Gotham Knights: Everything we learned from the DC Fandome reveal event
WB Games Montreal, the studio behind 2013’s Batman: Arkham Origins (a prequel game set in the larger ‘Arkhamverse’ created by fellow game studio Rocksteady) was on hand during this weekend’s DC Fandome event to unveil its latest project: Gotham Knights. As its name infers, Gotham Knights is set in the dark world of Batman, though it’s also apparently breaking from the established Arkhamverse canon in some major ways.
In the world of Gotham Knights, Bruce Wayne/Batman is apparently dead, leaving Gotham City more vulnerable than ever. Thankfully, four of Batman’s staunchest allies, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood, have stepped up to protect the city in Batman’s stead. In regards to gameplay, this means Gotham Knights will play out in a similar vein as the Arkhamverse games which came before it, albeit with support for full seamless co-op play and a diverse roster of different playable vigilantes.
Death in the Family
The cinematic trailer which debuted as part of the full Gotham Knights reveal kicked off with a major gut-punch: Batman has been killed in action, leaving Gotham City’s citizens reeling. Thankfully, Batman had the foresight to set up a ‘Code Black’ message to be sent to his closest allies in the case of his death. This message is sent to his three former wards, Dick Grayson (a.k.a Nightwing), Jason Todd (a.k.a Red Hood), and Tim Drake (a.k.a Robin), as well as fellow crime-fighter Barbara Gordon (a.k.a Batgirl).
As we see in the trailer, villains like Mr. Freeze are all too happy to capitalize on Batman’s death, which leaves Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood with the task of filling in for their deceased teacher and friend. As they could in the previous Arkhamverse games, players will get to venture around Gotham City both on-foot and in vehicles, take down their adversaries using either stealth or hand-to-hand combat, and upgrade their heroes with various abilities and gadgets. For the first time ever, players will also get to play the entirety of the game either solo or via two-player co-op.
The trailer also hinted at other interesting details which strongly suggest that Gotham Knights isn’t set in Rocksteady’s Arkhamverse. For one, Police Commissioner James Gordon (Barbara’s father and yet another close ally to Batman) is also apparently dead, which means the quartet of heroes can’t trust the Gotham City Police Department. Also, villains like Mr. Freeze won’t be the only threat players have to deal with. The shadowy cabal known as the Court of Owls will also factor heavily into Gotham Knights’ storyline, suggesting that the death of Batman might have been an event that was set in motion long before the killing stroke was dealt.
Along with the cinematic trailer, WB Montreal also unveiled a segment of pre-recorded gameplay which gave viewers a taste of how Gotham Knights will allow them to fully embrace their crime-busting fantasies. The gameplay clip showed two players, one controlling Batgirl and the other Robin, as they worked to disable a massive weather machine Mr. Freeze had set up on the roof of an ice-covered building.
The gameplay clip showed off how, much as in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight, players will be able to seamlessly transition from cruising around on their motorcycle to zipping around Gotham’s rooftops with their trusty Bat-Grapple. Other details we were able to glean from the clip include the following:
- Players will earn XP and level up their heroes
- Enemies have their own levels as well, as seen by the “10” markers above the enemies shown in the clip (it’s not clear whether players will need to level their heroes before tackling certain missions or if enemy levels coincide with those of the player)
- Co-op can be enabled even after a player has started their session solo (in the gameplay clip, the Batgirl player is on their own to start with the Robin player “joining in” a little while later)
- Each playable hero will have their own signature attacks, takedowns, and gadgets (Batgirl, for example, wields an electric tonfa while Robin has his signature staff)
- When playing co-op, players can perform flashy coordinated takedowns involving both heroes
At the end of the clip, a brief bit of the intense-looking boss fight against Mr. Freeze was shown, though fans will have to play Gotham Knights for themselves to see how the fight ends. As of this writing, all we know about Gotham Knights’ release date is that it’s slated to launch sometime in 2021. The new game will assumedly be coming to both current and next-gen consoles as well as PC.