Gotham Knights just got a lengthy gameplay demo earlier in May, but WB Games Montréal just held a Q&A on its Discord channel to answer some lingering questions. The Q&A covered a variety of topics from its many gameplay systems to the story to criticism surrounding Nightwing’s controversial butt.
Skill Trees and Combat
Most of the Q&A revolved around specific questions regarding the mechanics. WB lightly touched on stealth gameplay early on in the Q&A, saying that everyone will have a standard stealth takedown. This includes Red Hood, but his guns won’t be silent. However, he can use certain projectiles as distractions during stealth.
Combat is also a little different and WB explained those differences. While there are no quick-time event counters, enemies have regular and armored attacks and can also block. Armored attacks can only be interrupted through special piercing abilities. Players can break through blocks with guard break abilities. Game Director Geoff Ellenor also explained that many of the player’s powerful moves can’t be interrupted after the startup animation.
The game is an RPG, but certain characters will be naturally suited for different tasks. Robin is geared toward stealth, Batgirl can hack, Red Hood is better at ranged moves and taking out groups, and Nightwing is more acrobatic and has the most co-op support abilities. But since it is an RPG, players can spec in different areas through its gear system and heavily customize said gear with mod chips and cosmetic paint jobs (transmogging is an option, too). Everyone’s mask, logo, gloves, weapon, suit, and footwear can be customized as long as players have the crafting materials to do so.
Some of these specializations come for the skill trees. Everyone has three basic skill trees that will unlock new moves as well as a Knighthood tree (which was not explained) and then momentum abilities. Momentum abilities seemed to be their own thing and tied to what challenges players complete and not tied to a tree.
Traversal is also a big gameplay pillar. All four will have access to basic parkour, grappling, and the Batcycle, but they’ll all have unique movement abilities in order to achieve a “different rhythm.” The team chose Nightwing’s “Fortnite glider” because of some “classic issues” where he uses jet-powered gliders. It also matches his “death-defying” demeanor, since the glider itself is one of Batman’s stealth drones being used for an unintended purpose. Robin can teleport and is about “snapping into a specific spot.” Batgirl can glide and is the most like Batman and seemingly uses momentum in a way similar to the Arkham games.
Red Hood has the most unique traversal method, as shown in the gameplay demo, and WB spent more time explaining why. It started from Red Hood’s link to the Lazarus Pit and how he was resurrected. He finds out that he can channel his mystic talents in “ways he finds familiar.” This manifests in how he uses his weapons, but also how he gets around, which is why he can run on air like he is “playing a platform game where he can invent a platform when you squeeze the trigger.”
Each district in Gotham will also have a “distinct mix of citizens” and will have their own tones. The weather will even change from night to night and have various crime side missions to solve, some which that will linger around along with seemingly randomly generated ones will fail states. Players will only be able to explore at night, as was the case with the Batman: Arkham games, but there will be other civilians walking around and driving on the road (as opposed to the Arkham games that had no civilians). However, as WB has said in the past, the game is not connected to the Arkham games (or the Gotham Knights TV show, for that matter). Creative Director Patrick Redding explained that this gave the team more freedom.
“We wanted to be able to interpret and adapt the characters – that’s both the heroes and their rogues’ gallery – in new ways that would support a new player experience and progression, ” said Redding. “We wanted to be able to write the history of these characters with an original story without being tied to a particular continuity or feature set.”
Batgirl’s Ability to Walk and Nightwing’s Butt
WB went more into detail with Batgirl and Nightwing. When asked how Batgirl could walk, Redding said that her injuries are different in this game, but they worked with AbleGamers to find other types of spinal injuries she could have where she could regain her mobility. The game’s hub, the Belfry, will also contain nods to this, as players can see Barbara Gordon doing stretches there as well as the back brace in her suit when she takes it off.
The comments about Nightwing were on the other end of the spectrum. When asked by a user fittingly named Nightwing Simp about Nightwing’s flat “cake,” Ellenor stepped in, saying the team is fine with the size of the hero’s butt.
“This question has been asked in my DMs,” said Ellenor. “We are currently comfortable with the size of Nightwing’s posterior, even though I can’t promise that we won’t revisit this issue again someday.”
Nightwing’s large butt has been a topic of discussion that goes well beyond this game and has been popping up for years. As explained by SyFy, artist Nicola Scott is often credited for popularizing his sizable rump, a characteristic that continued to follow him elsewhere. It even became a joke for other writers and artists, as shown by the above panel of Batman recognizing Nightwing’s dump truck.
The Canceled PS4 and Xbox One Versions
While WB Games Montréal already said it canceled the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions to “provide players with the best possible gameplay experience,” it expanded upon that statement during the Q&A. Executive Producer Fleur Marty went into more detail and said the team “didn’t make [that] decision lightly.”
“When considering the scale and scope of Gotham Knights we had to prioritize and focus our efforts to deliver the game at a satisfying level of quality for current gen,” said Marty. “We totally understand that this is upsetting to players who don’t own a current gen console yet, and believe me we really didn’t make this decision lightly, but, in the end, we wanted to focus on delivering a game we are truly proud of.”