The Batman: Arkham games rank, along with Insomniac’s Spider-Man games, as the best video game adaptations of a superhero. With the Arkham Saga, Rocksteady Studios combined outstanding free-to-play combat, world-class voice acting, and an inspired take on Gotham City to create an unforgettable collection of superhero action-adventure games.
Although Gotham Knights is not part of the “Arkhamverse”, its release has inspired us to create this timeline of the Batman: Arkham games for those interested in playing (or replaying) the best Batman games.
How many Batman Arkham games are there?
In total there are eight games in the Batman Arkham universe. That number will rise to nine when Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is released in 2023. However, only six of the eight Arkhamverse games are currently playable: two mobile games have been shut down/removed from mobile stores.
The Batman Arkham games in chronological order
Below we have outlined two ways to approach batman arkham games: chronologically by release date or chronologically by narrative. The choice is yours, and both possible paths are outlined below, starting with the narrative timeline.
Considering newcomers to the saga, these brief plot synopses contain only slight spoilerssuch as general plot points and character introductions.
1. Batman: Arkham Origins
The first Arkham game chronologically is 2013’s Batman: Arkham Origins. Set on Christmas Eve in a snow-covered Gotham, Origins stars a less experienced Batman who finds himself with a $50 million bounty on his head, which attracts the attention of Gotham’s best criminals: Joker, Black Mask, Penguin, Mad Hatter, Bane, Deadshot, Firefly and Killer Croc, among others. The ending hints at the reopening of Arkham Asylum, setting up the future events of the Rocksteady game of the same name.
Notably, Origins stars Roger Craig Smith as Batman and Troy Baker as Joker (in his original version), replacing the usual Arkham superstar duo of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. While the Arkhamverse was created by Rocksteady Studios, Origins was developed by Warner Bros. Montréal, the studio that also handled Gotham Knights.
A mobile version of Arkham Origins was also released. Although it plays very differently from its console counterpart -it’s a fighting game developed by the Mortal Kombat studio NeatherRealm-, it follows the same narrative rhythms.
2. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate takes place three months after the events of Origins. Unlike the third-person adventures that make up the main Arkham games, Blackgate is a 2.5D side-scrolling game developed by Armature Studio (Resident Evil 4 VR).
At Blackgate, Batman investigates the prison, where an explosion has freed its inmates. As the Caped Crusader, you explore three main areas, each controlled by one of Gotham’s most notorious villains: Penguin, Black Mask, and Joker. Other prominent characters include Catwoman, Amanda Waller, and Rick Flag.
Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker return to play Batman and Joker.
3. Batman: Arkham Underworld
Batman: Arkham Underworld is a mobile game that puts you as Gotham’s new criminal mastermind, letting you command Batman villains like Harley Quinn, Riddler, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, and Killer Croc. It’s essentially a free-to-play Gotham gang recruiting game, where you build a criminal hideout, recruit henchmen, and fight. Kevin Conroy reprises his role as Batman after the main Arkham trilogy.
Arkham Underworld is set sometime before Arkham Asylum, though it has little relevance to the overall narrative of the Arkhamverse, which is fortunate considering that no longer available for download (Arkham Underworld was shut down in 2017, just a year after its release.)
Batman: Asalto’s Arkham (bonus)
Batman: Assault on Arkham is an animated film set in the Arkhamverse, roughly two years before Arkham Asylum. Those who are only interested in the games can skip the movie without much effect, but those who are interested in the full narrative of the Arkhamverse should check it out – it’s available to stream on HBO Max and turns out to be a pretty entertaining movie.
Like Arkham Underworld, Assault on Arkham focuses on Batman’s adversaries, following Harley, Joker, Riddler and others as they infiltrate Arkham Asylum, ultimately freeing many of its most notorious inmates.
Kevin Conroy returns to voice Batman, while Troy Baker voices Joker. Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad) lends his voice to Black Spider.
4. Batman: Arkham Asylum
Rocksteady’s first Batman game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, introduces us to the Arkhamverse’s version of the Caped Crusader (voiced by Kevin Conroy). It is the fourth game in the timeline, but the first to be released. Mark Hamill’s Joker is the main villain, though the cast of characters also includes Harley Quinn, Commissioner Gordon, Scarecrow, Bane, and Poison Ivy, among others.
With the help of Harley Quinn, Joker infiltrates the asylum to obtain a super strength serum called the Titan. The Clown Prince had planted bombs all over Gotham City, threatening to detonate them if anyone came to Batman’s aid, leaving our hero alone to deal with the asylum escapees.
Arkham Asylum’s story was written by Paul Dini, whose long history with the franchise includes many writing credits on Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond.
5. Batman: Arkham City Lockdown
Released shortly after Arkham City, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown is a fighting game set between the events of Asylum and City. It is the first Arkham mobile game to be released and the second developed by NeatherRealm (the other being the aforementioned Arkham Origins for mobile).
Narratively, Arkham City Lockdown features a bunch of staple Arkham characters, including Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill), Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Penguin, Solomon Grundy, Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Robin, and of course Batman ( voiced by Kevin Conroy). The story focuses on another prison break that Batman must solve.
We are not going to reveal anything, since the plot is relatively inconsequential and Arkham City Lockdown is no longer purchasable: Batman prevails and returns the escaped prisoners to the asylum.
6. Batman: Arkham City
The second game in the Rocksteady saga, Batman: Arkham City takes place a year and a half after Arkham Asylum. Following the events of Asylum, Mayor Quincy Sharp opens Arkham City, a section of Gotham City walled off to house criminals. In Arkham City, Batman confronts the lawless zone as he works to foil a nefarious plot that appears to have been orchestrated by Hugo Strange.
Batman must also deal with a different threat, that of Joker, who is dealing with the effects of the Titan serum he took during the events of Asylum.
Arkham City’s story, like Asylum’s, was written by Paul Dini.
7. Batman: Arkham VR
The only virtual reality game in the series, Batman: Arkham VR is set shortly before the events of Arkham Knight. It is a narrative game focused on detective work in which Batman tries to solve the murder of a close ally.
Given its story-heavy nature, we can’t really say much here, but if you have access to a VR headset, Arkham VR is worth playing, especially given its short run time of around 90 minutes.
The cast includes Robin, Nightwing, Alfred Pennyworth, Penguin, Killer Croc and Joker. Arkham VR stars Conroy’s Batman and Hamill’s Joker.
8. Batman: Arkham Knight
The conclusion to Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy of games, Batman: Arkham Knight ups the ante with the saga’s biggest take on Gotham, its most diverse cast of characters, and the introduction of a fully playable Batmobile.
Arkham Knight is set on Halloween night, presumably less than a year after the events of City. The Scarecrow (voiced by John Noble from The Lord of the Rings) threatens Gotham City with his fear toxin, while a new threat appears in the mysterious Arkham Knight. Batman, for his part, is dealing with internal torment as an effect of the previous games.
All three threads are resolved at the end of Arkham Knight’s roughly 16-hour campaign, though you’ll need to complete 100% to see the true ending of the game.
In addition to Scarecrow, the supporting cast includes Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Barbara Gordon.
9. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Rocksteady’s next game moves away from Batman and Gotham, but is officially “a continuation of the Arkhamverse,” according to the developer. Rocksteady promises that “many of the threads and storylines [de los anteriores juegos de Arkham] they’ll come to fruition.” While it’s unclear how long it’s been since Arkham Knight, those comments clearly indicate that it will be set further into the future than any previous game in the Akrhamverse.
Kill the Justice League focuses on Task Force X, as players explore Metropolis as Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, or King Shark. It will be out in the second quarter of 2023.
How to play the Batman Arkham games in order of release
- Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
- Batman: Arkham City (2011)
- Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (2011)
- Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)
- Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (2013)
- Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)*
- Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
- Batman: Arkham Underworld (2016)
- Batman: Arkham VR (2016)
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (2023)