After tons of fan sleuthing and theorizing (and all the buzz that a Bruce Wayne-sized viral marketing budget can buy), Warner Bros. Montreal at long last pulled back the curtain Saturday on the Batman video game it’s been cryptically teasing — and it turns out it's actually kinda light on the Batman, and more about the Bat-family.
Unveiled during a DC FanDome panel that left fans more eager than ever for answers during its 20-minute runtime, the studio introduced the world to Gotham Knights — the first proper Batman console title since 2013’s Batman: Arkham Origins. Bruce Wayne is definitely in the picture (at least for some of the story), but most of the action looks to focus on his DC compatriots: Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood — and it looks like players will be spending a ton of quality time with them.
First things first, though: out of the darkness in a flurry of black wings, check out the very first footage for Gotham Knights:
Four Bat-characters for the price of one — how can you go wrong? The gameplay reveals that Gotham Knights plays as a third-person action game, though a few RPG elements (like health bars above each enemy and damage hit points) are also part of the mix. The characters appear to have their own unique attributes and skillsets (like Red Hood’s sneaky stealth moves and Batgirl’s grappling and platforming abilities), and there’s a generous helping of dialogue to liven up the few mellow moments between battles.
While story details were light as the studio stayed focused on the action, the game indeed confirmed the much-anticipated appearance of the Court of Owls. First introduced in 2011 by Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo in the New 52 comics series, the Owls in the comics are a sinister group whom the Caped Crusader must draw from Gotham’s hidden shadows. A secret organization whose wealth well conceals their large schemes beyond the everyday street-level goings-on in Gotham, the shady fellowship of movers and manipulators has actually held ultimate control of the city for centuries — and also has a secretly guarded hidden connection to Nightwing's Dick Grayson.
Snyder himself took to Twitter to share his hype at finally getting to talk about the game, revealing that he even got an early, first-person peek at how the studio was adapting the Court of Owls (which, he said, looked “killer”) for game systems.
Given the trailer’s ominous opening, could Batman somehow still show up as a playable character? There’s no way to know. But Warner Bros. Montreal made it clear at the start that this game is all about taking the reins while Bruce is down for the count. “We wanted to see what happens if you take away the safety of Batman’s presence,” explained the studio’s Patrick Redding, adding that the game is designed for Robin and crew “to step up and take on the role as protectors of Gotham.”
The studio didn’t share exactly when we’ll be taking the fight to the bad guys, but did reveal that Gotham Knights is slated to release sometime in 2021. Via IGN, the game reportedly will be a cross-generation release, heading to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Click here for more of SYFY WIRE’s coverage of DC FanDome.