NYCC 2013: The Batman: Arkham Origins Panel Delved into Gameplay and the Roles of Batman and Joker
The Batman: Arkham Origins NYCC panel covered some interesting topics and made two new announcements; the first being the iOS and Android versions of the game and the second being the Electrocutioner’s inclusion as the last assassin. The overall panel also revealed some more information on gameplay mechanics courtesy of Creative Director Eric Holmes, as well as the VAs of Batman and Joker–Roger Graig Smith and Troy Baker respectively–discussing their own experiences with voicing the characters.
Eric Holmes was first asked how he balanced having proper Batman moments and scenes while still incorporating gameplay necessitates, and his response was that the main guideline was to build a game that felt close to the Arkham franchise.
In response to another question concerning Batman’s ability to acquire his defeated enemies’ weapons, he stated that it came from a desire to give the players a way to even the odds when backed into a corner. He adds later on that “new features [and] new gadgets all have to come from story.”
Holmes also speaks about the relationship between Batman and GCPD Captain James Gordon. It starts off as one of mistrust and animosity but the player can change it over the course of the game. He likens that journey the player goes through “fitting puzzle pieces together.”
Meanwhile Smith and Baker answered their own bevy of questions. When Baker was asked what he could bring to the Joker that was new, he replied “nothing.” Baker went on to elaborate on the contributions of past Joker actors (Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger) and how all he could possibly do is honor that legacy.
Roger Smith answered on a similar vein, naturally citing Kevin Conroy’s talent as the Batman VA. He did note that because Origins is a prequel, he and the other actors could “play around” with the roles.
All three gentlemen were questioned on the casting process for the voice actors. Holmes stated that they had to be very careful since these characters are much younger and “formative,” even going through a lot of reference material to make sure that they were being portrayed properly. He also made an interesting point concerning the different voices of Batman–how he talks to Alfred is different from how he speaks to criminals and to Gordon–as well as the gradual changes that result in his older self’s manner of speech.
Smith said that he “had to honor” the voice and lineage of Batman and had to voice him carefully. Baker went into a nostalgic trip about his love for Batman the Animated Series as a child and how he could “never imagine sitting here” today. According to him: “It’s not just a 37 year old man coming in to audition but a 12 year old kid too.”
Later on he does an amazing (and quite popular) recital of the Joker’s The Killing Joke Tunnel of Love monologue, which can be viewed below.
After that clip Smith even complimented Baker’s ability as a voice actor, for being able to channel such “an impossible character to wrangle” at a moment’s notice.
You can check out several clips from the panel posted below as well.