Bruce Wayne and James Gordon are dead. Murdered. Gotham descends into darkness and chaos, all the work done by The Batman completely forgotten by his enemies. Among the destructive forces, a mysterious organization rises. And the Bat Family- Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl and Robin are here to clean house, brought together by the last message Batman recorded before his demise.
Welcome to the world of Gotham Knights.
One of the darker chapters in Gotham’s history, it serves as the background for WB Montreal’s newest game. First teased at DC FanDome in 2020, it was hotly anticipated as a 2021 release. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the game was delayed. Warner Bros announced the final release date of October 21, 2022.
As a perfect Halloween treat, Gotham Knights will take on foes we have never seen outside of the comic and animated universe with heroes who do not usually take centerstage. With all the hype, it’s time once again to look at what we know. So, “step into the knight” as we dive deep into the lore, characters, and gameplay of Gotham Knights.
The mysterious Court of Owls
DC Comic lore is wide and varied when it comes to their character arcs. However, Batman’s tends to follow a set pattern. Bruce Wayne, not unlike Marvel’s Iron Man, is a billionaire, playboy, philanthropist with a tragic past by day, and the vigilante crime fighter Batman by night. Unlike Iron Man, Bruce keeps his identity a secret most of the time, with only a few trusted people knowing the truth behind the cowl. A wise course of action, with a number of enemies baying for Batman’s blood, his duality has managed to keep his secret well-funded and without suspicion.
In Gotham Knights, we get a front row seat to one of the darkest periods in Batman history: The Court of Owls, a secret organization that rose to power in 2011. The Court of Owls first appeared in Batman (vol 2) #2 and immediately grabbed the attention of readers. Its members shrouded in darkness behind haunting masks, it’s one of the oldest crime organizations in Gotham, having existed since almost the founding of the country.
Made up of the rich and elite of Gotham, the vicious members kidnap children and turn them into deadly assassins, highly skilled to a superhuman level known as Talons. The Talons willingly execute the judgment passed by the Court, often resulting in executions and bloodshed. Those who die are kept in suspended animation, ready to be called on again as undead Talons.
Talons’ deadly role leads to a hero’s rise
Even while living, the Talons seem to survive for an unnatural length of time. One of the most prolific in the comics, William Cobb, was born in 1901. Through a series of events involving his own son, the “Gray Son” line was established, leading to Dick Grayson’s birth. Dick would go on to be Batman’s first Robin, before leaving and taking on the Nightwing persona. He would later face his great, great grandfather in battle and come out victorious.
Other entries into the series have seen Frank Gordon, Jim Gordon’s uncle, Felix Harmon, also known as the Gotham Butcher, and Calvin Rose all become Talons. Calvin’s storyline is possibly the foundation for Batman vs Robin, where the Court of Owls tries to recruit and then kill Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son and current Robin.
The Court of Owls are responsible for one of the bloodiest storylines in recent years, leading to the gathering of the Bat Family in an effort to keep the Court and its Talons from taking over the city. Each member of the Bat Family uses extreme measures to stop the Talons they are facing, including decapitation and the use of a balloon bomb.
Gotham Knights looks to be taking a page from that timeline, with the inclusion of Batman’s death.
The Villians show their true faces
As we get closer to release, Gotham Knights has shown it’s not just The Court our heroes will have to deal with. It appeares that the Prince of Crime, The Joker, is also noticiably absent. Meaning Gotham City is open season for some of the more background villians. However, the development team has done their homework.
Emerging from The Joker’s shadow is the undefinable, brilliant, but maybe not so mad, Dr. Harleen Quinzel. In her often forgotten role, Dr. Quinzel is reconginzed as a bona-fied psychiatrist. She is no longer under the constraints of being an abused side kick and is coming into her own right as possible “Queen of the Criminal World.” She appears to do this with a touch of modern technology, tapping into the darker side of infuncers. Built from the ground up, this older version is one we have never seen, anywhere. And a sneak peek at her boss form is terrifying, sexy and beyond earned as mindblowing.
Mr. Freeze has had his own storyline in previous Batman titles. But wthout the cape crusader keeping the unhinged forces from wrecking the city, Mr. Freeze has free rein to cause the most destruction he can. He’s formidable, and we do know his tragic backstory will be at least touched on.
We will also get a chance to deal with the googy abomination of Clayface. His shape-shiftingabilities may prove troublesome as the heroes unravel what happened to Batman.
Nightwing and Red Hood bring the heat
Gathering the Bat Family, we see four different characters, some fully playable for the first time in a game. Each one has a history with the Court, fueling their desire for vengeance. Each character brings their own unique set of skills as the player moves through the dark city of Gotham. Different parts of the story are conducted using one or two of the members, and players will be able to switch back and forth between them in the Belfry.
Nightwing, as mentioned above, is Dick Grayson. As Batman’s first Robin, Dick set the mold for what Batman expected from his sidekicks. Outgrowing Batman’s shadow and with encouragement from Superman, Dick left the Robin persona behind to serve and protect Blüdhaven as Nightwing. He has taken on the mantle as Batman during times of extreme trouble.
After Dick retired from the Robin role, Jason Todd took his place. Jason was brash, outspoken and more violent as Robin, leading Batman to often chastise him for his rash actions.
Unfortunately, when Joker attempted to blackmail Jason’s own mother, he was caught by the Joker during the titular “A Death in the Family” arc. To the surprise and horror of some readers and fans, Jason endured unspeakable torture at the Joker’s hands before being killed just as Batman arrived to save him. The scene of Batman carrying Jason’s lifeless body is one not many have forgotten.
Resurrected using the Lazarus Pit as the Red Hood, Jason is an anti-hero vigilante with no issues killing his opponents. During “Hush,” it became apparent that Jason held resentment towards both Bruce and Dick. Eventually the dust would settle, and Jason became part of the Bat Family. As the Red Hood, Jason still has no problem using violent force to take down his opponents, although he will (possibly) refrain from outright killing.
Batgirl and Robin- brains, beauty and breaking bones
Barbara Gordon debuts as Batgirl in Gotham Knights. As noted by the developers, this timeline takes place after “The Killing Joke,” where after a life altering event and injury puts Barbra in a wheelchair. She became the Oracle, helping Batman from afar. Through intense rehabilitation, and sheer determination, she regains the use of her legs. Eager to fight back and find out who killed her father, the commissioner Jim Gordon, she suits up and joins her “brothers” in the fight of their lives.
As Batgirl, Barbra will bring the best of both her personas- the highly trained fighter, and the skilled hacker/coder.
Last but not least, Tim Drake lands in the titular role of Robin. The third to wear the red and green, he is the youngest of the Knights, but also the smartest. He is one of the only characters to accurately deduce who Batman and his Robins are. Watching Batman spiral into depression and darkness after Jason Todd’s death, he seeks out Nightwing and asks Dick Grayson to reclaim the Robin title. When Dick refuses, Tim takes it up himself. He views Batman as a hero that Gotham needs, instead of focusing on more personal ties.
Skilled in fighting and stealth like the rest of his family, he brings the additional aspects of psychological warfare and behavioral science. He also has access to the Justice League satellite, enabling him to teleport.
Gotham Knights expands the world
Gotham Knights is set in an open world RPG environment, with five of Gotham’s distinct areas ready to explore. It has no connection to previous Arkham titles, but is a stand-alone universe, despite similarities.
In Gotham Knights, the Bat Family are not alone in their fight. With Commissioner Gordon gone, Police Captain Renee Montoya is on hand to provide support. And of course, Batman’s trusted butler and confidante Alfred Pennyworth is never very far. Characters also have access to a number of Bat gadgets and vehicles to traverse the city.
While the game is single-player, it also features two-player co-op. Like Dead Space 3 and other games, a player can drop in and out of a scenario at any time without affecting the other player.
Early gameplay trailers indicate that each character has an independent leveling system and changeable costumes. Batgirl, in particular, has at least a couple of different attires.
PC specs include 4K resolution, ultra high framerates, ray tracing reflections, customizations, intel. XeSS AI enhanced upscaling and ultra widescreen with multiple monitors support.
Gotham Knights releases on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and PC on October 21, 2022.
We will continue to update this article with new announcements and gameplay as it comes available. You can also watch all of the trailers below!