The story for Batman: Arkham Knight picks up one year after the events of the preceding game, 2011's Arkham City. A whole lot has changed in Bruce Wayne's hometown, including the fact that crime is at an all-time low. Part of it is because someone pretty central to Gotham's criminal ecosystem is laying very low. Warning: Spoilers follow for the end of Batman: Arkham City.
In an interview with Game Informer, Rocksteady game director Sefton Hill says that the Joker — who appears to die at the end of Arkham City — will stay that way for the upcoming threequel. In fact, it's the absence of the Joker's chaotic energy that allows Batman's rogues gallery to form a fragile alliance aimed at destroying the hero once and for all. Other details from the video interview:
- Gotham's evacuation is because of an impending chemical attack by The Scarecrow, presumably part of the villains' collective anti-Bat masterplan.
- Barbara Gordon returns as Oracle for Arkham Knight and part of the game's plot will focus on tensions between the Gordons and Batman.
- Evacuation doesn't mean empty. When law-abiding citizens flee Gotham, the gangs come in and take over.
Of course, Arkham Knight is a game that spins out of the DC Comics Universe, where even the most steadfastly deceased characters eventually get resurrections. (Looking at you, Jason Todd…) So, it's best to take Rocksteady's words with a grain of salt. Still, if they manage to deliver a Batman game that isn't Joker-centric, that will be an accomplishment in and of itself. Head over to Game Informer for more info about Batman: Arkham Knight.