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Hush May Be The Main Villain Of The Next Batman ‘Arkham’ Game

Hush, as rendered by Rocksteady

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

Okay. Breathe. We’ve got to get through this together. For those of you eagerly anticipating the next entry in Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham series (yes, Rocksteady and apparently not WB Games Montreal), this week brought an interesting rumor. Over at the fan Facebook page for Hush (which itself is pretty weird since it’s a new Facebook page for a story that ran in the comics 11 years ago), someone posted a picture of a decidedly video-gamey Hush a.k.a. Dr. Thomas Elliot with the news that things were “about to get more interesting next month.”

If that’s true (and as Arcade Sushi¬†argues, it very well might just be a rumor), it’ll be a mean feat since Hush was never interesting to begin with, but it looks like we might be on the verge of an announcement that after cameos in all three highly successful games, Hush is taking the center stage in the next installment. And, God help me, that might actually be a good idea.

Hush by Jim Lee, DC Comics

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve devoted plenty of time to helping people understand that despite its popularity, Hush the story and Hush the character are both genuinely terrible. The thing is, that’s only in the comics — Hush might actually work really well as a video game character, for the exact same reason that he doesn’t work in Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s original comic story.

Think about it: In the comic, Hush exists purely as a means to an end, and that end is just retreading a bunch of stuff that we’ve already seen before. Hush as a story is a Greatest Hits album by a cover band, throwing in a bunch of imagery like Batman and Ra’s al-Ghul having shirtless swordfights and Batman putting on a Kryptonite ring to punch Superman, stuff that we’ve seen before in better comics, just stripped of its original context and lumped together because people like familiarity. From a story standpoint, it’s a mess, rehashing big moments in a way that’s virtually meaningless, held together with a story that doesn’t work because the mystery at the heart of it, quite frankly, sucks. The thing is, that’s kind of what you want from a video game?

I mean, video game storytelling can be sophisticated and engaging, but when you’re dealing with a licensed character like Batman, the temptation from developers (and the expectation of fans) is always going to be built partially on recreating the feel of the comics. The stories in Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Origins are actually pretty terrible, but when the games succeed, it’s because they feel like Batman stories. It feels natural for Batman to drop down in to a group of 20 thugs and take them all out without breaking a sweat, and it feels natural for Batman to be hunted by a dozen assassins in a single night. Hush, for all his flaws as a comics character, lends himself really well to the kind of story that works perfectly in a video game, where players are expecting to battle against all the major villains to get to the heart of a “mystery.”

Maybe it’s just my cautious optimism talking, but it could work pretty well. Unless this means we’re getting more of Hush in the comics, in which case burn it all down.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Hush

[via Arcade Sushi]

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