Gotham Knights might be an action-RPG, but it won’t follow the genre convention of having your characters start as weaklings. Instead, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood will all be the powerful Batman acolytes you’d expect at the start of the game – and find their own unique ways to become stronger over the course of the game.
All four characters begin more or less fully adept at what the development team informally calls ‘Batman stuff’, with unique skill trees allowing them to blossom into different kinds of vigilantes as you progress. Speaking to us as part of our month of IGN First coverage on Gotham Knights, creative director Patrick Redding explained the thought process:
“It was very important for us that these heroes, our Knights are… They're already awesome at the start of the game. It's not a function of them being ineffective as crime fighters, quite the opposite. They are all effectively graduates of the Batman School of Crime Fighting.
"So when they start, they are at their most similar, in the sense that they have a lot of these basic tools of combat and stealth, and moving around in the world and using their grapple. And then it's really over the course of the game that they fully diverge into their own flavor of what a Dark Knight of Gotham City should be.”
You can see how that manifests in our footage of the first 16 minutes of Gotham Knights, in which Batgirl is already moving and fighting like Batman while looking into a mystery at Gotham University – and easily taking down goons from Gotham’s Freaks gang while doing so.
“We didn't want to do a dungeon crawler RPG where we send you into the forest to kill six slugs and return with your stick,” explains game director Geoff Ellenor. “These are ultimately very interesting people who have been trained by Batman and by others. They're very intelligent. They're very capable. But they still have this challenge of rising to the level of, ‘what does it take to protect Gotham City now that Batman is gone?’ There is an RPG progression, but they're not starting from zero by any stretch. They're already pretty rocking by the time you take the controller.”
This isn’t to say the game will be unchallenging, however – but it’s about managing the balance of who these superheroes should find it easy to take down, versus bigger threats:
“We don't want you to have that moment where one bad guy in an alley with a baseball bat is going to give you a hard time,” Ellenor continues. “That said, there are some mini-bosses in the game that are decently strong, and you have to pay attention a little bit in the beginning.”
Gotham Knights will be released for PC, Xbox Series X/S and PS5 on October 25. Before that, however, we’ll have the whole of August to show you new gameplay, in-depth information, and more as part of IGN First.