With Warner Bros. Montreal getting ready for Gotham Knights, here's everything you need to know about the long-awaited Batman game's release date, gameplay, and story.
Warner Bros. Montreal is once again ready to spread its wings and swoop down over Gotham City. It seems like an eternity since Rocksteady rounded off its acclaimed Arkham trilogy with Batman: Arkham Knight, and while Gotham Knights is set in its own continuity, it's being billed as a spiritual successor to the house Rocksteady built. As Rocksteady focusses on its own world with Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, Gotham Knights dives inside the Batcave with a closer look at the Bat Family.
With WB Montreal being known for its work on Batman: Arkham Origins and playing a part in Arkham Knight's DLC content, it's no stranger to this world of crime and caped crusaders. We'd heard plenty of whispers that the studio was working on another Batman game, however, did we really expect the jam-packed trailer reveal at DC FanDome 2020? Thankfully, we've come a long way from the dire depths of 2001's Batman: Gotham City Racer and 1998's Batman & Robin: The Game almost being as bad the movie it was based on. As we enter a new generation of consoles, here's everything you need to know about the Gotham Knights release, gameplay, and story.
Gotham Knights story
Despite this one being described as a Batman game, the man himself will be sitting this one out (well, most of it). The first reveal of Gotham Knights confirmed Bruce Wayne is dead - handing over the keys to the Batmobile to his former sidekicks. Stepping out from Dark Knight's intimidating shadow, fans will be able to play as Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Red Hood (Jason Todd), and Robin (Tim Drake). All of them have their own history with Batman, and even casual readers of the comics will probably have heard of them at some point.
Each of them had a part to play in the Rocksteady games, and while their designs look similar here, there are some major character differences. In terms of where the story goes, Gotham Knights follows the Bat Family picking up where Bruce left off. The billionaire playboy isn't the only casualty, with the trailer tragically confirming Jim Gordon has also passed away by the time the game starts. Don't worry, there are plenty of allies to help you along the way thanks to Renee Montoya serving as Police Chief and firm favourite Alfred taking on the codename Belfy - which is also the new base of operations.
In terms of villains, the big bad of the story is the shadowy organisation known as The Court of Owls. The Court is populated by its deadly masked assassins, known as Talons. Elsewhere, the first footage confirmed Mr. Freeze will be sporting a modernised suit and giving our heroes some trouble. Elsewhere, eagle-eyed gamers think marketing material has pointed to Two-Face as another Batman rogue who'll be making his mark on this version of Gotham. Finally, what kind of a Batman game would it be without Catwoman flexing her feline skills or Joker getting the last laugh somewhere?
Is Gotham Knights multiplayer?
WB Montreal has described Gotham Knights as an open world adventure where you can explore each of Gotham's distinct districts. Just like previous games have carved up the city and given various villains their own turf to patrol, we can see this coming into play. There is also a question over Gotham Knights' multiplayer capabilities. Although developers haven't said anything about a full-blown multiplayer mode, co-operative play will be a big part of the adventure.
Rocksteady's games had a few co-op elements, but by the sounds of it, Gotham Knights will be embracing its true potential. The trailers showed off the smooth transition between solo and co-op play with a simple message of "ROBIN joined the session". Unfortunately, there could be a missed opportunity here. Even though the core four will all be playable in solo, your co-op campaign will be limited to just two heroes at a time. Sorry everyone, no four-player pandemonium here. Then again, the idea of fitting four backflipping members of the Bat Family on a screen at once sounds like it would be a logistical nightmare.
There were reports that Gotham Knights would be an online experience, but speaking to IGN, Senior Producer Fleur Marty cleared up the confusion. Discussing co-op, Marty explained, "This is very much not designed as a game-as-service. There is an ability tree, which is different for each of the characters, and then there's gear that you craft - and so choices that you're going to be making - but that does not mean that this is a game-as-service". You can drop into someone else's game and both play as Red Hood, but when this happens, your versions will be slightly different. There's a discussion about crafting and gear, meaning you can level up your characters differently. Don't worry though, level-gating won't be a problem.
Gotham Knights release date
If you aren't already ready and raring to get revving the Batcycle, then can you even call yourself a Bat-fan? Following its all-star reveal, there's a rather loose Gotham Knights release date of 2021. WB Montreal hasn't given any more information on when that will be, meaning it could drop any time next calendar year. Looking at the release of other Arkham games, they've come out in Q2 or Q3. It's unclear whether Gotham Knights will follow suit or try and get the jump on the competition.
Even as 2021 shapes up to be a huge year for games thanks to Far Cry 6, Horizon Forbidden West, and the console release of Cyberpunk 2077, Gotham Knights is tipped to be one of the year's biggest. Hoping to continue the acclaimed legacy of the Arkham games, Gotham Knights will hopefully add to WB Montreal's often forgotten work on Arkham Knight and the fact Arkham Origins has been cast aside by many. If Gotham Knights lives up to its potential, who knows, we could have the next Marvel's Spider-Man on our hands. Watch out Insomniac Games!
Images via Warner Bros. Montreal