Warner Bros. Games Montreal chose Black Mask as the main villain for Batman: Arkham Origins. In order to introduce him to those who already know him and to gaming audiences that might not recognize him.
“We realize that Black Mask is not necessarily as prominent in people’s minds as some other classic Batman villains, so we realize we also need to do work to explain why he’s really cool and make him felt in the game”, says creative director Eric Holmes. “It’s not something people bring a lot of baggage to when you see the Black Mask, so we have to do the work to make him scary”.
“Black Mask is new money. He’s rich. He’s very, very powerful. He’s made it”, explains Holmes. “He’s known for being brutal and sadistic. And particularly at this point in the Arkham franchise he has enormous resources. He is the number one gang leader in Gotham. And has easily the most power in the city. Roman Sionis is suspected for a lot of things, but nothing’s pinned on him; the Janus Cosmetics company is his background. He inherited a family business related to cosmetic chemicals and ran it into the ground, and then turned it around into a huge criminal enterprise selling drugs. You see Sionis branding even in Arkham City. The steel mills are Sionis facilities. His money primarily comes from the drug trade”.
Black Mask’s identity is the rich and evil Roman Sionis. Like Bruce Wayne, he was born in a wealthy family. But Sionis’ parents were angry, treacherous, and controlling; Roman would end up murdering his parents, taking over as head of his father’s business, Janus Cosmetics, and sculpting an ebony mask from his father’s casket to cover his identity while attending his dirty business.
Some time afterwards, Black Mask returns to his family home to wipe out any remaining memories. As he sets a fire in his old bedroom, Batman intervenes, trying to bring him out of the house but Roman Sionis after a fight ends directly in the fire, his black mask is permanently scorched onto his face and he emerges definetely as the villain Black Mask, any trace of humanity gone.
At the beginning of Batman: Arkham Origins, on Christmas Eve, Black Mask hired eight of the best assassins in the world to kill the Bat. And from that moment it’s up to the player to find out what is going on and stop the eight hitmen.