An open-world Batman game that doesn't include Batman 😱
When Gotham Knights launches in 2022, it'll be seven years since the last Batman game launched on Steam PC. Now, alongside Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, we'll be preparing our fists and gaming rigs for two DC games containing some of our favorite Bat-characters, but without actually playing as the Bat himself in either!
Warning: Batman: Arkham Knight spoilers ahead
Whilst it may seem that Gotham Knights will be set in the Arkhamverse with Bruce Wayne hanging up his cowl... well, kind of, like in Batman: Arkham Knight. The action RPG by Batman Arkham Origins creators, Warner Bros Games Montréal, is in fact in a different universe.
With the Dark Knight no longer a thing, the Batman family; Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin, must gather together and clean up the streets of Gotham from the crime that has ensued since the hero died. However, things aren't what they seem as the mysterious Court of Owls rear their head.
If you don't know what the Court of Owls are, then we don't blame you as they've only been in a few pieces of Batman media aside from comic books - including an animated film, the Gotham television show, and references in Batman Arkham Origins.
So let's break it down for you. The Court of Owls are a secret organisation that control all of Gotham with their power and influence on the city rumoured to have started at the birth of the city, or even earlier!
They're so secret that even Bruce Wayne didn't know of their existence, despite them following him and his alter ego for years. In fact, during Penguin's monologue in the Story Trailer we hear Nightwing saying that the Court of Owls are a myth - but as we get further into the trailer we find out that the court and their Talons are, in fact, real.
Gotham Knights promises to expand on the Court of Owls lore by building on the backstory from previous media, but adding new depth to the group. This is sure to please diehard Batman fans who have been clammering for more stories and information about the elusive villains since their introduction in December 2011.
As we mentioned above, you'll get to play as four characters in the Batman family. For fans of the World's Greatest Detective, you won't be able to play as Bruce Wayne or his crime-stopping alter ego as he's, unfortunately, dead in this story. However, you'll be able to put on the costumes of the beloved crime fighters he fought with - Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. Each one of these characters will have different abilities, weapons, and unique combat moves that you can use to take down the thugs and villains that reside in Gotham City.
In terms of villains in the infamous Batman gallery, we've seen the Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin) make a flap about the Court of Owls, and Mr. Freeze causing carnage to Gotham City with a massive weather-changing machine that we don't think he'll use to make the city a tropical paradise.
Whilst we know that Penguin will be involved within the main story with the Court of Owls, Mr. Freeze is one of several 'Villain Crimes' encounters in Gotham City. It's not confirmed, but we suspect these villains will have their own agendas. As such, they may be side quests for your band of heroes to take on - judging by the way their talked about in the Official Gameplay Walkthrough video.
Oh, and Bruce Wayne's famous butler, Alfred Pennyworth, is back to assist you throughout the game via voice messages. We don't know as of yet if he'll make a physical appearance in the game, but he'll be on hand to provide pearls of wisdom as usual whilst you roam the city.
Gotham Knights will be a brand-new open-world action RPG set inside the world's most famous city - but probably top of the 'worst city to live in' list, Gotham City. In the game you'll be able to play solo, or with a friend in co-op.
The character you play as determines how you play the game. Robin, for instance, can move quickly by teleporting using the Justice League's satellite, making him the perfect character for the stealth sections.
Whereas, in combat, Batgirl utilizes her knowledge of a variety of fighting styles to deliver quick and precise blows to an enemy. This is in stark constrast to Red Hood who is all about strength, and Nightwing who is a master at acrobatics and can take down opponents with his dual escrima sticks.
For those that played the Batman Arkham Collection, the gameplay will seem very familiar. Combat is fluid and split up into hand-to-hand combat, and stealth section, and traversing the world can be done using your vehicle; for instance Batgirl's Batcycle, or via gliding and grappling. However, as mentioned, there are a few new tricks in their costumes, such as Robin's short range teleportation and Nightwing's dual escrima sticks. This will mean that the gameplay will feel different and fresh from when you donned the cowl of Batman in the Arkham franchise.
One difference we also noticed in the Gameplay Walkthrough was that enemies now have a level. Meaning that the further you progress, even the basic thugs will now be tougher, smarter and more lethal than when those you fought first few hours within the game.
This should allow for new areas to be unlocked as you progress and level up your abilities, but also it means that the game won't have to constantly throw new enemy types at you or more enemies to make the combat a challenge in the latter stages.
When is it out?
We've not yet got a definitive date for Warner Bros Games' new title, but we do know it will be out in 2022 on Steam PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.