Batman: Arkham - The Complete Story & Timeline (2023)

Batman has faced nearly every test imaginable throughout theBatman: Arkham series and has always persevered, making itsversion of the Caped Crusader one of the most iconic and memorable iterations of the character. Even though the series centers on Batman, there are many moments throughout it where other members of the Bat Family take the spotlight for a while, with Batman: Arkham'sDick Grayson potentially taking the Batman mantle after the events of the final game, making each iteration more diverse and expansive than the last. With Rocksteady pulling ahead with a new Arkhamverse game next year in the form of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, now would be a great time to look back on the series and go through the history of what Batman has been through.


The Batman: Arkham games have included four main releases, one side-scrolling spin-off after Batman: Arkham Origins, and a spin-off in the form of a short virtual reality game after the release of Batman: Arkham Knight.Rocksteady released its first edition in the series -Batman: Arkham Asylum - back in 2009, following the cancellation of Pandemic'sThe Dark Knight tie-in game.Arkham Asylum redefined the superhero genre in video games, taking what had until that point been a character few games had been able to authentically portray and providing one of the most compelling action-adventure titles full-stop.Arkham Asylum spawned a host of imitators after its release, with few coming close to the level of detail or polish Rocksteady was able to achieve.

Related: What Killed The Batman: Gotham By Gaslight Game

Even though the Batman: Arkham franchise began in Arkham Asylum, the seriesstarted releasing non chronologically as the years went by and many of the spaces in Batman's history began to be filled in. Batman: Arkham Asylum had jumped right into the Arkhamverse, serving as a sort of in aDie Hard-esque Batman story in the DC Universe. As the series progressed, the gaps betweeneach game were filled, which led toother characters taking the spotlight and adding to the mythos of Batman. Looking back on the Batman: Arkham series chronologically, the first outing in the timeline takes place acouple years into Batman's career, when many of his villains were first making an appearance.

Batman: Arkham Origins & The Rise Of The Caped Crusader

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The first game chronologically in the series starts out in Batman's second year fighting crime on the streets of Gotham, with a city-wide plot underway by various villains to assassinate the Bat on Christmas Eve. There was a DLC pack released after the game that detailed Bruce's earlydays learning martial arts around Asia and encountering Shiva, one of the eight assassins he faces during the base game. The world of Arkham: Origins was so heavy with villains that at one point, Batman: Arkham Origins almost included playable villains within the world. The leader of this endeavor is a mob boss named Black Mask,who had seeminglyhas hired eight assassins to hunt down Batman and claim a wealthy reward. After Batman tangles with various killers throughout the holiday night and begins unfolding a secret plot, he finally comes into contact with Black Mask, who actually reveals himself to be the Joker in disguise. This is the first time the two of them ever meet, andit fundamentally changes the dynamic of the story.

(Video) Batman Arkham Timeline - The Complete Story of the Arkhamverse (What You Need to Know!)

While there are other major story moments that occur in Batman: Arkham Origins, such as Bane destroying the Batcave and learning Batman's identity, the core of the story is Batman and Joker fighting for control of the city.Batman: Arkham Originsis the perfect Joker story, as it shines a light on the formative moments of the duo's relationship. Joker challenges Batman's morals at the end of the game by telling him that they are both outcasts and misfits and exist because the system failed them. Batman ignores this banter and detains Joker, stopping the Blackgate Prison riot and saving the city. Batman: Arkham Origins was the first time in the Batman: Arkham timeline where the Caped Crusader was seriously challenged and had to deal with a barrage of villains all in a single night, turning him from a vigilante into the superhero seen inArkham Asylum.

Batman: Arkham Origins sets the stage for not only Batman's early days, but most of Batman's rogues gallery, introducing the beginnings of Harley Quinn, Joker, Bane, Riddler, and Mr. Freeze in a post-launch DLC exploring his origins. The game utilized its villains sowell that Batman: Arkham Origins was able to redeem Bane from previous interpretations in the series. In the post-credits scene, Amanda Waller is shown recruiting Deathstroke in his prison cell, hinting at the future of Task Force X and the Suicide Squad.This gamedisplayed a younger and moregritty Batman who was still learning and controlling his anger and his tactics. Batman: Arkham Originsmarks the beginning of the timeline for the series, and sets the precedent and tone for where Batman goes next.

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate &Catwoman's Secret Plot

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Following the release of Batman: Arkham Origins, Armature Studio developed a side-scrolling spin-off game released on portable devicesdetailing the months after the events of the base game. This game introduced many characters into the Arkhamverse that previously first appeared much later in the series, such as Catwoman and Solomon Grundy, while also bringing in some new faces likeBronze Tiger and Rick Flag, setting up Easter eggs for Suicide Squad: KTJLbyestablishing members of Amanda Waller's crew. The plot of this spin-off follows a riot at Blackgate Prison and has Batman making his way through the facility,taking down the Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask, all of whom have taken control over certain sections of the prison.

Related:How Gotham Knight's Batgirl Is Different From Arkham Knight's

With this being the first entry chronologically to introduce Catwoman, her relationship with Batman is just beginning, with her givingBatman tipson how to stop the villains within Blackgate prison. At the end of the story, Catwoman reveals that she was only using Batman as a pawn to get to another prisoner deep within Blackgate, Bane, who wascapturedat the end of Arkham Origins. After the credits have rolled, it is revealed that Amanda Waller had been watching the whole time and was the one that hired Catwoman to capture Bane, showing how dangerous she can be and how pivotal the Suicide Squad would become in the Arkhamverse itself.While she ends up having to return Bane into police custody, who would then beabused by the staff at Arkham Asylum, Waller was able to pick up Deadshot and Bronze Tiger during the riot, marking thebeginnings of Task Force X.

(Video) The Complete BATMAN ARKHAM Timeline Explained!

Batgirl: A Matter Of FamilyShows Barbara Against Joker & Harley

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Released as part of Batman: Arkham Knight's season pass was a DLC expansion called A Matter Of Family, which takes place from the perspective of Batgirl before she was paralyzed by the Joker. In this expansion, which is set in-between Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum, Batgirl and Robin team up together to save Commissioner Gordon from Joker and his henchmen, who have taken up residence in an abandoned theme park on an oil rig. Since Tim Drake is the Robin in this story, Jason Todd must have already been seemingly murdered by the Joker prior to this DLC.Batman: Arkham Knight's iteration of Batgirl shows potential for Gotham Knights and how it can handle itsversion of the character. While this DLC is rather short, only lasting about two hours, it provides the series'first and only glimpse at Batgirl in her prime, and shows what she achieved as a hero before shebecame Oracle.

A Matter Of Family is chronologically the first time that Harley Quinn appears in the franchise, as her appearance in Arkham Origins was only as a psychiatrist and before she transitioned into a villain. This expansion also highlights Barbara and Tim's relationship in their early days, as they end up getting married in the epilogue of Batman: Arkham Knight. The DLC ends with Batgirl and Robin saving the Commissioner, but Joker flees the scene and continues his shenanigans across the city to be dealt with another day.

Batman: Arkham Asylum & Joker'sHostile Takeover

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Batman: Arkham Asylum kickstarted the series, setting the stage for future DC projects, including a Batman: Arkham-inspiredWonder Woman and Superman game, and introduced everything that is core to the Batman: Arkham franchise. The game wastes no time andstarts withBatman rushing Joker over to Arkham Asylum, where he is to be detained and kept for the foreseeable future. Shortly after, Joker escapes his bonds and begins to take over parts of the Asylum, freeing most of Batman's most notorious villains in the process, including Bane, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and much more. This scenario of Batman running through the Asylumstacked the odds against him, as he now had to navigate an entire island full of villains he'd previously imprisoned.

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After Batman has made his way through the Asylum and defeated numerous villains, he finally faces the Joker. Although in the run-up to this the Dark Knight faces off against Scarecrow and some creepyBatman: Arkhamnightmare sequences, the story centers around Joker and Batman's relationship as he takes over the Asylum. Throughout the course of the story, it is discovered that Doctor Penelope Young had been experimenting on Bane and using his venom-infused blood to create a similar formula and distribute it in the hopes of creating super soldiers, as per a contract made with the Joker. This serum is codenamed TITAN, and Batman encounters many criminals throughout the Asylum that have been mutated with the serum, causing them to turn into enormously muscled monsters. In the finale of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Joker injects himself with TITAN, turning him into a hulking monstrosity that Batman can only defeat with the help of some explosive gel.

(Video) The COMPLETE Batman Arkham Story [Cram It]

After defeating TITAN Joker, Batmanmakes way for the police to enter and re-establish control over the island. Batman: Arkham Asylum did better than Arkham Cityin many respects, establishing the formula for the franchise and paving the way for all future Batman: Arkham installments. Many of the villains that made an appearance in Batman: Arkham Asylum came back at some point in the series, including a reappearance in the next game of Arkham Asylum's Warden, Quincy Sharp, who believes he is the reincarnation of Amadeus Arkham.

Batman: Arkham City & The Downfall Of The Villain Underworld

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Coming off of the success of Batman: Arkham Asylumand a comic series detailing the aftermath of that story and the rise of Quincy Sharp andHugo Strange's Tyger security force, Rocksteady delivered an even larger game in Batman: Arkham City. Arkham Cityhad the best opening to a Batman: Arkham game, starting with Bruce Wayne's abduction as the Dark Knight tries to uncover the mystery of Gotham's new super-prison. From there, things become more complicated as Batman traverses throughout all of Arkham City and its underground, battling ancient creatures and coming face to face with an adversary once thought dead.

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As Batman tries to unravel the plot behind Arkham City's true intentions and locate its mastermind, Hugo Strange, he comes into contact with many villains not seen before in the series, such as Ra's Al Ghul, Clayface, Two-Face, and Hush - the latter of whom can even be spotted early after rescuing medical staff from the Park Row church. Hush's storyline in Batman: Arkham City was particularly interesting because it poses a threat to Bruce Wayne, not Batman, as Hush has grafted his face to look like Wayne. After being poisoned by Joker and running around Arkham City for a cure, Batmancreates a serum with the help of Mr. Freeze but is unable to save the Joker, with the ending of Batman: Arkham City closing on the death of Batman's most infamous villain.

Batman: Arkham VR & Batman's Premonition

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Batman: Arkham VR served as a story to fill in some of the events between Arkham City and Arkham Knight, as the latter has many massive revelations that benefit from having more backstory. This shorter virtual reality experience puts the player in Batman's shoes from a first-person perspective and follows the trail of Nightwing and Robin after they go missing. After searching throughout the city and interrogating Penguin, it is revealed that Nightwing and Robin are both dead, even though they both play crucial roles in the following game and could even helpestablish aBatman:Arkham Knight sequel as Batman Beyond. After watching them die, Batman is trapped within a cell, and when looking in the mirror, sees Joker staring back. This indicates that Batman is suffering side effects from Arkham Cityafter he was poisoned with Joker's blood, which ties directly into one of Batman: Arkham Knight's biggest plotlines.

(Video) The Evolution of Batman's Journey In The Arkham Series

While Batman: Arkham VR may be a more exclusive release, only being playable on virtual reality headsets, it provides some insight as to what Batman was experiencing before the events of Batman: Arkham Knight. The poisoning from Joker's blood causes major psychological trauma to Batman, even manifesting physically in the following game when exposed to fear toxin and causing Batman tocommit crimes in Batman: Arkham Knight. Learning more about the effects of Joker's blood and seeing how it makes Batman hallucinate his extended family dying serves asa great precursor toArkham Knight, helping further contextualize why he pushed his allies away.

Batman: Arkham Knight & The Rebirth Of Batman

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The conclusion to the Arkhamverse comes in the form of Batman: Arkham Knight, where Scarecrow has taken over the city with the help of a mysterious new villain known only as the Arkham Knight, who was detailed in some of the comics that were released alongside the game. Throughout the story, the Arkham Knight toys with Batman and trains his soldiers to attack his armor in specific weak points, making it seem like Batman and the Arkham Knight have history.Throughout the middle portion of the game, Batman receives visions of one of his former Robins, Jason Todd, who was captured and seemingly killed by Joker years ago. At the climax of Batman: Arkham Knight, it is revealed that Jason never died and had taken the mantle of the Arkham Knight to seek vengeance on Batman after leaving him with the Joker.

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Along with the revelation of Batman's former ally becoming his biggest enemy, many other major plotlines converge in Batman: Arkham Knight, such as Joker's blood poisoning Batman and others, Scarecrow gassing the city in fear toxin, andBruce Wayne's identity being revealed to the world. After Bruce defeats his inner demons and locks Joker away within his mind, he is able to stop Scarecrow and save Gotham,leaving the door open forfollow-ups, like WB'scanceled Batman: Arkham Knight sequel. Bruce knows that Batman can no longerexistif his identity is out, so he fakes his own death and destroys Wayne Manor, with all evidence of him being Batman. It isn't until months later after the Bat Family has settled the aftermath in DLC storiesthat Batman reemerges in Gotham, but this time with fear toxin on his side, reviving the legend of the Dark Knightfrom the ashes and striking fear into his enemies like never before.

The Batman: Arkham franchise is one of the greatest Batman sagas ever told, and has held up well over time, inspiring other superhero video games in the process. Other DC games are currently in development, including a Suicide Squad game set within the Arkhamverse, a Wonder Woman game, and a Batman game set in another universe focused on the members of the Bat family, calledGotham Knights. Whatever Rocksteady and DC pursue going forward, the Batman: Arkham games will always be thereas a shining example of what can be achieved when a license is fully taken advantage of.

(Video) The Batman Arkham Series in 11 Minutes

Next: Why Rocksteady's Next Game Isn't A Batman: Arkham Knight Sequel


How long is the Arkham timeline? ›

In short, not counting Origins, the Arkham series takes place within the time-span of 15 months.

What is the 4 digit code in Batman: Arkham Knight? ›

The code you want is 0539. With that taken care of, make your way through the newly-unlocked doors. On the other side, Johnny stands centre stage, adorned in a beautiful bomb vest.

What is the chronological order of the Batman Arkham series? ›

Arkham Origins takes place 5 years before Arkham Asylum and is set on Christmas Eve. Arkham City takes place in winter, a year after Arkham Asylum, and Arkham Knight takes place on the next Halloween after City. So the order is Arkham Origins, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Knight last.

How do you fully complete Arkham Knight? ›

The Complete Knightfall Protocol can be enacted only when Batman was apprehended ALL of Gotham's Most Wanted. This includes defeating all of the Arkham Knight's militia - the Road Blocks, Watchtowers, Mines, and of course, the last leader of the militia - Deathstroke.

Which Arkham game is the darkest? ›

Arkham Knight is the darkest Batman game ever, says developer.

How long was Jason in Arkham? ›

One of the biggest differences from the comics was the amount of time that Jason was replaced. In the comics, it took a year and the urging of both Alfred and Nightwing to convince Bruce that Jason had to be replaced. In the Arkhamverse, Batman replaced Jason in six months.


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