Why Batgirl Would Make The Batman Video Games Better

Why Batgirl Would Make The Batman Video Games Better

Warning: mild spoilers follow for plot points in Batman: Arkham Origins.

So, Barbara Gordon didn’t become Batgirl in the latest Bat-game. It was a longshot, sure, since this was a prequel focused on Bruce Wayne’s maturation into the role of Batman. But, after playing the freshly released Batman: Arkham Origins, I came away thinking that Batman’s female sidekick really needs to appear in an upcoming batman video game. Mostly because she’s not so damn depressing.

The best thing about Barbara Gordon being in Arkham Origins is that she represents the people that Batman is working to save. People who, aside from a few NPCs being beaten up or held hostage, are largely absent from Gotham. She’s a civilian, albeit an abnormally gifted one, and the hero worship on display in her scenes with her police captain dad James Gordon foreshadows her costumed identity in a big way.

That hero worship is key. Babs is idealistic in a way that few characters in the Bat-canon are and it’s also why she’d be a welcome tonic to the grimdark mood of the Batman video games. Revenge isn’t part of her origin story. She’s arguably more altruistic than many other Bat-family members because Barbara Gordon comes to the cause without having endured the kind of trauma that Bruce or Dick or Tim did. If Bruce Wayne’s male sidekicks get a place by his side because they partially remind him of himself, then Batgirl earns it by virtue of how different she is from him.

Arkham Origins is yet another piece of Bat-lore that hews to the theory that Batman’s rogues gallery — an all sorts of crazy criminal activity — essentially comes into full flower because the Dark Knight exists. The insertion of Batgirl would prove the opposite is true, too: Batman’s existence also drives people to be better and more heroic.

I also love that the focus on Batgirl in her various incarnations has generally been on her brain. The psychological intimidation and the methods by which he achieves it — growly voice, imposing physique and fearsome reputation — that Batman uses to solve crimes is less available to her. So she’s got to be smarter.

Now, Barbara Gordon might not wind up becoming the Darknight Damsel — yeah, they used to call her that back in the day — at all in the next crop of Batman video games. Yes, she was heard in Arkham Asylum in her Oracle identity. But, it may so happen that a fateful encounter with the Joker, like the infamous one in The Killing Joke, puts her in a wheelchair and sets up her information broker/super hacker alter ego. The people in charge at WB Games could leapfrog over her entire career as Batgirl in the Arkham continuity. But, despite the fact that her Oracle identity is an incredible symbol of resilience and perseverance, it’d be a shame if they did. Batgirl — and what she represents — is an important part of the Bat-mythos, one that would help the video game version of the Dark Knight feel even more human.


      • It would sell, but there would be complaints that the difficulty is too hard and people would be angry at how she was portrayed (regardless of the dev teams intentions and best efforts). If steps were taken to ‘correct’ this, the game would lose a large chunk of their original audience and sales would drop, an ill-informed management would think this is because of the dev teams inability to make the game to the expectations of the ‘public’ (really just a loud minority group). People will be sacked, a new team will come in, and what’s left is a casualized piece of crap with little to no solid game play, that will receive 10/10 reviews because of its ‘forward’ depiction of women rather than what its supposed to be scored on.

      • only because of this sexist community we live in, she’ll be forever put on the sideline as a “minor character” (veiled sex appeal) (just one of many). i for one am sick of the developers and publishers putting women down as just sex appeal to their games, its a never ending cycle really sickening.

        • but if they didn’t the rule34 community will mod it anyway. You can’t fight sexualisation of female characters because sex sells, there are people who make a living over sexualising characters e.g shadman, but if a developer doesn’t over sexualise, then the job becomes harder for the “artists” (rule34’ers). On top of that people such as the previously mentioned are willing to pay more for figures and statues (see Liara statue on bioware store). From a dev point of view, appealing to the darker side of the internet is a money making strategy.

          • “You can’t fight sexualisation of female characters because sex sells” wow have you put any thought at all into what you are saying? WHY can’t YOU fight it? WHY does sex sell? what do you think that all this macho-ism and sexualised women just popped up over night? it’s just a way to keep women down and independent thought along with them. distract the men (“power holders”) with a few pretty girls while the govt. continues to exploit, and destroy. who will notice as long as the men (the only people taken seriously in this twisted world) are happy with their little toys and pretty girls.

            seriously your attitude is what causes the world we live in to be such an ugly place. if people would question the culture they live in, maybe we would make some real progress.

        • Ignoring that, you didn’t really get the point of my post, the majority of gamers (male and female) would be happy to let the game developers do what they do best and simply make games. Telling them to change what they want to make isn’t fair on anybody, they don’t get to express themselves properly and are judged on something they probably aren’t that proud of, and we’re left with soulless trash that made it through the pipeline because it ‘ticked all the boxes’ rather than being what the devs intended.

          Now if you are concerned about the portrayal of women in games, the most productive way to change that is to change society, because media itself is just a reflection on what society wants to create and consume.

          • I was referring more to goodbye more than you oliver. Maybe the devs just didn’t feel as attached to Batgirl.

  • So being a super hero crime fighter and then eventually becoming crippled wouldn’t be depressing?

    • Just skip her and go to Stephanie Brown… of course, DiDio would throw another hissy fit at the idea.

  • Either we see Barbara as Batgirl or they just skip to her being Oracle again, there really is no reason to make up an entirely new backstory for her and risk the absolute nerdrage that would result from such a decision.

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