What happens if you want to make a game about Gotham City but can’t center it around Batman? Easy! You tap the benchwarmers. Warner Bros. has revealed the opening chapter of Gotham Knights, its action game about DC heroes who aren’t the Caped Crusader.
Gotham Knights, first announced in 2020, is under development at WB Games Montreal, best known for the 2013 action game Batman: Arkham Origins. WB Games had previously shared a 13-minute gameplay clip featuring B-list DC antiheroes Nightwing and Red Hood. (Gotham Knights stars the Jason Todd iteration.) The most recent clip, which shows about 15 minutes of gameplay from the prologue chapter, focuses solely on Batgirl. Via IGN, here’s the clip:
IGN notes that WB Games is keeping the specific plot details under wraps, but it’s clear the four playable characters—Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, and Robin—are reeling from the death of Batman. The opening mission focuses on Batgirl planning to infiltrate a facility, continuing the trail of a case Batman didn’t quite finish before he died.
Earlier footage of Gotham Knights teased a game that was heavy on collecting gear and navigating “the biggest [video game] version” of Gotham City, spurring concern that it’d be just another open-world loot grind. But the base gameplay shown off today, which doesn’t explore those aspects of the game, actually looks pretty sick. Who knows: Maybe this is another open-world game with a killer campaign that’s padded out by a ton of side-quest fluff.
There’s a grappling hook (hell yeah). Batgirl employs some Witcher-style “investigating,” meaning that you press a button to automatically illuminate a path of footprints that show you exactly where you need to go. Combat against cannon fodder looks both weighty and spry. As with approximately 90 percent of all gameplay previews, the clip ends with a fight against a mini-boss. With a shield. And some blatant signs of sociopathy.
It’s all very sumptuously rendered, though of course the arms race of graphical fidelity has rapidly approached the point of diminishing returns. Still, for those interested in behind-the-scenes development diaries, here’s a brief clip showing the motion-capture work put into the game:
Gotham Knights has had a bit of a rocky road to release. It was initially planned to launch in 2021 across console generations. Last March, WB Games delayed it to 2022. This past May, WB Games scrapped the last-gen versions. That same month, the developers fielded backlash for including a character bio for Batgirl that leaned heavily on tropes (it has since been rewritten). Gotham Knights is slated for release on October 25 for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.