Robin’s Hood: Harley Quinn’s Revenge Trailer Goes Batty

By Nathan Grayson on May 18th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Is it me, or has American football gotten more violent lately?
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that sidekicks have a purpose. They are, after all, easily kidnapped by arch-nemeses, generally ineffective unless dwelling in their natural habitat of the hero’s shadow, and rarely capable of putting together a costume that doesn’t implicitly beg for a super-powered swirly. I have to say, though, that Batman: Arkham City’s Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC looks pretty promising. Robin’s doing his best Ezio impression while searching for his missing Batmentor, and Harley Quinn seems to have completely lost it, which has apparently put her in a bit more of a murdering mood than usual. Admittedly, the “Payback’s a bitch” tagline seems a bit ill-advised given Arkham City’s less-than-savory history with the word, but the rest looks rather impressive. Grapple past the break for the full trailer.

The DLC’s release date is still sadly TBD on PC – especially given that it’s not even dropping on consoles until September outside the US. And so, at this point, we can only watch, wait, and be ever vigilant. Or we can tab back over to Diablo III.

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58 Comments »

  1. DanPryce says:

    I can’t come up with a good joke for it: 0:46 looks like Robin is stuffing that stun stick up that guy’s behind.

  2. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    People in gaming journalism offended by the word “bitch” in Arkham City count: 2 (that’s after the Kotaku link)

    • woodsey says:

      I don’t really get it. It’s a city full of exceptionally violent, twisted criminals. Of course they say “bitch”.

      If Batman and Gordon started started throwing it out like it was going out of fashion then yeah, THAT would be odd.

      • AndrewC says:

        Please apply this ‘that’s what would really happen’ logic to anything else in the game and see how it turns out.

        • woodsey says:

          The language makes sense for the context and the age rating. There’s nothing out of the ordinary or bizarre about those characters being misogynistic and sexist and derogatory.

          Your argument’s irrelevant; we’re not talking about anything else in the game or about making it as realistic as possible, we’re talking about whether that language was appropriate and justifiable. It was.

          • Harvey says:

            I think if we’re all honest when having an argument like this it really boils down us having a feeling about what is appropriate, what WE enjoy, then attempting to rationalize these feelings in to some silly sense of what can or should be true in an imaginary universe. Some people aren’t bothered by it, some people are. There’s certainly no need to go into this argument again, since it’s been done to death.

            I really like the Batman franchise, but that all the talk about the use of ‘bitch’ and accusations of mysoginy have put me off buying Arkham City so far, though GFWL plays a part in that as well. It’s not even that there’s cursing really that bothers me, I curse all the time. More like I feel that the cursing seems, from the descriptions, so childish. Eh, I’m rambling now. Whatever, carry on.

          • jezcentral says:

            I can’t believe I’m going to day this, but….GFWL doesn’t get in your way of playing this game. I bought it despite GFWL, and had no problems with it, largely because they don’t seem to do anything with it.

            Ugh, I’m going to lie down now, after washing my mouth out with soap and water.

          • Harvey says:

            I’d heard that GFWL had deleted saves and such. Were you just lucky or did they fix it along with DX11 issues?

          • Urthman says:

            Judging from the rest of the game, Rockstar includes realistic stuff if it is fun. They throw out realism if something unrealistic is fun. The criteria for whether something is in the game is not whether it’s realistic. It’s whether or not it’s fun.

            Therefore, Rockstar thinks listening to criminals call women “bitches” constantly is fun. Not everyone agrees.

          • theblazeuk says:

            This whole line of reasoning seems to invalidate any claim you could possibly make that videogames have artistic merit as well as gameplay mechanics. Not that the inclusion of swearing and insults make Arkham City artistic, but that this argument seems completely ludicrous if you apply it to any other form of popular entertainment.

            Lets pretend:
            “The criteria for whether something is in the movie is not whether it’s realistic. It’s whether or not it’s fun Therefore, Quentin Tarantino thinks calling black people/germans/jews/mexicans/women/gays/etc… is fun. Not everyone agrees.”

            Just seems like either its a storm in a teacup or videogames really are a special case for sensitivity and censorship.

      • Nogo says:

        Just because you’d reasonably expect characters to use certain language doesn’t instantly make it a good idea to have them say it. Arkham City unquestionably made a lot of poor decisions in regards to their treatment of females, and frankly it’s kind of sad that people feel the need to argue against that at all; what is there to be gained other than the right to continue marginalizing the opinions of people who aren’t like you?

        If you’re interested in games taking on a broader audience, or you’re simply against lazy, dumb design then please read this highly entertaining general response from FILM CRITIC HULK: http://filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/hulk-vs-arkham-city-round-2-bitches-be-trippin/

        • Stephen Roberts says:

          I hope all of you read that Film Crit Hulk writing. To make it easier you can copy it into word and do sentence caps on the whole thing (fuck knows why such a good writer feels the need to keep up the ridiculous pastiche but there you have it).

          Film Crit Hulk, really, really knows what he’s saying in a way that’s glaringly absent from a better part of the entire human race. More importantly, Film Crit Hulk is writing in an attempt to actually get you to understand and see why what he’s saying is so ridiculously important for this and every day of the rest of your lives. I can’t even make convincing a small post encouraging you to read his essay but that’s understandable. I’m an idiot. But at least I’m trying.

    • byteCrunch says:

      More offended by the Kotaku link to be honest.

      • Matt7895 says:

        This!

        If the good guys in Batman: Arkham City (Batman, Robin, Alfred, Oracle, Gordon, Aaron Cash, Vicki Vale and to a lesser extent Catwoman) started saying ‘bitch’ as casually as the villains do, then maybe you and Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton would have a point. But they don’t.

        Nasty people say ‘bitch’, they say much worse things about women too, you should get used to it. They aren’t meant to be role models. The heroes are, and they aren’t misogynists.

        It is a problem that so many people in the real world use words like ‘bitch’ so casually, so it is right that nasty people are shown to use it and the good guys don’t.

        If you don’t ever want to hear the word ‘bitch’, there are plenty of other games out there for you to play.

        This post is addressed to Nathan Grayson, by the way.

        • FootlingSummers says:

          I’m sure the majority of people who found the games use of the word “bitch” to be distasteful (myself included) were already pissed off by how ridiculously sexualized Catwoman was. In my opinion, it shows a real lack of respect for women on the developers part. Im not trying to start a debate or anything, just throwin that out there.

          • MegaAndy says:

            That’s the character she has been sexualized in all films etc

          • byteCrunch says:

            I do not really see why the use of the word “bitch” is distasteful given the context, Batman has a “dark” setting it seems perfectly logical that villains would make use of strong language.

            The word is hardly being used casually, then you may have point otherwise you’re making something out of nothing.

          • LazyLemming says:

            Isn’t that…. catwoman? She’s always been very sexual. Whether in the comics or the movies she’s been and will be designed to inspire lust. Hell her character often uses that very fact to her advantage. Even in the cartoon she’s very flirty. The only difference I see between Arkham City catwoman and Batman Return’s catwoman is an impossible lack of nipple slips.

            The whole overuse of “Bitch” only annoys me because common thugs only have like 5 sayings and never shut the hell up. COULD it have been avoided? Of course. But Arkham City’s target audience was adults (Granted, slightly immature ones…) who should be able to take away “These are criminal low life’s whose attitudes I should not emulate.”

            And if your kid gets a hold of the game, tell him Batman’s punching these jerks in the face for disrespecting women. Everyone wants to be Batman.

    • Blaaaaaaag says:

      Are we keeping a tally of those bothered but not offended? To me it shows a lack of creativity. I haven’t played the game yet, so perhaps there’s enough other dialogue that it doesn’t feel like it’s overused, but based on the Kotaku link, it seems it is. There are plenty of other nasty substitutes they could’ve tossed in here and there… I’ve come up with about 5 just in the minute it took to type this paragraph. If they’d included some of the ones I’m thinking of, the games rating probably would’ve jumped up to an M, but that’s probably what it should be anyway. Not sure why it’s okay for 14 year olds to be bombarded with so many ‘bitches’, but not the other epithets I’ve got in mind.

      • Jackablade says:

        That’s my thinking too. The point it’s most notable in is a Catwoman mission after the main campaign where you go after Harvey Dent in the museum. It’s a sizable room with Dent in the middle and a bunch of goons milling about and one that takes a while to traverse.

        In that sequence you’ll hear the word “bitch” so frequently that it goes from being noticeable to rather comically excessive through to “come on guys, this is just poor writing now”.

        I’d suggest it’s more a case of the scene not having had the time and polish of the main campaign, given it’s something that occurs after the game proper that significantly fewer players are likely to see.

        I’m looking forward to the media firestorm that this DLC generates when Harley’s “condition” becomes more apparent.

    • MSJ says:

      It’s really hard for me to feel disturbed by the inmates calling her that, when Catwoman is frequently kicking their asses. Oh, having a bit of a potty mouth are we? Let Selena wash them, with her boot and whip and a takedown special.

    • H77 says:

      It is consistent with the setting. It’s a bit like being against foul language in the Sopranos. Perfectly reasonable for them to blow someone’s head off but not to say “fuck”.

  3. Latterman says:

    1. What a horrible Soundtrack.

    2. Funny to see Robin in the Dark Knight games, considering Christian Bale stated he’d only play Batman in the movies if Robin wasn’t in them.

    • N'Al says:

      These games don’t have anything to do with the movies, though, do they (and vice versa)?

      • woodsey says:

        No, they don’t. Have you seen Nolan’s Batman films Latterman?

  4. DickSocrates says:

    Once upon a time I would have been excited for this. Then Rocksteady utterly botched the PC release (and to be fair, the console release too, but to a lesser extent), handled community relations extremely poorly by being completely silent and taking absolutely agest to acknowledge any problems and then even longer to fix them; and then I played the game and it was merely ok, with a crap end. AND the whole bitch thing, which makes this trailer even more mind boggling. Are they really that… dumb? Maybe that’s the answer, the writer(s)/producer(s) might actually being idiots. Paul Dini is beloved by Bat-fans because his Batman:TAS episodes weren’t quite as dreadful as the other episodes.

    I’ve lost faith in Rocksteady, goodness know what the sequel will be like. They can’t make another game like this, I assume they go true open world, but it will still have poor plotting and a highly suspect and not very Batman-like atmosphere (Arkham City is one of the most unpleasant game worlds I’ve ever been in), and will be the final step away from everything that made Arkham Asylum great: the Metroid structure.

    • magnus says:

      Two words; ‘Face’ and ‘Palm’.

    • woodsey says:

      “and not very Batman-like atmosphere (Arkham City is one of the most unpleasant game worlds I’ve ever been in)”

      And that’s un-Batman like… how?

    • David Shute says:

      I’m glad someone else feels the same way about the tone of the game – Batman needs a bit of darkness, sure, but the world of Arkham City (especially the audio logs and text lore,) just felt like a relentless onslaught of needless gleeful sadism – it makes the Christian Bale films, and Dark Knight Returns, and Killing Joke, all seem like cheerful works of optimism by comparison.

      There’s a point, somewhere around the hundredth nonchalant account of some minor villain torturing a completely innocent bystander to death, where I started to side with Hugo Strange. Why am I trying to save this nightmarish town anyway?

      • PopeBob says:

        I’ve no idea what Batman universe you’re accustomed to, but none of the villains have ever been even close to kindly or sane or life-preserving. They’re enveloped in a cartoonish glee offered by the ridiculousness of their characters, but those characters respectively have never been anything but murderers and sadists. Fries, maybe, comes close to being almost sane- but he is a fellow who encases his enemies in ice, such that they cannot breathe and only ever survive due to fantastical pulls.

        The game is free of almost all of the mirth offered by most Batman adaptations, save in the case of the Joker. It is also steeped in the low-born thuggery of the mooks you beat up on and their banter rather than the villains’ insane monologuing, and that can certainly bring the whole experience down in tone. But overall I wouldn’t call Arkham City exceptionally more dark than plenty of Batman stories, just a longer exposure to the setting and its rogues’ sins.

        • David Shute says:

          Well, as I said, quite a few of them – particularly the darker comic stories (Batman’s surely more at home in a dystopian crime-ridden Gotham rather than the golden-age optimistic superhero version,) but even the very darkest comic stories never revelled in casual torture and murder in the way that Arkham City does. At least, not without undercutting the horror with a cartoonish wink.

          Yeah, most of the villians are cruel and sadistic, but the stories generally aren’t. It’s to do with context: There’s a difference between showing particular narratively important moments of brutality, and rolling out a series of casual, throwaway (even sometimes comic!) references to torture and rape, simply to demonstrate how grimdark the world you’ve built is. As much as I liked the game (and I really did,) it’s lazy, ugly world-building, which really detracted from my investment in the story.

          • aethereal says:

            The game still isn’t as dark as Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Now THAT was dark.

          • David Shute says:

            @aethereal: In a wider social commentary way, I completely agree – Dark Knight Returns took place in a hugely depressing world. But the brutal aspects of that world served a clear purpose: To imagine Batman’s place in a world far darker than the silly superhero world that he’d inhabited before. The brutality of Arkham City has no such point – it’s purely a gratuitous cavalcade of nihilism, without any of the social commentary or narrative importance. It’s darkness for darkness’ sake.

            Ah, maybe I’m getting a little too wrapped up in polemic. I’ll stop now. To sum up: I’ll probably buy the DLC and like it, I just wish the world these games took place in was a little more grown up and thoughtful.

  5. Jhoosier says:

    I should really get around to playing Arkham City one of these days. I just finished Arkham Asylum 2 weeks ago.

    • magnus says:

      Yes it is very good idea and I REALLY like the dark atmosphere.

  6. Kodeen says:

    Re: The image alt-text. An American referring to football as American football? An outrage, I say! There is only one football, and it is played with the hands.

  7. dreadguacamole says:

    So – is the “bitch” in the tagline referring to Harley or Robin?
    Because if it refers to the movie Payback, I need to have some stern words with the folks at Rocksteady…

  8. Bhazor says:

    Twilight Sparkle has gone crazy again.

    Friendship is a bitch.

  9. Matt7895 says:

    Great viewpoint on the ‘bitch’ controversy here: http://www.gamefront.com/batman-arkham-city-is-sexist/

  10. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    DLC is out in EU on consoles Wednesday 30th May. Its only the GOTY edition is not out in EU until 7th Sept with no date set for PC either but Rocksteady are promising to announce something soon as its apparently hard to anonunce on PC due to them having to communicate with various US based depts of WB Games!!!!!!! or more like PC DLC leaked in torrent form weeks before being sold so perhaps this time they want to ensure that does not happen again!!

  11. CVraden says:

    God, does every new trailer have to use that awful noise in their soundtracks?

  12. ImOnTheRadio says:

    Why didn’t she use the bat in this video? She seemed like she was a mad good batter when he hit Batman. He could Harley even see the swing coming at him. I’m sure the hit Bruced him up quite badly.

  13. celozzip says:

    so are pc gamers getting this soon or do we have to wait for the goty?

    also, nathan GRAYSON. seriously? hahaha!

  14. Radiant says:

    Arch-nemeses or arch-nemesis?
    Are they really arch if there are more than one?

    If you leant a number of arch-nemesis together and used a final key arch-nemeses to hold the structure from toppling would they be arched-nemesis? Or indeed nemeses.

    What would happen if I just stopped ty

  15. Jamesworkshop says:

    Swear words is a tricky subject as they don’t all find the same offence level, I think it was a rum doings pod-cast where they brought up the American English Bastard as being so mild that it’s considered prime time and hardly registers as a swearword which is nothing like the very strong reaction you can get when using it in Britain.

    • MD says:

      Are you sure about this, and/or British? (Just checking, because the seriousness of ‘bastard’ to British ears is new to me, and before I internalise this lesson I want to make sure it’s correct! I’m Australian, and we tend to see ourselves as speaking something far closer to British English than to American English, so things like this often take me by surprise.)

  16. Dilapinated says:

    People consistently talking about realism in Arkham City is deeply amusing. Even if we reduce our field of view down to just the convict’s behavior it’s still ridiculous. All prisoners in AC who aren’t political activists are musclebound psychopaths who’d eagerly go toe-to-toe with a guy literally brimming with weapons and known to be one of the best fighters in the world. When they’re not standing around talking about how much they love kicking puppies and drowning kittens, that is.

    I’m not saying prison populations are sunshine and kittens, but it takes a cursory knowledge to realise that most people in prison would not act like the above. So these are characters who are already comical carictures of real people. They are not realistic convicts. So, given this fictional basis, the question is why misogyny would be included as part of that. Saying they’re just foul-mouthed and cruel is also inaccurate; Their favourite insult when you’re playing Batman? Freak. Bat-Freak, sometimes. The worst Batman gets is “I’m going to cut that mask off your face”. This is all pretty PG-12 so far. Compare that with Catwoman getting called ‘bitch’ every 30 seconds, being threatened with rape, etc.

    So, unless we’re going to argue that the fictional psycho-convicts are just plain polite to Batman while they’re trying to cave his skull in, or that Catwoman emenates a Grimdark-Field that warps reality around her (from her cleavage, maybe?), there’s a clear double-standard at play in how the two characters are treated.

    FWIW, I enjoyed Arkham City a lot. I felt it built upon it’s predecessor well, and the re-imagined villains were great. Things can have good and bad points. AC is one of them. This is also the first DLC that’s tempted me for this game. Map packs and reskins.. Egh, pass. More narrative is like a shiny thing on a fishing line, though.

    • Yglorba says:

      That struck me, too. If they’re going to shout misogynistic slurs at Catwoman, why aren’t they shouting homophobic ones at Batman? In my experience, the two tend to go together.

      (I mean, Seduction of the Innocent, man. People call him worse in the real world. Seriously, you’d expect it to be just a nonstop string of homophobic slurs from the moment they see him. Not that real-world people ever seem to need a sane reason to use words like that as a slur, of course.)

      I suspect that at least part of the reason is because they’re aiming the game primarily at young males, and realize that most of that audience wouldn’t want to have homophobic slurs directed at their in-game avatar. Which says all that needs to be said, really.

      Aside: What I’d really like to see, in the next Batman game, is two crooks who deconstruct this in background dialog, Benny the Guard style. Like, you’re sneaking along and you hear one of them saying how he’s totally going to get that Catwoman bitch, when his partner immediately goes — “hey, shut up, you can’t call her that!” And they proceed to have an extended argument about gender-based slurs, about whether they’re conforming to (and perpetuating) cliched stereotypes of rough machismo that they’ve internalized from the mass-media and what those stereotypes mean, with the objecting guard citing various feminist authors or talking about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, etc.

      Oh man. Now I’m really hoping someone does this.

  17. bill says:

    a costume that doesn’t implicitly beg for a super-powered swirly.

    English skills do not compute…. ??? But it sounds dodgy…

  18. f69 says:

    I just find it interesting how the word bitch is higher on the list of offensiveness than direct death threats and broken limbs.

    How can anyone be ok with one but not the other?