Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is out now for players who purchase the game’s more expensive edition which includes, among other perks, a few days of early access. That means some DC Comics fans are well on their way to weighing the merits of Rocksteady’s first post-Batman game, even as it’s still set in the Arkhamverse. But according to one early scene in the game, Rocksteady still doesn’t consider WB Montreal’s Batman: Arkham Origins to be part of that story universe.
Please note this story contains minor spoilers for Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League (and the Arkham series) past this point.
About an hour into the game, your ragtag group of playable villains will find themselves in The Batman Experience, an interactive exhibit set in the Metropolis History Museum dedicated to the Dark Knight himself. As the anti-heroes explore this space, you can activate a great number of displays that discuss Batman’s many heroic deeds, as well as his deep rogues gallery of defeated ne’er-do-wells. You can listen to Gotham reporter Jack Ryder’s voiceover as he puts into context each of the Big Bads shown throughout the exhibit.
But as you get to the end, you might notice that not one display seems to call back to 2013’s Arkham Origins, a prequel game developed by WB Montreal in between Rocksteady’s efforts, 2011’s Arkham City and 2015’s Arkham Knight. For years now, Rocksteady has consistently referred to its Arkham games as a trilogy that began with Arkham Asylum. These games are indeed Rocksteady’s trilogy of projects, but to call the Arkham series a trilogy seems to be plainly wrong. Is it meant to be hostile toward WB Montreal? Perhaps it’s actually respectful, suggesting the team doesn’t want to take credit for the game in which it was not involved. Or maybe it’s an order from the top, a talking point that Warner Bros. considers important for reasons not made public.
Whatever the case may be, Suicide Squad seems to keep the tradition alive by outright ignoring any villains or events from Arkham Origins. While some baddies seen in Origins, such as Deathstroke and Firefly, are displayed in the museum, the voiceover attached to their display only seems to reference their involvement in Rocksteady’s chapters of the Arkham saga.
For example, Firefly’s exhibit mentions his burning of fire departments–a recurring side mission in Arkham Knight–but not Batman’s battle with him atop a bridge in Origins. Similarly, Deathstroke’s display recalls his arrival in Gotham with a militia behind him–another Arkham Knight story beat–but ignores his melee duel with Batman in Blackgate prison. There’s also no display for Black Mask, one of the main characters in the story of Arkham Origins, even as secondary villains from Rocksteady’s efforts like Deacon Blackfire and Zsasz each get their own moments.
Long before now, it’s been obvious that Rocksteady’s way of ignoring Arkham Origins is a choice. It’s just unclear whose choice it is and why they’ve chosen it. Admittedly, I’ve only just started playing the game, so I may come across some kind of Arkham Origins acknowledgment in the hours to come, but this early opportunity to mention Origins, and subsequent lack thereof, seems to be the writing on the wall: At Rocksteady, Arkham Origins essentially remains an Elseworlds storyline.