By now most of you who were going to buy and play this game would have already gone through the story mode already. Some of you might have even already gotten all 243 Riddler challenges completed at witnessed the 100% Completion ending. I however have only seen the pseudo Knightfall ending. You know, the one that tells you to “Complete all the Riddler challenges to see the TRUE ending”? Yeh… that pissed me off so much. Not going to beat around the bush about it either. At least the other games actually gave you an ending and from there you can go around Gotham doing whatever you wanted to collect everything. Not this one! Oh, no of course not! Now Rocksteady found a reason to make us want to collect everything to get the true ending. Meanwhile the rest of us just caved and hit up YouTube to see it.
At the time of this writing I’m 103/243 riddles solved. Needless to say, I was one who caved and YouTubed the 100% Completion ending. At first I was pretty pissed off and felt no resolve, no deserved conclusion but just more questions. That is until I dug around a bit more, read more into it, re-watched it a few more times, held a scowled face as I grew ever tedious collecting trophies and solving riddles. I dug a little deeper and found a video that puts the 100% ending in more context. I watched a clip of when you go back to the Orphanage where The Riddler is in hiding, waiting for you to have collected all his scatters Riddler-bits across Gotham. After one final battle Nigma is defeated and Batman places him into his Batmobile’s rear custody. Catwoman and Batman have one last moment together.
Catwoman: Thanks, Selina, for the daring, last-minute rescue. It was very heroic.
Batman: It was under control.
Catwoman: Sure it was. Now be a good damsel and bestow a kiss on your gallant hero.
Batman: (Holds Catwoman away as she goes in for a kiss. She attemps to strike him but Batman grabs her arm.) Play nice.
Catwoman: You’re not playing at all.
Batman: No, I’m not. Not anymore.
Catwoman: And what’s that supposed to mean?
Batman: It means this is the end, Selina. It means we can’t… I can’t…
Catwoman: I will see you again, right? (Edging closer to Batman)
Batman: No-one will. Gotham needs something more, something worse… to defend her. She needs a new myth, a legend more powerful than I can be right now. A legend that can only rise from the ashes of the Batman.
Catwoman: (Still holding his hand) Somethings you can’t do alone Bruce. (They embrace and kiss)
Batman: (cuts the kiss short) And some things you have to.
Catwoman: Call if you need me.
Batman: (walking towards Batmobile) I won’t.
Catwoman. I know, I just wanted to say it.
This whole part makes the 100% ending that much clearer, yet there is still more to make sense of. I will now explain what the final ending essentially contains.
We see Batman, now satisfied that all the villains are locked away at GCPD, bids farewell to Commissioner Gordon and tells Alfred to activate the Knightfall protocol. Batman drops his cowl at the step of the Bat-Signal and launches up in the Bat-Wing, as he flies off the Bat-Signal auto destructs.
We cut to Wayne Manor which is now swarmed with media, Vicky Vale reporting on the recent reveal of Bruce Wayne being the Batman. Suddenly the Bat-Wing zooms overhead and lands in the front yard of Wayne Manor, the media watching behind the estate gates. Batman walks up the stairs to Alfred who asks Bruce one last time if he is sure he wants to go through with this, to which Bruce replies, “I’ve got to. It’s the only way to protect them.”
We cut again to Vicky Vale reporting explaining about Bruce Wayne now known to be Batman entering Wayne Manor as the front door closes and at that moment Wayne Manor explodes in a ball of flames and rubble. As the camera pans over the top of the burning rubble the Batman logo bursts out of the flames and a narration from Commissioner Gordon starts:-
Gordon: This is how it ends. This is how the Batman died.
We now move forward in time, a lot has changed, the Gotham streets are clear, Gordon is now Mayor of Gotham. He stands atop GCPD looking at the destroyed Bat-Signal, lighting up his pipe.
Gordon: A friend once told me that criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. That the only way to beat them was to give them something to be scared of. I understand now. As his world grew darker, so did ours. When his war ended, our lives could begin again. He set us free. To live. To love.
(Gordon gets a text from Tim Drake: *Don’t forget the ring* in font of a wallpaper of he and Barbara Gordon)
Gordon: (cut to Gordon riding back seat in a limo around Gotham) There was an inquest of course. Hundreds of suspects. Who killed Bruce Wayne? I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Cut to a scene of a wealthy family, mother, father and son, in a familiar setting leaving a theater and taking the alley as a shortcut.
Gordon: So what’s next? Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. What happens when they have nothing to be scared of?
The family are followed into the alley and met at gun point.
Gordon: Who will protect Gotham now the Batman is dead?
The criminals (the game subtitles notes they’re of the Two Face gang) knock out the father, threaten the woman and child, rip the pearl beaded necklace from the woman as they fall to the pavement. One of the criminals turns around to see a silhouette of a familar shape on a near-by roof top. The thug exclaims:-
Thug: Hey freak! Maybe you missed the news. Batman is dead! That look don’t scare us no more.
The shadowy figure begins to float upward and give off some type of smokey aura.
Thug: What the hell?!
Suddenly a giant pair of bat wings burst out from this figure, the world around them turns to fire as the buildings crumble. The criminals start to scream in fear as the demonic like bat creature lunges towards them. End scene.
Pretty intense stuff right? Now you’re probably thinking, so what? Lame ending to a great franchise! Admitted I was of that mindset until I started to think about it more deeply.
It’s quite simple, I won’t try and monologue about it, I’m just going to come right out and say what just happened with this whole ending.
Batman, realizing after all these years of struggle he’s finally captured all the villains in Gotham, however at the sacrifice of his own and his loved ones safety. He’s had experience with Scarecrow’s fear toxin in the first game, and specially this last game. He got injected with it like 3 times before defeating Scarecrow and “Mind Joker”. Upon injecting Scarecrow with his own toxin, Scarecrow became insanely fearful of how he now saw Batman as a demonic like beast out for vengeance, for which the game allows us to see through Crane’s eyes, Scarecrow wasn’t afraid of Batman at all throughout this entire game until this point.
When Batman secures The Riddler and has his last moment with Catwoman, we basically hear exactly what Batman has in mind with what his Knightfall protocol is. He’s going to make the world believe both Bruce Wayne and Batman are dead. Check. Allow the world to carry on without him and let the people of Gotham live. We see this with Tim and Barb getting married and Gordon become Mayor. Check. Then with the final part of seeing a mirroring of the fateful night where Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed in an alleyway, there was something to stop it from happening this time.
That imposing demon like figure that scared the thugs senseless, IS BATMAN. He has taken the whole “fear” aspect to a whole new level. He’s giving Gotham something worse than he ever was, a legend far more powerful than Batman. You can tell by the world turning to fire, that signature orange/yellow/intense lighting that is usually shown to us by those under the influence of Scarecrow’s fear toxin that somehow Batman is now using a similar toxin himself to strike fear into criminals of Gotham. He is no longer a man, no mortal ties, but a myth, a legend, a creature of the night. What better way to think that the Batman now lurks in permanent darkness after his own death than to come back at would be criminals as an ethereal beast from the shadows using fear toxin. He no longer has to show himself as a man, or a real person. The BATMAN is now the myth to protect Gotham.
This is just my theory and I hope you followed me along my way through explaining it to you. You might think I’m clutching at straws and trying to make it sound more than what it is, but again this is what I took from it, you may fair differently. Let us know what you think of my theory or if you have any of your own you would like to share.