The worst kept secret of Telltale's digital choose-your-own-adventures is that there's really not much choosing involved. While incidental details may change, the main thrust of the story doesn't. That may also be the case for the final episode in Telltale's well received second season of Batman adventures, but while your decisions may eventually lead roughly to the same end, it feels like every call carries extra weight this time, as you help define your personal origin for a truly legendary antagonist.
Concluding Batman: The Enemy Within, the fifth and final episode - Same Stitch - is out now, and its two launch trailers paint two very contrasting pictures of the man who is to become The Joker.
First up, the Vigilante trailer, giving us a look at the softer side of John Doe - enthusiastic but unstable sidekick, just one step away from going over the edge:
And then a look at a more overtly villainous iteration of the character, the casually murderous psychopath that we all know and love:
It's obviously not the most subtle of takes on the Batman, admittedly. Or subtle in the slightest, come to think of it, but it's interesting to see a semi-official Batman story spell it out, straight and clear in the trailers: Maybe the Dark Knight's particular brand of bone-shattering vigilantism isn't the most widely applicable of models for social improvement. In fact, between Batman's spinning Rolodex of villains with grudges and Arkham's weekly scheduled breakouts, probably half of Gotham's crime is targeted at Bruce Wayne directly, one way or another.
The twin trailers do imply that there's going to be somewhat more divide here than your average Telltale finale. While undoubtedly things will go terribly wrong by the end no matter what decisions you make, the path by which you'll create Batman's arch-(fr)enemy seems to be more open than standard Telltale fare, and it'll be interesting to see just how much divergence they can deliver. I've not managed to find time for either this season or the preceeding one, but now both are complete, I'm considering slipping on my darkest pajamas for a few nights of casual crime-fighting.
Episode 5, Same Stitch, is out now for anyone who owns Batman: The Enemy Within, and you can pick up the whole season via Steam, GOG and Telltale store for around the £14/$19 mark. You're probably not going to be able to save the Joker's soul, but you're probably going to try anyway, you big brooding do-gooder, you.