Article by Adam Poncharoensub
On August 22, 2020, DC and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment unveiled two massive video games in development. Rocksteady Studios would continue playing in their Arkhamverse, but move away from Batman with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. On the other hand, Batman: Arkham Origins developers WB Games Montréal would continue with Batman, but in an entirely different universe with Gotham Knights. While there is no set release date aside from 2021, we did learn quite a fair bit about the game. And now we have even more as creative director Patrick Redding and executive producer Fleur Marty speak on Gotham Knights. In the interview with GamesRadar, they explain their choice to place it outside of the Arkahmverse and expand on the gameplay mechanics.
In the trailer unveiled at DC Fandome, in a message sent to Batgirl, Robin, Red Hood, and Nightwing, we learned that Bruce Wayne is dead and he’s destroyed the BatCave as well. Bruce has set up a new base of operations called the Belfry, asking his family to continue the fight to save Gotham. At this point in the timeline, Bruce has been Batman for 15 years, and that Commissioner Gordon is dead, which is why he’s asking the Batfamily to look after the city. With Batman gone, his Rogues gallery is set to take over the city and it’s up to the Batfamily to take it back.
“Gotham will need its protectors…”
Overall, it seems like a great choice allowing WB Games Montréal to establish their own universe. They were not the originators of the Arkhamverse, so making the team work under the constraints of that universe wouldn’t quite make sense. This gives them the freedom to really explore the Batman mythos and create their own unique take. The passion is certainly there, as eloquently put by Redding:
This is a universe many of us on the team have been invested in since we were old enough to read. The real test of that was when we actually started working with DC and began talking about what we wanted for characters and storylines, and our specific interpretations. They encouraged us to double-down on our unique take.
Of the gameplay, like the Arkham series, Gotham will be an open world, but Redding is promising that this Gotham will be the “most interactive and dynamic rendition of the space ever committed to a video game.” A bold claim to make and one I’m excited to see. Redding also promised that this game will focus more so on the characters and developing their gameplay. With four heroes to control, you will be able to level up each character’s abilities and gadgets. An interesting dynamic is that since the story progresses for all the characters, they will all continue to level up in the background even if they remain inactive. And in the case you do want to choose, you can do so in the Belfry and continue your crusade without hindrance. On top of that, another failsafe to under-leveled heroes is that the enemies will scale to your progress.
Enemy scaling and background leveling?
According to Marty:
Since the story progression is shared between all the characters, it also makes sense that you don’t have to level them up from scratch every time you want to switch. It also stays very coherent in terms of our narrative. Since the other members of the Batman family are always present in some way in the background, while you’re out in the world fighting crime or unraveling the mystery, they don’t stay inactive. So it makes sense that they are also progressing and getting stronger.
Lastly, they spoke on the co-op aspect of the game. While the game features four heroes, they designed the gameplay to center around a two-player co-op. According to Redding, “The two-player dynamic fits the fantasy and the Gotham City setting. The ‘duo’ or team-up is such a central feature of the universe that there’s a literal shorthand for it in the comics, animation, film, and TV versions.”
Personally, I was not a big fan of Arkham Origins, an opinion I’ve explained in the past. And therefore, I wasn’t really looking forward to this game. However, as they speak on Gotham Knights, I’m understanding their choices a bit more and it all makes sense. They’ve made smart choices and I’m starting to get hype. I’m just glad that they’re no longer working within the confines of a universe that they clearly didn’t feel as passionate about.
Check out the gameplay trailer below:
What do you think? After hearing them speak on Gotham Knights, are you more excited? Or do you prefer Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League? Let me know.
Gotham Knights will hit consoles and PC in 2021.