The Fake Game Taking Over Batman Arkham Fandom, Explained

The Fake Game Taking Over Batman Arkham Fandom, Explained

Batman peers into the Batcave for his copy of Arkham World.

Image: Warner Bros. Games.

The best video games are imaginary. Often they exist completely in our heads, or in the dream space between their initial announcement and what we end up playing. This is where “Arkham World” exists. Born out of a gag from the 2011 Video Game Awards, the completely fictionalized entry into the wildly popular Batman Arkham Series is now all some fans can talk about.

Earlier this month, posts about a supposed Arkham World started to take over the Batman Arkham subreddit. Despite being dedicated to an aging single-player series, this particular internet watering hole remains surprisingly active. It has over 150,000 members, with hundreds or more active at any given time. “This subreddit is dedicated to discussing all of Batman Arkham Lore,” reads the subscription. “Including the Rocksteady Trilogy, Arkham Origins, and all related games and comics, including the new Arkham World Edition.”

Arkham World isn’t real, but that hasn’t stopped the subreddit from celebrating one year anniversary of its launch on August 2. “I liked the open world of this game the most because it was a literal world,” wrote Reddit user FrozeninIce248. “A world full of criminals and madmen and the updated gameplay of Arkham Knight make this game the best superhero game ever.”

Dozens of other commenters responded with their own reviews, sharing their favorite moments and biggest surprises. “Dude I’m currently stoned at a zombie gig Rob and I’m 90% sure this game isn’t real and I’m scared to know if it is,” read one comment buried deep among critical praise.

The one-year anniversary was just the start of Arkham World’s multi-week tribute. The tradition surrounding it has since expanded to include a special mission where you play as Alfred, a crossover with Spider-Manand even a Darth Vader boss fight. Spider-Man Community Players even joined, treating the crossover as canon. Reddit is full of shitposting, but it’s still rare to see fans rallying a bit so aggressively and maintaining it for weeks on end. So why bother manifesting a game that never existed?

FrozeninIce248 told Kotaku in a Reddit chat that they stole the idea from the Titanfall community, where pretending Titanfall 3 already exists is a continuous part of subculture. The name Arkham World, meanwhile, was an obvious choice since it was a codename teased by the Joker in a cutscene created by Rocksteady to win best character award at VGA 2011. The final game that was released was Arkham Knight, leaving “Arkham World” free to fill the void in players’ imaginations when they had no real Batman game to look forward to in the near future.

In the upcoming Gotham Knights game, made by Warner Bros. Montreal, the studio behind Arkham Origins, Batman is already dead. Nor is it technically part of arkham verse. Rocksteady’s next project, Suicide Squad, is set in the same world as the Arkham games, but Batman hasn’t been revealed to be part of it, and he’s a shooter rather than a stealth brawler.

“Suicide Squad is set in the same universe but isn’t Batman-centric at all, we don’t even know if he’ll appear at all,” Reddit user BigSexy17 told Kotaku. “r/ArkhamGames and Arkham fans in general have turned to the series because of Batman, Batman fans around the world praise and revere these games as the true Batman experience.”

Now unleashed, Arkham World has taken on a life of its own. “You’ve got this whole group of people pretending we’re all talking about a game that ‘doesn’t exist,'” Unhappyworker77 said.

Reddit user LukeDBZ2 compared it to the fascination with the Morbius meme”it’s Morbin’s time” from the beginning of summer. It was silly, wonderful, and became so popular it may have convinced Sony to set millions on fire. bring Morbius back to the movies so he can bomb a second time. “Morbius never said ‘it’s Morbin time’ and there’s no sequel to Arkham Knight…or is there?” they said. “One thing is confirmed, after years of no new content, the submarine has become Arkham Asylum itself.”

A Reddit post shows fans celebrating an Arkham Spider-Man crossover DLC that never happened.

There is also precedent for Arkham World in other fandoms. When Elden Ring went years during development with no new details, some fans feared the worst. As with Titanfall, The Elden Ring subreddit at some point started to pretend the game was already released, invent famous boss battles and more. “It exists because the fans are starving [for] content and enjoyed the moment they were anticipating the release of the next Arkham title,” TheXpender told Kotaku.

The shitposting is still going on and has even led to some Reddit users trying to turn Arkham World into its own subreddit. Some fans want to dump memes there. “If we’re going to flood the sub with more Arkham World and less real messages about real games, then everything should be moved to its own sub. r/ArkhamworldFanboyxxx wrote. “We need to take a step back and reflect on what we’re doing, and honestly if it’s smart and fun, that’s fine with me, leave it alone now.”

But that doesn’t seem likely. Arkham World was born on r/BatmanArkham and that’s where it will likely stay. At least until Gotham Knights, Suicide Squad, or a proper Batman Arkham sequel launches. “Arkham World means the world to me,” Redditor Nadongus told Kotaku. “Nothing brings a community together like a collective fever dream fueled by disjointed shitposts. I’m having the best time of my life here.


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