Super Types

December 24, 2009

The Comics Console: Why There Was No Dark Knight Video Game

Merry Christmas to all on this Christmas Eve edition of The Comics Console! This week we look at the holiday gift that every Batman fan wanted last year, but never got: The Dark Knight video game.

So why wasn’t there a video game tie-in to The Dark Knight? It doesn’t make a lot of sense why there wasn’t one. It’s not like Warner Bros. couldn’t get one video game made. It couldn’t have been that Warner Bros. thought a Dark Knight game wouldn’t sell. Batman is one of the most popular fictional characters in history, and The Dark Knight was the highest grossing film of 2008, drawing $1,001,921,825 world wide. Iron Man, also released in 2008, and the 8th highest grossing film that year, received the video game treatment, as did the 17th highest, The Incredible Hulk. So why not The Dark Knight?

In 2005 Batman Begins was released, and the same day, Batman Begins the video game, developed by Eurocom and published by EA Games, hit the shelves for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Game Cube. A sequel to Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot was inevitable, and a video game was expected. As the July 18th release date for The Dark Knight grew closer, and the viral marketing began appearing online, only hints and rumors of a video game bubbled around the internet.

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A shot from the Batman Begins video game

In late 2007, Star Wars: Battlefront and Mercenaries developer, Pandemic Studios, announced several secret projects in development. One particular project, titled only as “Project B,” was rumored to be an open-world Batman game, but Pandemic refused to comment. Closer to the release of the film, G4TV ran a special about The Dark Knight. Kristin Adams conducted an interview with Gary Oldman, where Oldman briefly discussed a gliding feature in the video game, thus confirming its existence. You can view the clip here.

As July 18 came and went, a video game adaption of the mega blockbuster for major consoles had still not been announced. A mobile version of The Dark Knight had been released, allowing players to jump and grapple between buildings in a 2D sidescrolling adventure. Batman fans would still get a video game fix with both Lego Batman and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe released in the fall of 2008, and the September 2008 issue of Game Informer announced Batman Arkham Asylum — a Batman game with no specific ties to any other Batman continuity — but the fact that a game for Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel was still no where in sight was odd.

A shot from The Dark Knight mobile game

A shot from The Dark Knight mobile game

The internet then speculated that a video game would come out with the December 9 DVD and Blu-Ray release of The Dark Knight, similar to Superman Returns and its video game, but again, December 9 came and went, and no Dark Knight game. So with most people giving up on the idea of a game, the answer to the question ‘why’ was still unanswered.

According to Kotaku.com, Pandemic’s Brisbane studio was indeed put in charge of an unspecified Batman project as a result of negotiations between EA Games and Warner Bros., and DC Comics. The only issue being that EA’s rights to Batman were expiring in 18 months, so a game had to be released within that time. Not a problem for Pandemic Brisbane, as they planned an ambitious open-world Batman game. But when they got news that the project was for The Dark Knight, and needed the game ready by July 18, their time frame shrunk, and months of planning went out the window. So their Batman project now a Dark Knight project, they continued with their open-world idea. Unfortunately, the studio heads at Brisbane, not having experience with creating sandbox technology, decided it wasn’t a wise decision given their reduced development window.

Significant progress was made on the game, but major technology issues interfered. Eventually, 130 people were reportedly working on the game, and while all the resources seemed to be on Brisbane’s side, time wasn’t. As July 18 approached, the decision was made to focus on the December 9 home release of the film, which had to be the absolute latest the game could release because EA’s rights to Batman were up in December. By December, even though the game was showing great promise, it was in no condition for release, and was canceled. In February 2009, Pandemic Brisbane was shut down, and in November 2009, Pandemic Studious folded.

So why was there no Dark Knight video game? Depending on your perspective, it could possibly be a number of things, but on the surface, the culprit appears to simply be time, and maybe a bit of poor decision making. Could all of this been avoided? It’s hard to say. It’s definitely a disappointment for the fans and the companies behind the game. Newsweek reported that no tie-in game with the film’s release cost Warner Bros. $101 million in missed revenue.

Batman in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Batman in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Even though there being no Dark Knight game was a downer, I think Warner Bros. more than made up for it with games like Batman Arkham Asylum and the aforementioned Lego Batman and MK vs DC. But it’s funny knowing that somewhere in Brisbane, Australia is a computer with a rough copy of The Dark Knight video game that will never see the light of day.

Checkout The Comics Console next week when we play the best and the worst comic book games of 2009!

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@hotmail.com

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7 Comments



  1. This is a great documentary of what happened Andrew!

    To be honest, I didn’t notice there wasn’t a Dark Knight game…I think I just assumed Batman Arkham Asylum was the Dark Knight game. Of course, the lateness of its release when compared to the movie should have been the first sign that it wasn’t specifically a game based on that movie.


  2. InfiniteSpeech

    I was under the assumption that it was passed in favor of the Arkham game and since I really don’t buy movie tie in games I wasn’t too upset about it not hitting the shelves. I am however looking forward to the 2nd installment of Arkham!


  3. billy

    My son is getting Arkham for Christmas! I can’t wait to play it. lol


  4. Dakk Attakk

    Hey Andrew, we should make a documentary style movie of us going on a quest to Brisbane, Australia to capture, complete, and play that open world batman game! and the movie/documentary shall be dubbed “Fanboys II: Batquest”



  5. The culprit is EA, the developer killer. They buy up and devour small companies. I fear for Bioware’s safety. A word without Bioware is no world at all.
    Anyway, I recall reading several things about how EA handled this game and the studio producing it. And it’s fun to blame them. 🙂


  6. Dakk Attakk

    EA is a huge dick. And god forbid they fuck with Bioware.. ill start a goddamn revolution. lol Bring the corporate gaming monopoly down on its knees and take it out dirty harry style. then ill go to their front door a KICK THAT SHIT IN!! YEAHHH!! XD

    … karking doors



  7. Incredible, that is definitely what I was scanning for! Your article just saved me alot of looking around

    I’ll make sure to put this in good use!



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