A wall covered in writing in Batman Arkham Knight that baffled thousands of players for months was a brazen Easter Egg teasing October’s Arkham VR. It was hiding nearly in plain sight for nine months, ever since development studio Rocksteady snuck it into Arkham Knight via some DLC in January.
Spoilers follow, of course.
The wall outlines the plot of the Arkham VR game, though thankfully doesn’t spoil the mystery in the VR game.
It does lay out the stakes, establishing that there is a murder, raising the question of whether the victim knew his killer, mentioning the Penguin, underlining the word “shrapnel” and referencing “bodies in the morgue.”
In Arkham VR, Batman comes across what appears to be the murdered body of his ally Nightwing, has reason to think the victim knew his killer, winds up grilling the Penguin about it and then examines bodies in a morgue to find shrapnel. Later, he visits a prison.
None of the details on the wall made sense to Arkham Knight players when they discovered the board in January of this year. That’s when Knight’s six or so months of DLC ended with the release of fan-favorite challenge maps from earlier Arkham games. One of those was a hero-vs.-thugs contest set in Wayne Manor that Rocksteady brought back from 2011's Arkham City but with a little hidden extra.
Gamers who played the map in Arkham Knight immediately noticed that they were prompted to play the piano in Wayne Manor. Playing it caused wood paneling behind the piano to open and reveal the wall covered in notes.
It wasn’t clear what the wall meant. The video of the hidden wall has generated more than 400,000 clicks and dozens of baffled comments from fans speculating about what it might tease.
Many Arkham fans hoped it might involve a forthcoming Batman game. There is precedent. Rocksteady boldly hid a room in 2009's Arkham Asylum that teased the plot of 2011's Arkham City, as this video demonstrates:
It’s not clear who first made the Knight-VR connection, but a Redditor did spot it yesterday, drawing our attention to it as well. It’s a remarkable bit of teasing but also a hint at how Arkham VR came about.Rocksteady creative director Sefton Hill told Kotaku at E3 that Arkham VR wasn’t a project that the studio had planned for a long time and said it became something bigger the more they worked on it. The Easter Egg that Knight now has for Arkham VR also wasn’t in Knight for a long time. It was added in the game’s final DLC, long after the main game’s June 2015 release. It’s plausible that Rocksteady wasn’t even planning Arkham VR when they launched Knight and therefore didn’t have a future Batman game to even tease at the time.
Now, of course, one wonders what secrets Arkham VR is hiding. Rocksteady has said they’re done with the Arkham series, but would they hide something in their latest release that would tease what they’re doing next? Nobody would put it past them.