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Gotham Knights game should better showcase the Bat family

Gotham Knights box art showing the main characters of the game walking down the street.

Image: WB Games Montreal/WB Games

Earlier this week, game developer Warner Bros. Montreal has unveiled a new take on its upcoming superhero RPG. Gotham Knights. While the game’s 2020 debut featured footage of Tim Drake’s Robin and Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl, this 13-minute presentation focused on the game’s other two protagonists, the acrobatic Dick Grayson, also known as Nightwing; and the once-dead Robin Jason Todd, now the Red Hood. With Batman seemingly dead, the case falls on Dick, Jason, Tim and Barbara to protect Gotham from villains who want to take advantage of the Dark Knight’s absence, including court of owls.

Knights the footage didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know in 2020 – this is a third-person superhero game in 2022, so of course it will have RPG elements, gear, and flashy combinations. Whether Knights intended as a live service game or will have a de facto fixed ending, WB Montreal doesn’t really need to sell the game’s combat system or loot system to gamers. If you’ve played any Western RPG in the last five years, you already know how Knights The RPG mechanics will mostly be gone, just include a Rocksteady-like combat and stealth system. Arkham games. What will make or break the game and what needs to be shown more are his titular Gotham Knights and the dynamic they have with each other.

Of all the famous DC heroes, Batman has probably one of the strongest supporting actors. Whether or not you’re a fan of Batman himself, there’s a good chance you love at least two members of the growing Batfamily. In addition to Grayson and Gordon, heroes like future Batgirls Cassandra Kane and Stephanie Brown were loved in the 90s and 2000s, and even players with no energy like Rene Montoya achieved popularity. But for most of the past decade, Batfamily fans have remained in the dark: if their favorite Gotham character wasn’t mysteriously absent during DC’s New 52 era, chances are that character was disappearing too. controversially recycled or ended up in a comic that readers didn’t like outright. Outside of the comics, things didn’t fare much better, as Nolan’s films weren’t interested in setting the stage for future Bat-heroes until their final moments, and Ben Affleck’s DCEU Batman was put on the knee before he began seeking military service. new child soldier on your crusade.

In games, the Batfamily is supposed to have fun. injustice brought several members of Batman’s entourage, and those who did not receive accidentally killed it was fun to play or see pop-ups. In particular, Arkham City and Knight there were DLC chapters focusing on characters like Nightwing, Robin, and Harley Quinn, and Knight there was a mechanic to allow players to switch between Batman and his other teammate. But in terms of storytelling, the Rocksteady saga was so focused on the idea of ​​selling the powerful fantasy of being Batman that it forgot that Mr. Vengeance never really worked alone.

Things have been looking up for Batfamily fans in recent years. Family members previously missing in the comics now get enough time to reveal themselves as in solo and team books or Batman: Urban Legends comic anthology. In the webcomic Wayne Family Adventures, The Batfamily feels like a real family in a life context, unlike anything DC has ever officially released, and since it first came out in 2021, it’s been a nice touch. Family members such as Harley, Batgirl and Cass have been or will soon be in their own films as well as CW films. Gotham Knights A TV show (not related to the game) is expected to take shape. And with Matt Reeves’ Batman it seems like Robert Pattison version of the character is just reassuring (and silly) is enough to take a child under your wing and teach them how to fight crime using only their wits and a bo staff.

Image for Gotham Knights' article The Bat-Family means so much more than its equipment

Image: Jim Lee/WB Games

Since this is clearly not set in Rocksteady Arkham Universe, Gotham Knights has a fair amount of latitude in establishing the characters’ relationship with each other and their father figure before the game begins. WB Montreal is more than just selling the powerful fantasy of being Batman’s apprentice. you will need to sell the idea that Dick, Jason, Tim and Barbara are a family with complex in this game, feelings for each other and for the person who inspired them to fight crime. these are those the dynamics that have made The Bat Family a compelling read for decades, and Knights is in a unique position to convey this in a way that is different from the comics that preceded it. Dialogue and jokes during missions are fine, but the game just can’t rely on that to convey the story and tension between its four main characters.

There have been games that have successfully managed to make relationships as important as their struggles, such as Hades or Scarlet Nexus. Both games approach this in different ways; Nexus allows two of its leaders to give gifts to their party members and spend one-on-one time with them in separate one-time episodes that provide gameplay benefits. Hades has extensive conversations between Zagreus and the numerous denizens of the Underworld, which help him grow as a person and make the House of Hades a slightly more bearable place to stay.

Even in superhero games, we see relationships explored in different and interesting ways. Pre-match banter injustice 2 does a great job of making DC fighters and guest fighters feel like their fights are little, emotionally charged stories in the moment. An upcoming tactical game from Marvel. midnight suns follows in the footsteps of these games and Atlus development. A person the series you want connection with every Avenger to get additional abilities and equipment. Last year was amazing guardians of the galaxy a game made the relationship between his titular bastards meaningful with on-the-fly decisions, and Insomniac’s Spiderman it seems that the games of Peter Parker and Miles Morales should be exciting and vital in a new way next year. Spiderman 2.

Gotham Knights probably won’t let his characters exchange gifts, but even something as simple as having a mid-afternoon character snack or sparring at his base will give the game a little more life. The fun of superheroes hanging out has always been to watch them interact when they’re not punching the bad guys. There is no doubt that Knights will provide a combination of combat and stealth that Arkham the games are so perfectly nailed down. But all the flashy co-op brawls and gear in the world won’t matter if the game’s four heroes – and who else may appear in the future via DLC – don’t feel like they’re all in this together.

Gotham Knights Releases October 25 on Xbox Series, PlayStation 5 and PC.

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