WB Games Montreal separates itself from Rocksteady by developing its own Batman universe. Over the weekend during DC FanDome, the studio unleashed a trailer and gameplay reveal on Gotham Knights. In an interview with IGN, creative director Patrick Redding and senior producer Fleur Marty gave out details on Gotham Knights to clear up the many questions fans, and ourselves at KeenGamer, have had about the game’s world and mechanics.
The two spoke about how the combat will feel compared to the Arkham games along with any other modern third-person beat em’ up style combat. Redding said that people should expect a “comfortable” experience for players well versed in the genre. He did not quite acknowledge how it will feel similar or different to Rocksteady’s trilogy or WB Montreal’s take with Origins.
While we didn’t get full clarification, the two developers did talk about the bar at the bottom of the screen. It will tie into abilities, and each character will have a special ability often seen in other RPGs. The way you use your gear or abilities, some of which will affect that bar, but as Marty said, it will have a “strategic approach to it.”
Yes, Gotham Knights is an open-world game, but how does that work when you can play it with one other person and as an RPG? The answer is easy as the studio does not lock players based on their character’s level from locations. You start it up, maybe go through an introduction of some sort, then you are off to explore Gotham in all of its corrupt and crime-filled glory.
During the daytime, players will be in their base, the Belfry. That is the time to talk to Alfred, prepare your gear, and take a look at your evidence to piece together the mystery. At night, that is when you go beat on some thugs and supervillains.
Enemy level scaling
In games like this, you may come across enemies in one section of the city that are too powerful or missions that require a certain level to beat. WB Montreal addresses that by letting enemies not be too much higher or lower than you. You may encounter stronger criminals, but they will not be impossible despite a level disparity. On top of that, you will find different types of foes as you make progress with your character.
“It’s true that, as you are getting more powerful in your progression, you’re gonna see a sliding scale in terms of not just the level of the enemies, but even some of the types of enemies that you’re going to be coming up against,” Redding told IGN. “But it’s not a grind, it’s not a situation where you’ll say, ‘Oh, God, I have to go grind this type of mission in order to level up to this, and then I can get this.'”
The focus is on letting players strategize on how to tackle different scenarios. You have a bunch of formidable henchmen, so maybe try going stealth. If you have the right build with the right character, then go tough on them so they know nobody should commit crimes on your watch.
Character selection and customization
For those of you who don’t know, as the Batman is dead in this universe, players will choose between Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Nightwing. As an RPG, you will have your own gear and builds to distinguish each hero. In the interview, Redding uses Red Hood as an example of how this will play out.
“Between the ability tree for Red Hood (which is very unique) and his gear spec, and the way you can modify and upgrade both his ranged weapons, his melee weapons, and his suit – absolutely. In fact that range [between character builds] remains actually quite robust throughout the entire game.”
When it comes to gear, both as a tool to beef up your crimefighter and to look stylish doing it is two different things. When it comes to equipment, you have a ranged and melee weapon along with your suit. Each of those three components has its own characteristics in which you can upgrade or get new editions. Along with that, you can get some customization into your costume, but we don’t know how that will turn out.
At any point, you can swap between characters. If you want to gun down people as the anti-hero Red Hood then step into the shoes of Batman’s iconic sidekick Robin then you can do that whenever you want.
In the gameplay reveal, we hear that the presentation shows a part half-way through Mr. Freeze’s questline. While Redding and Marty don’t go into details, they gave recognition that each villain will have their own story that players will go through.
The only villains we know of include the iconic Mr. Freeze and the secret society, The Court of Owls.
What co-op looks like
The developers are aiming to let players combine different move sets and abilities between each character to complement one another. Even if you have two of the same character, your other builds will not prohibit that experience. We got to see a glimpse of this in the gameplay reveal (watch it at the end of the article) as Batgirl and Robin would team up to beat down on some baddies like random thugs and Mr. Freeze, the boss who we got to see.
They don’t want to force players into this experience. The story is self-contained, so playing with a friend or offline will not take away anything. Co-op is purely for a unique gameplay experience compared to playing alone.
Despite having four protagonists, players can only have one friend come in to play in the crime-ridden city. The team would have to create an environment to fit that type of gameplay with four players, all roaming around. Along with that, there is a reason within the universe for this that Redding explains.
“And if you look at the fantasy of the Batman family and when these heroes get together, it is often weirdly kind of a drop in drop out scenario. They’ll, they’ll be running, rolling their solo crime-fighting efforts, and then they’ll cross paths and it’ll turn out they’re after the same guy. And, you know, they kind of joined forces and they take that on and then go their separate ways or decide to team up some more that’s all possible in the current dynamic.”
Is this a game-as-a-service?
Much of the conversation surrounding Gotham Knights and what might be one of the most important details given is whether or not this is a game-as-a-service. The answer is no. While it has similar features, this is designed as an action RPG, not a GaaS.
A bigger universe?
Yes, WB Montreal is planning to set up a bigger universe with this being the start of it all. We received no elaboration, but we got the confirmation.
We have no date for Gotham Knights, but it is heading for a 2021 release for PC and both current and next-gen consoles.
For now, this is all of the updated details on Gotham Knights. What do you think of this new information? Does it sell you on it, or will you skip this release? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments.