Batman: Arkham Knight is the fourth main installment of the Batman Arkham series. The games are based on the DC Comics hero Batman, nine months after the events of Batman: Arkham City. Batman this time is dealing with Scarecrow, who has launched the attack on Gotham City, causing chaos and evacuation of the citizens with the help of the mysterious Arkham Knight, who wants to destroy Batman once and for all. However, the ending of this glorious franchise showed us Bruce Wayne blowing his the Wayne Manor in the air in front of hundreds of journalists. In this article, we will analyze did Batman really die at the end of Arkham Knight?
Bruce Wayne did not die in the explosion of the Wayne Manor. Firstly, because Alfred was there, Bruce would never hurt Alfred. Secondly, because he needed to “kill” Bruce Wayne and Batman to protect his loved ones, in this case, his family, Tim Drake, and Barbara Gordon – Robin and Oracle. The last mission of the series is called Knightfall which overshadows Batman’s demise, but then in the last scene, we see a Batman figure attacking criminals in the alley? That is Bruce’s Batman for sure.
We will analyze the plot of the series, villains, and ultimately, the last mission of the series, Knightfall Protocol, with, of course, the last scene of the game, which was a point of many discussions over the years. If you are interested in our take on the Arkham Knight’s ending, stick with us until the end of the article.
The Plot of the Batman: Arkham Series
To explain and understand what happened at the end of the Arkham Knight game, we need to understand the context of the ending and the events that led to it. As we already mentioned, Batman: Arkham Knight is the fourth installment of the Batman Arkham series of games, which was the end of this particular story of Batman in the Arkham series.
Everything started with Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game that came out of nowhere but became one of the best action-adventure games of this century. It was fresh, new game mechanics were shown, and the story and characters were impeccable. The story follows Batman, who catches Joker but the lunatic decides to seize the Arkham Asylum and trap Batman with his foes that he sent there over the years.
The Batman: Arkham City only continued the success of the first game. This time, the story is a continuation of the previous game, but this time, Batman discovers Arkham City, a super-prison enclosing the decaying urban slums of Gotham City. Batman gets incarcerated there and starts investigating what sinister things the warden of the prison, Hugo Strange, did. The game introduces a new playable character, Catwoman who has her own storyline as well. Another absolutely amazing game.
Batman: Arkham Origins changed the developers and unfortunately, did not fulfill the expectation of the fans. The game was a prequel to the Arkham series this time instead of the continuation of the series storylines, and even if it did show some cool features, the story and characters did not satisfy.
Finally, The Arkham Knight came back strong, and this time, the story continues nine months after the Arkham City storyline. Joker is dead, but Scarecrow comes to Gotham City and released the fear gas all over the city. Batman finds out that Joker’s blood was used in blood transfusions, infecting five people including Batman. The victims experience transformation into Joker mentally and physically and Batman throughout the whole game hallucinates Joker, who is fighting to take over.
After a few rescue missions and a game of cat and mouse, it is revealed that Scarecrow is working with Arkham Knight, a vigilante that assembled all Batman’s villains to attack him and kill him. After rescuing Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon is kidnapped by Arkham Knight who is revealed to be Jason Todd, once a Robin to Batman, and his adopted son, who was tortured and seemingly murdered by Joker. Jason blames Batman for abandoning him and escapes after refusing his once mentors’ help.
Bruce is captured by Scarecrow to save Robin and Gordon and exposed in front of the whole world as Batman, with being injected with fear toxins, which brought us one of the coolest gameplay sequences in recent years – Batman fights an internal battle between giving up himself to Joker or beating him. Batman overcomes Joker and in turn injects Scarecrow with fear toxins, and ironically, his biggest fear is bats.
Now we get to the point of the plot that is overshadowing what is Bruce going to do.
Does Batman Really Die in Arkham Knight? (Full Explanation)
After Scarecrow is defeated and Arkham Knight (Jason Todd) rescues Batman, Bruce thinks about what is he going to do after his identity was blown to the whole world. He understands that there is no coming back from this and the target on his back just goes bigger tenfold. After contacting Alfred and telling him to prepare for “Knightfall Protocol”, Batman ensures Gotham is safe, says goodbye to Catwoman, and goes to Wayne Manor which has hundreds of journalists standing in front of his home’s gates.
After Alfred asks him if he is sure about his decision, Bruce replies that there is no other choice and that the Protocol needs to commence. After Vicki Vale, the journalist is seen to be vigorously reporting with other journalists in front of the Wayne Manor, the explosion occurs, and seemingly Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth are dead.
Famous Wayne Manor is destroyed and Bruce Wayne is no more. However, the game does not end there – another scene is shown at the end of Batman: Arkham Knight. In someplace in Gotham City, two muggers confront a family that suspiciously resembles the Wayne family that was killed and the legend of Batman was born. Muggers attempt to attack the family, but all of a sudden a shadowed figure looms above them.
Muggers tell the mysterious figure off and tell it that they are not afraid of Batman anymore. A Batman-like figure disintegrates into bats and attacks the muggers, suspiciously looking like a figure from someone’s nightmares.
The ending confused some players but most of them who actually know about Batman agree that Bruce is actually alive. The ending was smart since the game threw in a few callbacks to Batman’s origin story and was able to pay off the overshadowing that happened earlier in the game. We see throughout the game that Batman has struggled a lot, especially after Joker died.
Joker’s contaminated blood did not help the cause and the encounter with Jason as Arkham Knight only made things worse. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back, was when Batman’s associates/family were kidnapped to just blackmail him. Gordon, Robin, and even Jason were harmed because the villains wanted to get to Batman and use them to break him.
After he let Scarecrow kidnap him, Batman already knew what he had to do – the needed to reveal himself to the world to save his family and to find an excuse to push the “reset” button.
We find out that the “Knighfall Protocol” was a way to terminate Bruce Wayne/Batman if necessary. Bruce told Alfred much earlier to prepare everything, and in the end, they had to execute it. They seemingly were destroyed in the explosion.
So there are a few speculations about what happened. Some fans suggested that Bruce and Alfred disappeared or died and that the hooded figure at the end was either Dick Grayson or Jason Todd, taking over the mantle of Batman. Personally, that is a stretch because Bruce would never harm Alfred, and Dick and Jason do not have a strong case for themselves to take over the mantle in the Arkham series.
The second speculation was focused on Bruce and Alfred surviving, presumably hiding in the Bat Cave under the Manor, and leaving the city for some time. Fast forward to the scene of the mugging, which replicates Batman’s origin story but this time hooded figure stops the tragedy from happening. After the muggers say that they are not scared of Batman anymore, all of a sudden a hooded figure dismembers into bats and attacks the muggers like a demon on fire.
There is a huge probability that the hooded figure was Batman who uses Scarecrow’s fear toxins to instill fear into Gotham’s criminals once again. The fear factor was heavily featured and referenced throughout the game, so it would not be surprising if the writers wanted to pay off this important part of the story once more.
In the end, Bruce sacrificed Batman and “Bruce Wayne” for a reason – to protect his family and the city he always vowed to protect.
Thankfully, this amazing franchise is not done and Rocksteady announced a new game from Arkham series called Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League which will be released in early 2023. Honestly, we cannot wait for it, even though this will be the first game without Batman involved… or is he? We will find out soon enough.