Telltale’s Batman game continues to boldly redefine the Bruce Wayne/Batman origin story, rearranging origins for its most famous villains. Chief among them is Two-Face, née Harvey Dent, whose own origin story has been flipped inside out according to Telltale’s new Episode 3.
First, Bruce Wayne’s early history in Gotham received a much more prominent role, with the heir to Wayne Corp. having a much larger part in shaping Gotham’s brighter future. Next, Oswald Cobblepot was reimagined as a childhood friend of Wayne’s turned criminal whose fall from wealth is a kind of twisted mirror version of Bruce’s ascent as Batman. Now, it’s Harvey Dent’s turn.
Instead of the usual run for District Attorney, Harvey is going for the big chair, running for the office of Gotham’s mayor. Things seem to be going well for him, even getting himself involved in a relationship with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. What could go wrong for a man like him in Gotham?
Well, after the Penguin hijacks Harvey Dent’s big mayoral speech, the player is given the choice of who to rescue: Harvey or Selina. Leaving Dent alone against the Penguin will leave him to his ultimate fate as Two-Face.
To top it off, Selina has been getting cozy with Bruce Wayne, both in and out of his Batsuit. Their partnership both as their costumed alter-egos and outside of it eventually culminates in a sexual relationship between Kyle and Wayne, which, to be fair, was unavoidable.
Still, Harvey ending up disfigured and betrayed by both his ex-lover and his (presumably) ex-best friend means his path to becoming Two-Face has been sped up, fast.
The origin story for Two-Face continues Telltale’s excellent take on the Batman mythos, deepening every hero and villain’s motiviations for becoming who they are ultimately, and Harvey Dent’s story is just another homerun for the narrative team at Telltale.
By bypassing the simplistic narrative of Dent getting doused with acid and suddenly he’s a bad guy, by presenting Dent as both sympathetic and vain, makes his transition into Two-Face that much more fascinating. Is the physical deformation so ruinous to Dent’s ego that it manifests his villainous tendencies?
It’s also interesting to see Dent exhibiting Two-Face-like behavior, even if his face isn’t ruined. That puts his whole character into question, despite the fact that he also proved himself as genuinely interested in saving Gotham. He’s a layered character, just like the rest of Telltale’s fantastic Batman cast.