With WB Games Montreal heading the development of Gotham Knights, much of the core gameplay has been revealed. Players will face the secretive organized crime group, Court of Owls, unraveling the mystery as Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Red Hood.
If you noticed Batman wasn’t mentioned, it’s because of one harsh reality: the Caped Crusader is dead. He had an untimely death after fighting crime for 15 years. It is now up to his extended Bat-family to pick up the mantle and protect Gotham City.
Gotham Knights: Batman’s death is a chance to explore more of the Bat-family
Due to an explosion at the Batcave, Bruce Wayne has allegedly died. In the wake of the destruction, a special automatic message — Code Black — was sent to Batman’s fellow crime fighters: Robing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Nightwing.
It’s a jarring moment for Batman fans. Why (and how) have a game about Gotham City without Batman? Gotham Knights’ creative director Patrick Redding explained the reasoning during a panel at DC FanDome:
“You have this incredible, like, 70, 80, year legacy of his sidekicks and his allies and the people who have kind of accumulated around Batman as crime fighters, and a lot of them kind of graduated from the Batman school of crime-fighting.”
Essentially, it’s a narrative device to set the story and stage. And, ultimately, an opportunity to expand and explore other members of the Bat-family. They all have a history of being by Batman’s side.
Patrick Redding added:
“We wanted to take away any certainty, any feeling of safety. So we could take a Gotham City where Bruce Wayne has been operating as Batman for, like, 15 years – with all that history, his whole network of allies – and then take him out of the picture. It really demands players figure out, ‘How would I step up, and how would I protect Gotham City?”
WB Games Montreal aims to distinguish each playable protagonist in Gotham Knights, like Robin’s propensity for stealth or Batgirl’s hacking skills. When you take a step back, each member of Gotham Knights embodies a core skill of Batman’s.
Of course, this could also be a ruse. Batman has faked his death before. Players won’t know for sure until the game launches in 2022.