Sometimes I feel like every intellectual property should take at least a cursory spin through the 1800s just to see what sticks. Taking modern characters and stories and putting them in the Victorian era seems at the very least intriguing enough to conceptualize and maybe eventually fully realize once everyone comes to their senses and remembers why steampunk took off in the first place.
Perhaps that is why Elseworlds series from DC Comics is still going (and fairly successful), among which lies Gotham by Gaslight, one of—if not the—best of the Elseworlds titles. The non-canonical one-shot features an 1880s Bruce Wayne coming back from a European jaunt with the intent of becoming Batman back in Gotham. Unfortunately, he did not come back alone: a murder points to the fact that Jack the Ripper may have also crossed the pond to Wayne’s hometown.
If you think this sounds pretty f’ing dope, then you’re not alone. F.E.A.R. 3 developers Day 1 Studios had been planning to make a video game of Gotham By Gaslight and bring the 19th century crimefighter to a console or computer near you. If you’re also thinking “wait, didn’t they also make MechAssault and Fracture?,” just remember that Day 1 also made the original F.E.A.R., a game steeped so hard in atmosphere and mood you’d think they were making a cup of the most weep-inducing cup of tea in the world. Just watch this video of some prototype gameplay and see if you think they pull it off.
Personally, I think it looks great. The environment makes me feel like I’m playing Arkham City but in the 1800s. It’s appropriately (stereotypically?) foggy and just lousy with streetlights; basically it’s what you’d imagine Victorian London to be. It wouldn’t even surprise me if Robert Downey, Jr. jumped out from an alleyway with a cheery “‘ello guvnah!”
If you recall, this isn’t the first we’ve seen of Gotham By Gaslight. Just last month, the concept art leaked and gave us a peek at a very steampunkish Batman logo and menu. Combine those with this video and I’d be surprised if you didn’t curse the heavens for this game not coming to fruition, and for that I am sorry. Just watch Grayson one more time to quell/build your rage.