Lead character artist Albert Feliu offers insight into Rocksteady’s titular villain, the Arkham Knight – a brand new character in the DC Comics Universe.
The Arkham Knight is one of the main centrepiece villains for our game. He’s like a dark reflection of Batman who commands a military force that’s taken control of Gotham City. He seems to know everything about the Batman: his tactics, his gadgets and his weaknesses. He has used this knowledge to create an identity that mocks the Dark Knight and creates a striking image on the battlefield that inspires his army and terrifies his enemies.
“The mask is a vital component of many super villains, and we needed the Arkham Knight’s helmet to achieve a range of different things. Firstly, it needs to cover his face in order to conceal any sense of the man underneath. Next, it provides him with a detailed heads-up display that keeps track of his forces moving throughout Gotham City. This information is projected across the inside of his visor, creating the illusion of those inhuman eyes and giving him a face that is equal parts ghostly and robotic.”
2. Chest plate
“The design of the Arkham Knight’s armour is intended to be a psychological weapon against Batman as well as a defence against the tactics and strategies that Batman uses. The Arkham Knight knows the deep influence that the events of both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City had on Batman, and by making the logo of the institution into his own, he aims to put Gotham’s saviour at a disadvantage. The angular design of the armour plating was influenced by the A-shape of Batman: Arkham Asylum’s logo, but it’s also designed to deflect one of Batman’s weapons of choice: the bat claw.”
“Visually one of the most important things we want to communicate through the design of the Arkham Knight is the high-tech, military threat that he poses to Gotham City. The materials on his gauntlets, boots and armour are influenced by the design of fighter aircraft: highly resistant, unreflective and totally intimidating. The Arkham Knight’s knowledge of the Caped Crusader influences his fighting style, and so his gauntlets fulfil a similar role to Batman’s: they’re armoured so he can use them to repel opponents with blades while remaining light enough to enable rapid strikes. We’ve always had the same approach to armour design in the Arkhamverse: it needs to match the anatomy and ergonomics of the character, and reflect each character’s unique visual themes.”
“In creating the image of this military leader invading an urban space, we designed the Arkham Knight’s red camouflage pattern to make him identifiable to his troops, but also to take advantage of how Gotham City looks at night: the dark greys interspersed with dashes of red enable him to remain concealed between the gloomy shadows and garish neons of Gotham’s alleyways and rooftops. The dark material that armours his biceps and triceps is partially reflective, working as part of the camouflage as it mirrors the environment around him.”
5. The Utility Belt
“The Arkham Knight is a military commander, and that’s reflected most in the design of his helmet, but he’s also a highly capable and resourceful warrior just like Batman. His utility belt is designed for more personal confrontations, and it reflects his aggressive personality: he wears it low-slung in contrast with Batman’s more regimented approach to field equipment. He thinks he’s better, badder and definitely cooler than the Batman himself.”
6. The Ears
“The ears serve two purposes: first, they act as transmitters relaying the Arkham Knight’s commands to his troops and drones in the field. Secondly, they are his greatest psychological attack on Batman: while they’re much shorter and more streamlined than the Dark Knight’s, (to make them more practical for combat), this design is an intentional mockery of Batman and everything that he stands for.”