Ever since Batman: Arkham Knight ended, fans have wanted to go back to that world. Sadly, the developers behind the game, Rocksteady Games, made it fairly clear how they intended the third entry to be the conclusion to their story about the Caped Crusader. Demand for more continued, however. Then Gotham Knights was announced and was instead developed by WB Games Montreal.
Despite looking almost identical in style and design to those games that came before it, fans were perplexed to learn how this adventure takes place in an entirely separate canon.
Ironically, the story tells the events after Bruce Wayne's death, who also happens to have perished at the end of Arkham Knight. For this new game, however, his death seems to be related to the Court of Owls, a hidden group of assassins who have operated in the shadows of Gotham City for hundreds of years.
But why did the studios decide to start carving out their own canon instead of building on what has already been established?
Are Gotham Knights & Arkham Games Connected?
In the official Discord for Gotham Knights, some of the game's developers spoke about why the game isn't in the same universe as previous Arkham games, what its open world is like, and how dynamic random events are in the game
Warner Bros. Games Montreal Creative Director Patrick Redding explained how the studio "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:"
"The rich mythology to the Batman universe itself. 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. 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.
Redding then went on to talk about how alive the open world is, mentioning how "the weather varies from night to night," and "there is... both petty and major... crime everywhere:"
"Everything mentioned in that question is present in our Gotham City to some degree. Each district in Gotham has a distinct mix of citizens. Since the player will only hit the streets at night, some neighborhoods have more of a civilian nightlife, others are more industrial and bleak. But you’ll encounter Gothamites from all walks of life, and they will definitely have opinions about you and your vigilante activities. There’s vehicle traffic of various types, pedestrians heading in and out of rail stations, city workers on the night shift. The weather varies from night to night, while remaining true to the Gotham vibe. Players will be able to enter a variety of buildings, usually because there’s some illicit after-hours activity underway. And there is crime everywhere, both petty and major.
So how dynamic are those random crimes? The developer stated how "it depends on the crime," with some "[having] a failure condition if the player retreats after engaging:"
"It depends on the crime. Some of the random opportunistic crime will still linger unless the player moves to intervene. Most of the bigger, more pre-meditated crimes have a failure condition if the player retreats after engaging.
To finish off the conversation, Executive Producer Fleur Marty answered a question wondering what would happen if players were to "accidentally" hit civilians with their bikes as they drive across the city.
Marty confirmed that "the inhabitants of Gotham City have learned to get out of the way," a skill they likely "[developed by] living in a crime-infested city:"
"Well, that wouldn’t be a very super-hero-worthy thing to do now, would it? But anyway, the inhabitants of Gotham City have learned to get out of the way when vehicles are coming at them at full speed. That’s the kind of skill you develop when living in a crime-infested city, I guess?"
Why Is Gotham Knights Taking a Separate Path?
It’s completely understandable how the developers would want more freedom with the canon to do whatever they wanted. That said, it would have been smart to also distance the game from the nearly identical look it has to the previous Arkham games.
Either way, in theory, the prospect of a new game like Gotham Knights is really exciting. However, the most recent footage shown off for the project didn’t quite wow people. Many thought the combat looked clunky and the voice acting a bit off. Of course, the game isn’t done yet, so there’s plenty of time for correcting those rough edges
Given how long people have been waiting for the game, it would undoubtedly crush a lot of fans if the final product wasn’t up to the same quality as other Batman games. But, if it does end up being not so great, there’s always Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad project.
Gotham Knight releases on October 25.