced to turn to crime to keep himself, as some iterations of his suit require diamonds to power the life support system, and his dying, cryogenically-preserved wife, alive. His popularity expanded again after featuring in a game-stealing epic boss fight when he was 'last' seen in during the events depicted in Batman: Arkham City.
To put all doubts to rest, the New Year Day reveal of the “Humanitarian of the Year” trophy on a podium surrounded by ice crystals seems to end any speculation as to the villain of the piece.
While such practical information like the date of the DLC's release or the cost has yet to be revealed, a couple of interesting items can be drawn from the images. First it appears that Mr. Freeze's attack comes at the “Humanitarian of the Year” gala, meaning some or all of the DLC will take place inside (stately) Wayne Manor. The developers have the opportunity to present a couple of key locations inside the Manor that loom large in the Batman mythos, including the hidden entry into the Batcave (the clock, maybe?), the 'wall of windows' that a single bat crashed through at a key moment during Bruce Wayne's contemplation on how to enact his plan to fight crime (presented dramatically in Batman: Year One) and the large painting of Bruce Wayne's parents that has been the recipient of many an anguished monologue.
Finally as what is clearly a nice touch and an indication that the developers of Batman: Arkham Origins are fans of the lore as well, the trophy features what looks like a diamond crafted into the shape of a heart: a literal Heart of Ice.