Years of clues and ARG games have finally led to this: A brand new Batman game from Warner Bros. Montreal, revealed in all of its glory. Only this isn’t a Batman game that players will tackle, but a tale of family mourning the death of their father figure the only way they know how: By punching crime right in its stupid face. According to Patrick Redding, creative director on Gotham Knights, this is a game that will allow players to explore and reinvent their identity as a caped crusader.
First is having a whole cast of playable characters that can continue to grow and reinvent themselves. Second is a real, living, breathing Gotham City, that keeps challenging you, keeps serving you up danger. And finally, it’s that fantasy of the superhero team-up and we really wanted to deliver that in co-op play.
There’s more to Gotham Knights than just that live service angle though! After putting the latest trailer and gameplay videos into the Bat-Computer, we’ve pulled details from the reveal that point towards a very new and exciting era in crime prevention ala bat-themed vigilantism. Here’s what we found.
Yup, the dark knight has finally bitten off more than he can chew. While he’s most likely a post-credits sequence away from being revived in a Lazarus Pit by his love Talia Al Ghul and then unleashed against his allies in Gotham Knights 2: Electrocutioner Boogaloo dead, the core idea here is that without Batman, Gotham’s about to go down the crapper.
It’s a brave new world, and it’ll be up to the Bat Family to step and protect the city, only without Bruce’s guidance and protection this time.
The Bat-family steps up
Speaking of proteges being thrown into the deep end, Gotham Knights is built around four crusaders fulfilling Batman’s legacy: Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl, who has recovered from the injuries and paralysis that the Joker inflicted on her, and a trio of Robins across different generations. The original Boy Wonder Dick Grayson is present in his Nightwing persona, renegade sidekick Jason Todd is sporting his Red Hood identity and best Robin Tim Drake is ready to step up. Damien Wayne is thankfully nowhere to be seen, because the petulant bastard can go suck on a bag of lemons.
Every member of the Gotham Knights sports a weapon of some kind: Nightwing has his trademark Escrima sticks, Robin has a bo-staff, Batgirl has a pair of tonfa and Red Hood has a more practical selection of handguns with which to fight crime with.
Drop-in multiplayer confirmed
Four heroes, but there’s only room for two of them! The official press release for Gotham Knights has already confirmed that the game will be online-only, and will support one other player if they decide to drop in for some quick rooftop JUSTICE. Via expensive gadgets and pummeling of course.
This isn’t an Arkhamverse game
Batman: Arkham Knight ended with a banger of a conclusion, if you were prepared to solve all of the Riddlers many many MANY annoying clues and defeat him. His identity exposed by the Scarecrow, Bruce Wayne initiated a failsafe plan that faked his death, destroyed Wayne Manor and left no trace of Batman behind in the rubble.
Thought dead, Batman would rise again: Only this time as an agent of terror, using Scarecrow’s fear toxin in his war on crime and becoming the darkest knight. That may have been the ending for Arkham Knight, but for Gotham Knights it’s not the kick-off point. Warner Bros. Montreal has confirmed that their game exists in its own pocket universe, divorced from what Rocksteady created in 2015.
The GCPD has been corrupted
As if things couldn’t get any worse, longtime Batman ally Jim Gordon is also dead, with the caped crusader issuing a warning to his young wards: Do not trust the GCPD. With Gordon gone, the rot and corruption that defined the police force before his arrival has once again taken root, infecting Gotham’s not so finest and transforming the city into a dangerous new location that only a team of vigilantes can properly safeguard from big threats.
Multi-platform releases confirmed
You’ll have to wait until next year to get your fix of Gotham Knights, but there’ll be plenty of platforms to choose from: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC. No word yet, on if current-gen (which will be last-gen by then) will get a free upgrade.
The Bel-Fry may be your social space
Code Black also sets players up with a new base of operations, now that the Batcave has been destroyed more adequately than comedy in the hands of Gareth Cliff when he tries to commit war crimes against laughter. Batman mentions that the Belfry has been unlocked, a new location in the central heart of Gotham that has become a home away from home for the Bat Family. It has been neglected in recent years though, so some cleaning up is needed.
Plus, plugging a few resources into it will probably upgrade the joint into a cool social space between missions.
The court of Owls is up to hoo good
They’ve been hinted at for ages, and the Court of Owls is finally ready to ruffle some feathers. Gotham’s elite, the Court of Owls holds sway over the city and has bent it to their will for centuries, using their loyal Talon henchmen to dispose of anyone who would stand in their way. While they’re not the primary threat in Gotham Knights, they’re still a force to be reckoned with thanks to their limitless resources and connections.
You’re going to have to deal with the Talons
Speaking of Talons, it looks like there’ll be a whole lot of them to deal with! Early rumour rumbles have indicated that they’ll serve as Nemeses throughout the game, in the same vein that high-level Orcs would harass players in the Shadow of Mordor games. You don’t have to feel too bad about dropping them off of a cliff though, as they’re basically ninja zombies for the 1% in wicked cool combat costumes.
Patrol the streets on two wheels
Batman had his Batmobile/tanks, Barbara Gordon has her iconic Bat-Cycle. The only form of transportation seen so far, it’s still a cool vehicle and I’m taking a guess that everyone in Gotham City who received a Code Black alert will have their own set of wheels that suits their character.
Co-op multiplayer RPG elements keeps the challenge fresh
Gotham Knights appears to have taken a few inspirational cues from recent Assassin’s Creed games in the gameplay department. Enemies now exist in tiered levels, suggesting that some areas may be off limits to players until they’re strong enough to tackle these foes, as evidenced by the experience points that Batgirl gained between enemy takedowns.
The core loop of action and stealth has also changed, with players able to switch between schools of attack on the fly: Favour a stealthy approach, and you’ll be able to choke out thugs while their accomplices are none the wiser. Prefer a more fast-paced sense of action, and you can kick off a brouhaha that’ll bring the heat down on you, as you dodge bullets and rebound with swift retaliation.
It’s admittedly strange to see a Gotham game taking inspiration from other games that were in turn inspired by it, but if the action builds on those influences and adds its own touch to the final product, I’m not complaining.
Old school combat looks to be gone
At the same time, what those influences giveth, they also taketh away. Gone are the combo systems that defined when players could drop bone-breaking finishers and gadget takedowns, the cadence of the Arkham trilogy’s combat replaced with a system that’s again not too dissimilar from the ability energy bar from Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. If Gotham Knights is following a similar gameplay model, then it’s safe to assume that the more brutal combos seen in the gameplay demo will use that pool of energy as a resource so that devastating finishers can be pulled off.
Every character looks set to have their own unique system of special skills, with Warner Bros. Montreal confirming that Robin has Justice League satellite access for quick teleportations and ordinance that can be aimed at the unluckiest of thugs.
Last Updated: August 24, 2020