DC Animated Universe
This article is written from the Real World perspective Bruce Timm

See Batman (disambiguation) for other uses of the word "Batman".

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu is an action-adventure video game that was released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox consoles. It was developed and published by Ubisoft in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. It is based on DC Comics' character Batman and the television series The New Batman Adventures.


Batman faces a new enemy unlike any he has faced before. This mysterious foe plunges Gotham City into chaos on the night of the anniversary of Bruce Wayne's parents murder. Apart from Sin Tzu, other Batman villains featured in the game are the Scarecrow, Clayface, and Bane. Batman is aided in his quest to save Gotham by Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing.


The bulk of the game has the player battling groups of enemies in the style of games like Battletoads and Double Dragon.

The story mode, which forms the bulk of the game, can be played either alone or cooperatively, and rewards players for completing levels not only by continuing the story, but also with an upgrades system. This allows players to purchase new moves for their character and other game bonuses. There is also a challenge mode in which players (either cooperatively or competitively) take on groups of thugs without a storyline.

The game is played under a very strict time limit, which can be too difficult for first time players even under the 'normal' difficulty setting. The action is fairly hectic, and even when playing cooperatively, players are usually outnumbered by the number of enemies on screen.


The Concept[]

"Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu" scriptwriter, Flint Dille, has stated that "making a good new villain for the Batman universe" was the primary challenge going into the project. Looking at the caped crusader's rogues gallery, Dille found it lacking a Blofeld/Palpatine style villain, and seeking to fill that hole, the idea arose to create a villain that "controls thousands of minions" and "wants to conquer Gotham City." Once the character was conceptualized, Dille reached out to Jim Lee to design Sin Tzu.

According to Jim Lee, the process of Sin Tzu's design started with his name, which was used to work backwards to determine powers and visuals. "We thought, 'Well, he'd be like Sun Tzu, but we'll call him Sin Tzu cause this is Batman.'" added Flint Dille. With the name decided on, Lee knew immediately that the character would be Asian and militaristic. With these characteristics in mind, Lee began to sketch designs with focus on tattoos, ponytails, and gold. By painting Sin Tzu's skin gold, the character was re-imagined to now contain psychic energy that fueled his powers but was harnessed by his golden exterior, thus only coming out through the eyes and mouth.[1]

Creating Sin Tzu[]

According to Ubi Soft character modeler Daniel Bordeleau, there was originally no plan to create Sin Tzu, but rather Joker would have been the main antagonist. However, looking to spice the game up, Producer Benoit Galarneau met with DC Comics, who pitched the idea of creating a new character entirely.

After receiving Jim Lee's more realistic concept art and art from DC Comics that was more aligned with the Bruce Timm style, Daniel Bordeleau's team began the work needed to create the character model. In house artist, Olivier Nicolas began translating Lee's design to the Timm style in order to supply modelers with more applicable reference material. Since Lee's more complicated facial designs would have had trouble translating to the 3D model, Nicolas simplified the look using black linework below the eyes.

Throughout the process, Daniel Bordeleau's team would test out ideas suggested by the game designers, like trying to make the yin yang symbol on Sin Tzu's forehead to spin and testing different hand types.[1]


Unlike the games other bosses, the animation team had no prior reference points for Sin Tzu's movements and other idiosyncrasies. Looking to strike a balance between realism and Bruce Timm's cartoonish style, the team (comprised of Jacques Dussault and Bourbaki Joseph) referenced movements from Karate, Kung Fu, and Capoeira for base animations. When trying to capture the characters personality, Dussault and Joseph tweaked Sin Tzu's body language to capture an air of someone who is "cultivated, elite, and arrogant". The animation process was done almost exclusively by hand and had no involvement from motion capture actors.[1]

Production Gallery[]

Character Designs[]

Sin Tzu[]
In game enemies[]

General concept art[]

Poster concept designs[]


According to lead game designer, Mario Maltezos, having Jim Lee onboard was "when you knew this was gonna be something special." With many of the team having already been fans of Lee's work, DC Comics offering their in-house artists time to help create Sin Tzu was seen as an "incredible opportunity" as the villain could then "be exploited thereafter in comics, and books" or "in an animated series." [1]

At the time, Jim Lee asserted at the time that this would be the first a comics artist would design an original Batman villain for videogames, "and then that in itself will come back to comic books." However, the character of Sin Tzu has only appeared 3 times since the videogames initial publicity push, in Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated #4 (2012) and issues #3 and #4 of Jai Nitz's Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Killer Croc.

Shadow of Sin Tzu[]

In fall of 2003, DC Comics partnered with AOL to release a digital exclusive comic with new entries five days a week. Written by Mark Schultz with art by Rick Burchett, the strip was DC's first-ever strip exclusively developed for the online environment.[2] The comic is currently published on DC Kids.[3]



A novelization of the game was released around the same time of the games release date. The novel, written by Devin Grayson and Flint Dille (who wrote the game's script) was told in the first person, with Clayface, Scarecrow, a Stonegate Penitentiary inmate named Freddie Galan, Bane, a Hispanic thug named Ramon Domingo, Sin Tzu, Batman, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Alfred each providing the narrative at different points.

See also: Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (novel)


On July 30th, 2003 Ubisoft launched the Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu website[4] along with The Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Art Attack Contest, in which contestants had their Batman art judged by Jim Lee.[5] The website would go on to host a plethora of content to promote the game, including: screenshots[6], concept art, wallpapers, character bios[7], and press quotes.[8]

Art Attack contest[]

The Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Art Attack Contest was judged by Jim Lee and offered prizes including:

Wallpaper gallery[]

Commemorative edition release[]

Sin Tzu lithograph by Jim Lee

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Commemorative Edition lithography by Jim Lee.

In addition to the game-only release, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was shipped in big box commemorative editions for the Xbox and PS2 that included an action figure of either Batman, Robin, Batgirl, or Nightwing from Mattel. The GameCube version, however, was packaged with an exclusive lithograph drawn by Jim Lee.


Despite the publicity placed on the game, it received mixed reviews, with many critics found the beat 'em up gameplay repetitive[9] though the look of Jim Lee's Sin Tzu was praised.[9][10][11]


  • Robin in this game is voiced by Scott Menville, Robin's voice actor from the Teen Titans animated series.
  • In the cut scene where Batman has entered Arkham Asylum and is searching for Sin Tzu, he passes four cells in which the glass has been smashed. This is supposed to represent the four escaped criminals—Scarecrow, Clayface, Bane and of course, Sin Tzu. However, Bane would not have a cell at Arkham Asylum, as he has not been diagnosed as insane.
  • Killer Croc is mentioned by Nightwing in the sewer stage.


Cameo appearance[]

Four villains had a short cameo appearance in the game (without a speaking role). They are unlockable 3D Models in the Trophy Room. Incidentally, these four villains are the same ones Batman had to face in Batman: Vengeance.

Other platforms[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Making of a Villain" documentary on Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
  2. "Batman Shadow of Sin Tzu" from Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond
  4. "Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu" at Ubi.com (Archived December 02, 2003)
  5. "The Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Art Attack Contest!" on the official Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu website (archived December 04, 2003)
  6. "Screens/Video" on the official Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu website (Archived October 03, 2003)
  7. "Characters" on the official Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu website (Archived August 14, 2003)
  8. "Press" on the official Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu website (Archived August 14, 2003)
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu" in Nintendo Power #269
  10. "Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu" in Official U.S. Playstation Magazine #73 (October 2003)
  11. "Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu in Play Magazine #19 (July 2003)