UPDATE: IGN has published an interview with Gotham Knights’ creative director Patrick Redding detailing more on the upcoming game. While it mostly confirms things implied in the trailer, there are a few new interesting details. Freeflow combat is gone, and combat is now more in range of a typical action-brawler with special moves for each character. Gotham is fully open-world and the story takes place over multiple days, with the Belfry serving as your base of operations during the daytime. The Knights themselves will get full outfit skins, and can customize accessories on top of that. And finally, he reiterates that this is not a games as a service game. Gotham Knights is a self-contained story you can play totally offline. As we get into later however, that doesn’t confirm we won’t see any GaaS elements at play. Read on for more!
The long-awaited Batman game from the creators of Batman: Arkham Origins, WB Montreal, has finally been announced. Except this one doesn’t actually have Batman in it at all. Gotham Knights is shaping up to be a very different game than we expected and definitely requires some explanation for what it exactly is. So let’s go over everything we know about Gotham Knights.
Is Gotham Knights Set in the Arkhamverse?
Despite taking influence from the ending of Arkham Knight (Bruce Wayne seemingly dying in an explosion), this game is not set in the Arkhamverse. Key differences include Jim Gordon being dead, Barbara Gordon no longer confined to a wheelchair, and Jason Todd doesn’t have his torture scars from the Joker. This means that anything that happened in the Arkhamverse has no bearing on this game, so we really have no idea how this new world works.
What we do know is that the Batfamily has united to protect Gotham after the death of Bruce Wayne. The GCPD has turned against the vigilantes of Gotham after Gordon’s death. Criminals are reigning free in the absence of Batman. And the mysterious Court of Owls is planning something for Gotham City in the shadows, along with their army of Talon assassins.
Of course villains like Ra’s al Ghul and the Joker could still be alive, but hopefully WB takes this opportunity to mix up some of the Batman mythos, or let some lesser villains shine. Let’s bring in the Black Glove or Clock King, or maybe have Duela Dent take over the Two-Face or Joker role. We’re already excited for what new possibilities await.
A Batman Game Without Batman; Who Are the Gotham Knights?
With Batman dead (for now), we’ll instead be playing as the Batfamily – Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Red Hood. Each character will have their own skills and playstyles that emphasizes their unique abilities and personalites. Dick Grayson will have more acrobatic prowess and use his dual eskrima sticks for combat. Barbara Gordon has a stronger mastery over technology and hacking, and will use a combination of martial arts and tonfa to battle foes. Tim Drake can teleport for some reason and uses stealth and his bowstaff to tackle enemies. Finally, Jason Todd is the strongest of the group and will use his strength and non-lethal guns to handle opponents.
How this turns out in actual gameplay mostly remains to be seen. We may see Batgirl handle more tech-saavy missions, Nightwing doing complicated parkour, and Red Hood taking out crowds of tough foes. And Robin can teleport, so that’s a thing.
This Ain’t Arkham; New RPG Mechanics
We’ve only seen a small glimpse at how Gotham Knights plays, and it’s both familiar and very distinct from the Arkham series. Unlike the previous games, Gotham Knights is an open-world, action RPG with optional co-op. While you could level up in the Arkham games, this was just for access to new skills. Gotham Knights will have full-blown RPG mechanics, like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Witcher 3.
We’re expecting our actual attack and defense to increase as we level up, and for each character to have their own unique, separate leveling progression. Enemies and bosses will also have levels that will scale to yours, with damage numbers popping off during combat. Could we find enemies in Gotham City that are too high level for us to deal with?
Another RPG staple making its way into Gotham Knights is loot and customization. Each character will be able to customize themselves with unique abilities, gear, weapons, and costumes. We definitely saw Batgirl and Robin picking up loot from downed enemies in the gameplay video, but we still don’t know the use for them.
Will we be able to collect whole costumes and weapons? Or will we be building these upgrades ourselves with collectible crafting material? How much can we alter our weapons? With this much customization, Gotham Knights seems to be allowing us to give our own spin on each character.
Exploring Gotham and Fighting Baddies
Speaking of Gotham, this version of the iconic city is divided into 5 boroughs. It’s unclear how distinct these sections will actually be, or even if you can seamlessly go between them all. We do know however that you’ll be able to get around town quickly with the Batcycle. There’s also an emphasis on your base of operations at the belfry. Maybe we’ll be spending more time here between mission objectives than we did in the Batcave in previous games.
The combat looks like it’s also been changed since Arkham Knight. This doesn’t exactly look like the freeflow combat system we’ve grown to love over the years – after all that might not work with an RPG system influencing your abilities. Fighting looks a lot more like a standard brawler with special attacks, probably unique to each character. There doesn’t seem to be any indication of that famous counter symbol, or the combo system. so we probably won’t be able to take out goons with one good punch anymore when our combo is high enough. While the replacement of freeflow combat is initially disappointing, this could be made up for with truly unique movesets between each character.
A New Way to Fight Bosses
This combat looks to influence the boss battles as well. While the Arkham series definitely has its ups-and-downs when it comes to boss fights, they usually played out more like puzzles. The Gotham Knights footage shows Batgirl and Robin square off against Mr. Freeze, and he seems to be more like a beefed up regular enemy with special attacks. It’s hard to shake the feeling that with co-op, the Mr. Freeze fight looked similar to a raid boss you’d fight in an MMO – avoid their AOE attacks and everyone does damage when the boss is open. Whether this more straightforward approach is for the better, we’ll have to find out ourselves.
Also curiously mentioned is that enemy and boss levels scale with you, and that their attacks will change depending on how high level they are. Could this also mean that bosses fights are replayable? Will bosses drop specific loot that can be farmed like Destiny?
Is Predator Mode Gone?
We haven’t seen too much of the stealth, but we can make some assumptions about how it works. The basic premise looks to remain the same – you’ll still be hiding behind walls, atop gargoyles, and stealthily knocking out enemies. No info yet on how complicated this stealth can get, as Arkham Knight forced players to contend with some seriously tough stealth scenarios with a huge variety of tools.
From what we can see, stealth may be deescalated a bit, or at least less mandatory. Getting caught in predator mode (the term for the stealth sections) in previous Arkham games usually meant quickly returning to a hiding spot or risk getting shot up to death.
This time however, Batgirl managed to seamlessly move between stealth and combat without failing. We’re assuming this means that the game will be less split between pure combat and pure stealth sections, and you’ll instead be able to handle these scenarios any way you want. Maybe some characters, like Nightwing, are better at stealth, while others, like Red Hood, will have an easier time jumping into the action.
Is Gotham Knights a Game as a Service?
Games as as service or live service game (or GaaS) are all the rage these days with games like The Division or even the upcoming Rocksteady Suicide Squad game. With the inclusion of online, some fans were worried that Gotham Knights may be taking the GaaS route as well, substituting a story campaign for ongoing online services. While we’re still not 100% certain on the game’s layout, at this time we’re leaning more towards no, Gotham Knights is not a GaaS. At least not fully. As of the initial announcement, this game is only two-player, so it doesn’t seem to be taking the Marvel’s Avengers route.
That’s not to say it won’t have elements of a GaaS. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was a single-player game and it has GaaS trademarks all over it. Warner Bros. have already released a few games with live service elements to them, like Mortal Kombat 11 and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, with mixed results.
So what can we expect? With custom gear, we can’t imagine they won’t lock some of it away behind a store. Using loot or exp as a currency (or maybe using in-game currency itself), we could see some kind of online PvP or PvE component to gain more. There may be exp bonus upgrades, or stat upgrades, maybe even the ability to buy your way to higher levels. These are all things we’ve seen before in similar live service-adjacent games, and we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a couple of these pop up in Gotham Knights.
It’s not all bad though. Live service also means continuous free upgrades to the game. We could see new playable characters being added in the future, like Damian Wayne or Cassandra Cain. As a live service, we could also get new post-launch missions or bosses. Maybe even full expansions featuring famous Batman characters and villains. Expect a steady stream of new smaller content like new gear and costumes as well. Could we hope for Gotham Knights implementing a four-player experience in the future?
With the game giving players a reason to come back time and time again, that also gives the developers more incentive to increase the player experience. Is there an option or feature you feel is missing from the game? As a live service game, you’ll probably get it eventually if the game continues to be popular enough. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey received regular updates a full year after its release, bringing all sorts of new options and content. Could we see Gotham Knights get the same treatment?
When and Where Can I Play?
Gotham Knights is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC in 2021.
That’s a lot of maybe’s and what if’s so far, but it’s still early days. We’ll continue to update this page as we learn new information and get more insights into Gotham Knights, so be sure to check back often!
What are your thoughts on Gotham Knights? Are you disappointed or excited it’s not a part of the Arkham series? Is there anything you’re excited or expecting to see? Let us know in the comments!
Want to read about more Batman? Check out our Top 10 Weirdest Batsuits!