WB Games Montreal have been teasing their new game for a couple of years now, and now, after a long and torturous wait, they have finally unveiled it. Gotham Knights took center-stage as DC FanDome kicked off, and with a new trailer and a gameplay demo, Warner Bros. introduced us to their new upcoming superhero game. There was quite a bit that we learned about it, and here, we’ll be talking about some of the biggest talking points about the game coming out of the show.
Gotham Knights has a rather interesting premise. For starters, though it’s set in the Batman universe, it’s not a Batman game- the main reason for that is that the Batman is dead. The trailer reveals that the Caped Crusader died in a mysterious explosion, and as he did, he left behind a message for several of his fellow crime-fighting vigilantes in the Batfamily, telling them to protect Gotham City in his absence. Who caused that explosion? Is Bruce Wayne really dead? We will obviously find the answers to these questions in the game itself… but we think we have a pretty good idea what those answers will be already.
COURT OF OWLS
As for who caused those explosions, it was almost certainly the Court of Owls. The game’s announce trailer confirms at the end something that leaks and teases and rumours have been hinting at for a couple of years- that the shadowy organization known as the Court of Owls will be the primary antagonists in Gotham Knights, and that their assassins, known as Talons, will be a major threat that will be have to dealt with. Their exact involvement in the story hasn’t been detailed yet, but we can’t wait to face off against this new threat.
So in Batman’s absence, who is going to take up his mantle as the protector of Gotham? Well, it won’t be any one person. Four members of the Batfamily are going to step up and fill the void left behind by the Dark Knight. These four playable characters in Gotham Knights are going to be Batgirl (or Barbara Gordon), Robin (or Tim Drake), Red Hood (or Jason Todd), and Nightwing (or Jason Todd). Outside of these four, some information on secondary characters and other antagonists has also been confirmed. Alfred is back, of course, but Commissioner Jim Gordon seems to be dead. Meanwhile, we also know for a fact that Mr. Freeze is returning.
NOT IN THE ARKHAM UNIVERSE
Batman being dead and someone else having to step up in his absence may seem like a premise that fits very well with how Arkham Knight ends, but WB Games Montreal have confirmed that Gotham Knights is not set in the Arkham universe. This is going to be an entirely new story in a new universe, even though there are, of course, going to be plenty of similarities as far as gameplay is concerned.
Gotham Knights will take place in an open world Gotham City, similar to Arkham City, Origins, and Knight, but Gotham seems to have received a much-needed makeover. The open world of the game has five distinct boroughs, so we can probably expect each of them to have their own distinct look and feel, while the gameplay demo that was shown off also showed the streets being actually populated with vehicles and pedestrians, something that we never saw in the Arkham games. Traversal around this city also seems interesting. There will be gliding and grappling, of course, but players will also be able to use the Batcycle to get around Gotham.
With four distinct playable characters sharing the spotlight, there’s plenty of room for unique playstyles and different abilities, and from what we’ve seen of the game so far, that definitely seems to be the case. It seems each of them has unique fighting styles and combat abilities, and a couple of these were shown off in the gameplay demo. Robin seems to have access to the Justice League satellites, which allows him to teleport short distances, while Batgirl has a fighting style rather similar to that of Batman himself- in addition to some interesting new abilities, such as summoning a swarm of bats to aid her in combat. Meanwhile, it also looks like characters will be able to team up for tag-team attacks and finishers on enemies.
One of the more interesting things we learned about Gotham Knights in its gameplay demonstration was the fact that it seems to be going all-in on RPG mechanics. Characters earn experience and level up, and as they do, they unlock new abilities and power up existing ones. Enemies also have their own levels and health bars, and damage numbers pop up during combat. Meanwhile, the demo also confirms that the boss characters will scale up as you level up yourself, which means fighting one of them at lower levels will be a lot different than squaring off against them with a more powered-up character.
It seems like this is going to be the defining feature of Gotham Knights. WB Games Montreal have confirmed that the entire game is going to be entirely playable solo- but also in co-op with up to two total players. The entire gameplay demo that was shown off showed Batgirl and Robin teaming up to take down Mr. Freeze, and this, of course, is where their unique abilities and styles and team-up attacks came in. The prospect of teaming up with another player to clean up the streets of Gotham is a rather exciting one.
A LIVING CITY
Neither WB Games Montreal not Warner Bros themselves have specifically mentioned that Gotham Knights is going to be a live service game, but it seems like the pieces are certainly in place for that to be the case. In addition to all the RPG elements and co-op shenanigans that they’ve revealed, they’re also promising a living, breathing Gotham City that will offer new challenges over time. Whether that just means extensive post-launch support or a proper service model remains to be seen.
So when exactly is Gotham Knights coming out? The superhero action-adventure title will be releasing some time in 2021 – the exact date hasn’t been confirmed – and as many predicted, it will be a cross-gen game, coming to the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC.