Arkham Knight’s Batmobile could break Batman’s no-guns rule

Have you seen the new Batmobile trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight?

Batman fan or not, you may have noticed that the Batmobile trailer focused on one thing: big fricking guns. From a gameplay perspective, it makes plenty of sense. Batman’s ride is a mix between sports car and tank, so it should have things that go pew pew.

In Batman canon, however, this could go against the Dark Knight’s “no guns” rule. Admittedly, I don’t know if the Batmobile’s guns will eventually be used to kill thugs in Arkham Knight, but it’s not implausible to presume that it can happen.

Going against Batman’s no-killing rule

According to previews like this one, Batman will face enemies like tanks and flying drones, although it’s not clear if they’re operated by people. So if you blow up these contraptions and a person is inside, you’re going against Batman’s no-killing policy as well.

This Batmobile seems laughably lethal.
This Batmobile seems laughably lethal.

“But wait!” you say. The trailer revealed that the Batmobile is armed with a gun called a “riot suppressor”, which shoots non-lethal rounds.

However, let’s not forget that Batman’s car also comes with a gruesome 60mm cannon, which shoots kinetic energy that’s effective against steel up to 820mm (about 2.6 feet) thick, and a Vulcan gun that shoots armour-piercing incendiary. Fire those against a regular person and you’ll be scraping what remains off the pavement.

So don’t use those guns on flesh and blood! Problem solved.

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple. Rocksteady is aiming to create a game that lets you be the Batman. Giving the option to blast thugs into smithereens breaks that immersion.

It’s similar to the issue of again leaving out the civilians in the game.

Why Gotham has no civilians again

Rocksteady Studios has gone through the trouble of keeping civilians out of this new version of Gotham City. Why? According to an interview with brand marketing producer Dax Ginn, the developer left the civilians out in Arkham Knight because it was a “significant technical challenge“.

GTA has been mowing down pedestrians in 3D since 2001.
GTA has been mowing down pedestrians in 3D since 2001.

But how could civilians be a technical challenge when Grand Theft Auto has been putting civilians in open 3D cities since 2001? Consider this: if you put civilians and the Batmobile in one virtual playground, you can pretty much mow down scores of people, and this goes against Batman’s code.

Rocksteady can probably make pedestrians impossible to kill with the Batmobile by having them jump out of the way each time, but the simpler solution is to go with what already works: make an excuse to leave the regular people out, just like in Arkham City and Arkham Origins.

Maybe Rocksteady didn’t want to give gamers the ability to run over people because when faced with the option, many of us will do it, and this will detract from the Batman experience.

If so, then why did Rocksteady load the Batmobile with laughably lethal weapons? That’s a very good question.

Breaking Batman basics

Batman hates guns.
Batman hates guns.

Here’s the thing: not using guns and not killing people is one of Batman’s basic tenets. Changing this is like saying that Batman’s parents weren’t killed at all. The deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne are the main reasons why Batman does what he does and shuns the use of firearms (Burton and Nolan films notwithstanding).

That being said, the Batmobile should still be able to shoot stuff; the gameplay might suffer without this ability. However, I think it should be armed with non-lethal weapons like EMP or tranquilizer-firing machine guns.

Because right now, from the looks of things, the weapons on the Batmobile look pretty darn deadly.

Of course, for all we know, maybe Rocksteady has a perfectly good explanation for the guns. Maybe. But given how nasty the guns appear right now, it’s hard not to think about how it’s going to influence the game, and how it’s going to affect the experience of being Batman, which Rocksteady is aiming for.

So what’s your take in all this? If you’re given the ability to shoot and kill enemies in Arkham Knight, would it affect the experience of “being Batman” for you? Would you use this ability when playing through Arkham Knight? If you don’t want to use lethal guns, what other weapons do you think can we arm the Batmobile with? Hash it out in the comments below!

  • XYZ-man

    All of this hysteria over the no gun policy yet we forget that Batman has missiles on the Bat-Plane….missiles…which are ten times deadlier than a gun. Batman sees these weapons as tools to use to merely dispatch criminals not outright kill them. He could kill anyone with his barehands for that matter. Plus Rocksteady has made two Batman games, I think they know the rules about Batman’s no guns/no killing policy. And we forget that Batman used a gun in his first appearances in the comics….and he threw a guy into a vat of acid. But anyway if you don’t like the game don’t play it. I for one am looking forward to the final game in Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy.

    • Were you referring to the Burton films regarding the missiles? Because they were an aberration. Batman killed in those films; he loaded his vehicles with machine guns, missiles, and bombs.

      When Batman was first created in 1939, he really did carry a gun. And yes, he did drop a thug into a vat of acid. This, however, isn’t the Batman that we know today.

      That was around 75 years ago, so expect a few changes. The Batman TODAY doesn’t use guns and doesn’t kill.

      Fun fact: Batman’s aversion to firearms and killing didn’t really start until the 1940s.

      Here’s something more interesting–Batman was introduced in Detective Comics #27, but the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and his decision to become a vigilante didn’t really “exist” until Detective Comics #33, which was six months later.

      My point: these instances you brought up was during the time when Batman wasn’t the Batman we now know. Back then, Batman was a new superhero, and comics were a new medium.

      Don’t presume that I don’t like Arkham Knight because I’m still looking forward to it. Personally, I think it’s a poor argument to say “if you don’t like X, don’t play it” because it attempts to absolve something of all criticism.

      Haven’t you heard of loving something and wanting it to be better?

      I’m a HUGE Batman fan and love the Rocksteady games. This is the very reason why I’m a little extra critical. If you’re fine with this, then good on you. I’m not.

      And what hysteria are you talking about? It’s not like the internet erupted over my little post here. Notice how we’re the only two people in this comments section? 😉

      • XYZ-man

        For the record I was not validating nor was I actually saying just because Batman did this way back when that it was ok, I was drawing a general point of reference as to how far Batman has in fact traveled since his debut. I am glad for one that he doesn’t kill or use guns, that’s way too simple and goes against that pivotal moment in his life.

        Now as to the missiles, in several animated features Batman uses missiles that are on board the Batplane. My overall point being it shouldn’t really make a difference rather he uses devastating weapons like the “dreaded gun” that so many people have an aversion to him even looking at. A missile has more devastating power than a gun as I’ve stated before.Yes I am aware that he has applied a general consensus to no guns that’s absolutely fine. However if Rocksteady came out with Batman holding an assault rifle or a pistol then there would be a problem ( I for one would be appalled by it) but on the Batmobile there’s an excuse I believe because while he has access to it, it doesn’t mean he has to use it. Like in the demo, he can use it to dispatch drone tanks….something that some people in the video comments were appalled by because apparently they didn’t hear that they were drones. In a sense you can say that he is perverting a tool for evil, and in a desperate attempt, using it for good. By the way didn’t a comic have Bruce Wayne shooting at a shooting range? I want to say it was something by Grant Morrison. If I recall it wasn’t very well received.

        In Christopher Nolan’s films he has devastating power in his vehicle and to me (and this is my personal opinion) the Nolan trilogy IS the ultimate film version of Batman. Maybe his villain Arkham Knight will somewhat point out the Arkham-verse’s Batman’s sheer desperation to resort to such means. And if it helps to sell my point the Arkham games are in fact their own unique universe much akin to Nolan’s so there are some unbreakable rules but there are some exceptions I believe. For the record I was sort of shocked in The Dark Knight when he used that gun like apparatus to shoot the small bombs onto objects like in the scene where he went to China to capture Lau and in the final hostage sequence. But I’ve overcame my mixed emotions when I realized that it is not a gun but a tool So far as Batman using guns directly as in holding in his hands I think you would hear every Batman fan protest. Which goes to show that there is a general line that has been drawn. Because many Batman fans accept that radical weaponry can be used, which appears to be in Batman’s vehicles and not in the Dark Knight’s personal arsenal.

        No need to get defensive I was just presenting my case, I am terribly sorry if my comment came off as very confrontational. Conversations over the internet can only relay so much. And on the hysteria matter I was referring to a small minority on the internet who are just outraged that Batman has a gun and other devastating devices on the Batmobile. And to your response that we are the only people in these comments…….we are just nerds I guess.

        • XYZ-man

          Plus I’m pretty sure that most of his weapons in Arkham Knight are non lethal. Probably certain weapons can only be used on certain types of enemies. Rocksteady isn’t going to let Batman mow down thugs. Heck in one trailer you see a thug diving away from the Batmobile as it drives toward him.

  • Tom

    Batman has always used lethal weapons on his vehicles – even in the TV-Y7 animated series. He just reserves them for blasting through solid barricades or taking down bigger vehicles or robotic enemies. As far as opening fire on human beings, he’d never do that. Also, in Justice League storylines involving alien invasions, Batman has no qualms about using lethal force directly on the aliens.

    Even in his utility belt, Batman technically carries lethal weapons. Explosives that can blow through solid concrete walls could easily kill humans (not referring to the gel he uses in the games on weaker surfaces). Batman just makes sure no humans are too close whenever he needs to use them.