‘Batman: Arkham City’ Reveals Penguin, Talia and Solomon Grundy [Comic-Con]
Voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, writer Paul Dini and game director Sefton Hill took the stage at Comic-Con International in San Diego to talk about Batman: Arkham City, the painfully anticipated sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, itself the most critically acclaimed video game ever (according to Guinness Book of World Records). The panelists teased the crowd with new details of the game and announced new playable characters, including Talia, voiced by Castle and Quantum of Solace star Stana Katic as well as The Penguin and Solomon Grundy.As revealed in Thursday’s panel by Katic, game developer Paul Crocker, artist and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee and writer Paul Dini, Talia will be appearing in the prison city built to house Gotham’s most vile villains. Asked about her character, Katic referred to Talia as “a good girl with naughty habits,” but as for her specific role, it remains to be seen whether she’s an enemy of Batman’s or one of his allies, or whether her father will make an appearance in the game after his Easter Egg cameo in its predecessor.
A gameplay video shown to the crowd also revealed two more famous faces from Batman’s Rogues Gallery: The Penguin, sporting a voice like an aged Jason Statham and running a gladiatorial arena beneath the Iceberg Lounge, and the monstrous secret weapon he keeps chained in his basement, Solomon Grundy. Grundy was also shown to be huge compared to Batman, lending credence to the idea that the battles against the gigantic Titan monsters that made up the core of Arkham Asylum will be making a return.
There was also a brief mention of two other villains that will be making appearances in the game: The Reaper, said to have a focus on creating death-traps for Batman, and Calendar Man, who will operate on “date-based mechanics.” More hints to the cast and events of the game were given when Lee revealed the first wave of Arkham City action figures, which included Harley Quinn, a battle-damaged version of Robin, and Killer Croc, whose action figure served as an announcement of his return as well.
The panel also featured voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (The Joker), who reminisced about playing those characters for the past twenty years. In addition to voicing his support for Katic to play a live-action version of Talia, Hamill got a round of cheers from the crowd when he said that he had always wanted to do an audiobook of what many readers consider to be the definitive Joker story, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, but said that Arkham Asylum and Arkham City gave him the opportunity to play a darker, more violent version of the Joker than his role on the cartoons allowed.
Conroy surprised the audience by admitting that Batman wasn’t just the first voice acting role he’d ever gotten, but that it was the first one he’d ever auditioned for, and recounted stories of recording Batman: The Animated Series through a series of disasters that included earthquakes an the L.A. riots of 1992. According to Conroy, he was driving through Los Angeles on his way to record an episode, asking himself why he was the only car heading into the city when everyone else was leaving.
Katic drew a round of applause from the crowd when she gave her answer: “Because you’re Batman.”
Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City – five times larger than the game world in Batman: Arkham Asylum – and the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new, all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.
The game will be available beginning Oct. 18 in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.