Today I will be examining what laws exist inside of Arkham City. The creation of Arkham City was covered in last week’s post. This week we’ll be looking at what happens in the city now that it does exist. This will not be a complete list, but it should be an interesting look at the city.
An obvious thing to get out the way is that fighting is absolutely allowed inside the city. Once again, assault and battery disappear as crimes. This should just be an assumption when you play any video game at this point. Beating people up is an important part of gameplay, even more so when you are the Dark Knight himself. Also the fighting system feels really fluid, it’s real fun.
A more interesting thing to look at is Batman’s first mission when he finds himself locked up in Arkham City. The private military company that keeps order in the city learns that Two-Face has captured Catwoman and is planning on killing her. The man who runs Arkham City, Hugo Strange, tells the private military company to back down. This tells us a lot about the city. Apparently the laws for the city are not written down. These men that are acting as the police in the city had to ask for instructions on what to do when faced with a kidnapping and possible murder. They were then told to do nothing. Apparently kidnapping is legal in Arkham City. There is also the possibility that murder is not a crime, and there is also the possibility that Hugo Strange didn’t want the police to interfere because he wasn’t sure there was enough information that a murder was actually going to occur. That is pretty hard to believe, so it seems safer to assume that murder is fine here.
When Batman gets to the courthouse where Catwoman is being held he finds a henchman with a gun and a lot of his angry friends. Gun laws seem to be pretty lax in Arkham City with open carry laws in force and seemingly no limitations on what type of guns are available to own. Another substance that should probably be controlled but seems unregulated in Arkham City is acid. Two-Face was going to dump Catwoman into a vat of acid. How did Two-Face get his hands on that much acid? Apparently that isn’t too much of a problem here.
When Batman first starts exploring the city a helicopter controlled by the “police” see him on top of a building. They inform their boss Hugo Strange, but he tells them to leave Batman alone and to monitor his progress. No one seems to care that Batman is swinging around for building to building. My guess is that real property is not owned by any inhabitant of Arkham City. They are all prisoners and are not allowed to own any place. This means it is all owned by the city. They apparently have not marked any of it private property where prisoners cannot go because a lot of powerful prisoners have built bases that they operate out of, and Batman is able to travel to wherever he pleases unmolested. So private property, and trespassing are more laws that do not exist in this city.
Next comes spoilers, so if you haven’t played this four year old game and still don’t want to know the plot you shouldn’t read any further. At the end of the game Hugo Strange activated “Protocol 10” which is a systematic destruction of the entire population of Arkham City. The plan is to get rid of the entire criminal element in Gotham by killing everyone in Arkham City. Setting aside reasons this is a bad plan, it also looks like it is illegal in the world Arkham City exists in. Protocol 10 is kept secret the entire playthrough of the game. You know it exists, no one else does, and you don’t know what it actually is. If the forced death sentence of an entire prison population were legal the vast majority of the public would know about it. The prisoners would know their sentences. Judges and juries would have handed out these rulings. There is no way it is legal to change someone’s prison sentence without them knowing about it, just like it is illegal to hold someone without charging them with a crime (in a reasonable amount of time.) What is being done in the city is not allowed in any society and it is thankfully somewhat stopped by Batman.
Arkham City should not call itself a city. It is a mostly lawless wreck of a place. The goal of those who created it is to kill everyone inside of it. I don’t know why they hired a private military company to act as a police force. Why implement any semblance of law and order when your goal is the eradication of a population? This wasteland is a failed experiment that should never have started. At least it was fun to be Batman inside of it.