Former Arkham Developer Will "Never Work On A DC Title Again" Due To Connected Universe Plans

DC Studios co-chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran have some big plans for the media brand with a bunch of new titles and projects announced yesterday that were hitherto unknown. We heard about a follow-up to Matt Reeves The Batman and a Joker sequel, and TV shows that will make up Chapter 1, which will include many DC characters from Supergirl to Swamp Thing.

One detail in the DC chiefs plans have stuck in the craw of some however. According to Safran, both he and Gunn intend to ensure that the actors who play certain characters in a movie or TV show will also portray them in other media such as animated shows and presumably video games. The intention is to make the DC universe more cohesive by using the same actors across media, but this idea of using the same actors even in video games has been strongly criticised by game developers and voice actors.

Former Rocksteady developer Del Walker has criticised these plans and vowed to "never work on a DC title ever again" if it goes ahead. Walker was instrumental to the development of the Batman Arkham series, although he is now a senior character artist at Naughty Dog. Key to his criticism is the unique work ethic and effort needed in voice acting (VA) for video games.

Others weighed in under Walker's tweet. Marco Villalpando, a character artist at Insomniac Games agreed with the sentiment, saying, "Yeah, I doubt that'll hold up once the logistics of it dawn on them".

Erika Ishii, who has provided VA for Apex Legend's Valk and Halo Infinite's Lumu, showed their appreciation for Walker's criticism and wrote that they were "heartbroken" over the development. A number have voiced their belief this idea of using the same actors across media is simply unpractical and will be dropped once Gunn and Safran realise the logistics.

"As you said – it's just not possible unless these companies want to shell out an insane amount of money for VO. The budget just isn't there when everything else is considered", wrote Shaun Rees, an associate producer for PlayStation Studios XDEV. It is a stretch to think expensive movie actors are going to put in hours and hours of work in a recording booth for a video game.

However, others have suggested that Gunn and Safran may mean only the mainline DC strand with games perhaps being in the "DC Elseworlds" bracket, a term the DC co-chiefs are using for non-canon works. But it isn't all clear. Gunn has said: "One of our jobs – mine and Peter's is to come in and make sure the DCU is connected in film, television, gaming and animation. That the characters are consistent, played by the same actors, and it works within one story."

But entries such as Matt Reeves' Batman or Todd Phillips' Joker will be labelled as 'DC Elseworlds' to indicate it is outside the DC continuity, Gunn said. For now, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is the only DC-related video game on the horizon so we'll see if the DC Elseworlds label will be applied to that since it is part of Rocksteady's Arkhamverse.

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