Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Batman: Arkham City Identity Package

With the announcement of Batman: Arkham Origins this week from E3, I thought I'd revisit something I was completely enamored with two years ago and never quite got around to blogging. 

Obviously beautiful, this identity package developed by Trailer Park straddles the line between pretension and art. Which, although hard to distinguish most of the time, is here very clearly drawn. 

Extending the audience for this open-world game would need a completely fresh take on things, and here it was a case of reversing the color schemes the world has known to be quintessentially essential Batman. Black is now white and silver. The highlights of green and blue in villains perfectly cast in the stark renderings, while the only color in images featuring Batman himself is red (either in his own blood, or as a color in an ally or foe). Although it feels like too much emotion and meaning for a game featuring a billionaire psychopath cracking skulls dressed in armor with bat-ears, it actually does have relevance to the undercurrents of social outcasts without a conventional method of releasing anguish and not finding solace in any attempt. The representation of Batman and his enemies of crime and love in a pure, un-tampered vision of mere suggestion does convey a feeling of newness; a fresh beginning, an open world of possibilities to repeat old mistakes or reinterpret old conflicts. 

The game itself won several well-deserved awards and sold like gangbusters. Having been released more than a few years ago, it is easily found for $20 or less now, removing all reason to not own the game in a collection. And although it undoubtedly would have sold several million dollars worth of units regardless of the marketing material, I love that  this campaign was developed in such a truly artistic and original vision. There will be more Batman games, and I hope that with them, just as imaginative and compelling visual identity material.

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