Batman: Arkham Origins exists in its own universe, the "Arkhamverse" as comic book fans been known to call it. Through Origins, WB Montreal is aiming to make their prequel form the foundations of that universe. Batman has had plenty of origin stories that trace back his crime-fighting roots, so DC Comics' chief creative officer, Geoff Johns, explained the themes of this particular prequel and how it differs from some others.
Johns himself wrote Batman: Earth One, a graphic novel released last year that similarly delves into the Dark Knight's early years. Asked to contrast the two, Johns told Game Informer that Earth One's Batman is "Batman before he's good," and may have been doing it for the wrong reasons. Arkham Origins' version of the character is more confident and capable, even if he's lacking the polish of a more experienced crime-fighter.
What sets this story apart, Johns says, is the way it hinges on Batman's infamous rogue's gallery. "The [Origins] story is further along," he said. "He's very confident in what he's doing. It's called Arkham Origins and it really is the introduction of what Arkham means. Arkham evokes a sense of insanity and chaos embodied in the twisted minds and colorful villains of the Batman universe. That had to start somewhere. This is really more about Batman's initiation into that insane world."
That focus makes sense, as Johns says that the story came first when conceptualizing the game with WB Montreal. "We talked about what would be interesting to explore, what story they wanted to tell--it was all character based at first," he said. "The story is the first thing we spoke about, and what the world would be like, what Batman would be like, what certain characters would be like. You would see characters roll back like Penguin or characters you've seen before, what they looked like, what their relationships were, and how that would eventually evolve into the Arkham games."