Today is the day Batman fans have been waiting for. Batman: Arkham City is in stores today. The story takes place a year after Arkham Asylum. The question for many will be what has happened in that time. From the beginning of the game, Arkham City is already established and Hugo Strange is somehow involved.
If you've read the five-issue mini-series written by Paul Dini (who also wrote the story for the game), you have an idea what has happened. The comic begins six months after the events of the first game and establishes the groundwork for the atmosphere and vibe of the sequel. According to Giant Bomb's review, "The story starts with a bang, but doesn't really do much to set up the current state of the world."
Here are the major events that have occurred in the time between the two video games. This is how half of Gotham City was walled off and turned into a prison. Obviously there will be spoilers for the first game and the comic mini-series below.== TEASER ==
The Joker is dying
This isn't much of a surprise. Using the Titan formula in the first game had an affect on Joker. He's not doing so well as he sits locked up in Arkham Asylum. In his weakened state, it appeared he hadn't made any attempts to break out of Arkham. Joker was coming to terms with his end.
Harley was also locked up in Arkham. She had been kept separated from "Mr. J." but could hear his laughter from his cell. When a guard confirmed Joker won't be around much longer, she vowed to do something about it.
Warden Quincy Sharp Became the Mayor of Gotham
Despite Sharp's inability to anything to prevent the chaos during the first game, he came out on top afterwards. With some 'coaching' from his psychiatrist, Dr. Hugo Strange, his confidence had been built up and he's essentially become a puppet for Strange.
Sharp made a declaration to anyone following in the footsteps of the Joker. They will be caught and committed for the rest of their lives. He wants to restore the morale of Gotham and makes it clear that anyone that puts on a costume in Gotham will be branded an outlaw.
Gotham is Attacked
A brother and sister team of thugs previously working for Two-Face had been doing jobs while enhanced with the Titan formula. Some crates of the drug washed up in Gotham Harbor so Two-Face ordered it to be locked up in his cellar. The brother and sister decided to take the drug for themselves and turned against Two-Face, killing half his men.
During a dedication for the new City Hall, they made their move against Sharp and Gotham. When Batman arrived, it turned out they were working for Hugo and were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause they all believed in. The explosion from the bombs inside of them caused major damage and Gotham was declared a war zone. This allowed Strange's plans to go through as Sharp established Arkham City. Half of Gotham was walled off and Sharp had a privatized military force brought in.
Arkham City is Built
Gotham was torn on the idea of a walled off prison. There was concern that those inside will be reduced to savagery as they struggled to survive. Sharp insisted that order will be maintained inside. Arkham City will have its own security patrol, social services and health care. Once the criminals have proven they are no longer threats, they will be considered for release back into Gotham City.
Bruce Wayne happened to be at the ground breaking ceremony for Arkham City. When he tried asking Sharp who will be deciding when the criminals are fit to be released, Sharp brushed off the question.
Hugo Strange Prepares to Battle Batman
When Batman tried investigating details of Arkham City in the Mayor's mansion, Hugo makes a move against him. Batman is attacked by rubber bullets and gas and he realized his moves and techniques were being recorded. Batman isn't concerned as he felt whoever was recording him didn't get much information.
Joker Escapes...to Arkham City
With the help of Harley, Joker escaped a deadly beating from some angry guards that vowed their friends didn't die for nothing during his attack. The two made their escape right into the heart of Arkham City, giving Joker the advantage of being able to establish his foothold inside.
Penguin also started a play for power inside Arkham and Batman goes undercover inside as a thug to try to get more information.
Batman managed to pass the Joker's deadly interview process but left before being attacked by the rest of Joker's men when he ordered them to keep an eye on him.
Batman then, still undercover, visited Penguin to join his crew. He joined some of Penguin's men in an attempt to hijack a armored security vehicle inside with a shipment of guns. As the attack went sour, Batman managed to destroy the guns and claimed it was the only way to save Penguin's men. Penguin wasn't pleased but allowed him to live.
Batman later left Arkham City after having a good idea what the situation is between Joker and Penguin. As he drove away in the Bat-boat, Hugo was observing him.
Catwoman Saves Batman and Makes an Enemy
Catwoman will have her own role in the game and during this story, she became an enemy of Hugo's. While inside Arkham City, Batman's undercover identity became compromised and he was under the attack of Strange's security troops. With a whole army after him, Batman was on the run and under fire. These weren't ordinary soldiers either, they were equipped with high tech weapons and defense. Selina showed up just in time to give Batman a getaway from the troops. This goes against everything Strange had planned for. Simply put, he was not happy.
The reason Catwoman was in Arkham was to take advantage of the chaos. She knew the crime bosses would be stockpiling any valuables they had and planned on helping herself. She also managed to save Poison Ivy earlier and earned a spot on her "BFF list." That could come in handy later.
Batman Knows Hugo's Identity and...Vice Versa
When questioning a guard, Batman convinced him to reveal who he was really working for, Hugo Strange. To Batman's surprise, Hugo revealed publicly that he was Sharp's secret collaborator behind Arkham City. As Bruce Wayne, he tried to challenge Strange with information on past patient abuse and information on inhumane experiments. Strange points out how odd it was that a 'playboy' managed to come up with this information and easily pushed aside the allegations.
The series ends with Strange watching the events unfold. The criminals have either fled Gotham or are deep in hiding. He is content with allowing the criminals inside to build their empires and make war with each other. When they kill each other, his control over the city will be complete.
With Hugo being aware of Batman's identity, he sees it as a challenge to be the one to break him in mind, body and spirit. He is eager for Batman's return to Arkham City.
Now go out and start playing the game!