Our IGN First for August is WB Montreal’s long-awaited Gotham Knights – the open world action-RPG set in a brand new Batman video game universe… in which Batman has died. To kick off a month of new footage, interviews, and news, we’re beginning, appropriately, with the first 16 minutes of gameplay.
The footage (above) shows off the first time you’ll take control of one of the Knights, running you through the basic controls and abilities for both combat and traversal. The opening of the game is set amid the rarefied environs of Gotham University, with the Knights following Batman’s last lead, and on the hunt to find Dr. Kirk Langstrom (known to comic book fans as Man-Bat). After finding that he’s seemingly been murdered before you arrive, you’ll need to investigate the crime scene and fight past members of the Freaks gang, who are trashing the campus, having been emboldened by Batman’s death.
In the final game, you’ll be able to choose which superhero you’d like to play this section with, but we’re showing off Batgirl’s version of the intro today. While the events of this section are the same for each Knight, all four characters will have different dialogue and animations during this section.
The interesting thing here is that, despite this being the opening of an RPG, none of the Knights are meant to be weak – instead, all four are already proficient at Batman’s style of crime fighting, and your progression through the game is instead helping each one find their own strengths beyond that (more on that progression later this month).
“They're already awesome at the start of the game,” explains creative director Patrick Redding. “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.”
What comes before this first playable section is much more of a mystery. WB Montreal is being extremely coy about the prologue to Gotham Knights, refusing to say how and where Batman dies (and who’s responsible). All we know is that his four proteges – Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing and Red Hood – meet by his grave and decide to work together to solve the mystery that seemingly led to Batman’s demise.
We’ll find out more when the game is 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.
Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].