Warner Bros. Announces ‘Gotham City Impostors,’ a First-Person Shooter Based on Batman. Really.
No, you did not misread that headline. As reported by both Joystiq and Kotaku, Warner Bros. Interactive is developing Gotham City Impostors, a multiplayer first-person shooter set in Batman's hometown where players will take on characters "inspired by" Batman and the Joker and shoot each other.
One more time for those of you in the back: Characters inspired by Batman, a super-hero who famously does not use a gun, in a first-person shooter. This is a thing that is happening.
Of course, as the developers are quick to point out, these characters aren't Batman -- or the Joker for that matter -- and are instead the "Impostors" of the game's title. Players will be able to customize characters as members of two gangs -- the Bats and the Jokerz -- and then they will be the ones tearing up Gotham City and presumably racking up achievements for headshots.
This follows the trend set by DC Universe Online of having a game with Batman where you don't actually play as Batman, but in all fairness, there is a precedent for it. The Jokerz, for instance, were minor but recurring villains on the animated Batman Beyond, where they carried on the arch-criminal's murderous legacy:
As for Batman, there have been several stories about Batman inspiring bothother heroes and more violent gangs in Gotham City that could be drawn on for use in a first-person shooter, like the Sons of the Bat from Dark Knight Returns, who have a history of using guns to fight their enemies. Well, until this happens:
More recently, though, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight showed a group of ordinary citizens inspired by Batman to fight against crime themselves, and I have to admit: If there's a "Game Over" screen in this thing where Batman shows up to berate you for wearing hockey pads, then son, you just got yourself a sale.
Also, I have to admit that I'm a little surprised that they didn't go with the one character who lives in Gotham City that shoots people all the time: Tommy Monaghan, alias Hitman:
Created by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, Tommy Monaghan seems tailor made for a first-person shooter set in the DC Universe. He has a storied history of insanely over-the-top violence, a set of super-powers (including X-Ray vision) that could make for some interesting mechanics and a supporting cast that's full of memorable characters with great lines that could easily be lifted to a game. Plus, the very first story arc of his comic is being sent into Arkham Asylum to assassinate the Joker. Folks, it does not get more Gotham City than that. You could even throw in Wild Dog and Green Arrow for bonus killin' fun!
Of course, Hitman doesn't have Batman's name recognition, but then again, neither did Blade before Wesley Snipes put on his leather trenchcoat and told us all that he wasn't doing this for the March of Dimes.
Either way, Batman seems like a pretty illogical character to be featured in a game where people kill each other with shotguns and AK-47s, but with only the announcement and a single piece of promotional art, there's certainly still time for someone, somewhere to make sense of it. Personally, I hope the whole Batman angle gets scrapped and they release "Impostors" as an FPS starring Elvis Costello and his band.