Gotham Knights Team Gives Answers
This past weekend, we got the official trailer and announcement for Gotham Knights, the new game from WB Games Montreal set in a new Batman game universe. But there were still plenty of questions many were left with after the reveal, and luckily, IGN was able to sit down with some of the game’s developers to talk about the game.
The two developers interviewed were Patrick Redding, creative director, and Fleur Marty, senior producer, who spoke about the way the combat works, the open world, how co-op will work, how gear works, and more.
How Will Combat Work?
The combat system is going to be similar to the way it worked in the Arkham series and other classic, brawler games.
“We have gone through and iterated on control schemes quite a bit over the course of the whole project, but it’ll be comfortable to people who are familiar with third-person brawler type experiences.”
“The way you’re accessing some of your special moves and things like that can vary I’m sure, but in terms of having both attack and defensive choices, having a range of combo choices, having variations in strike types and attack types, being able to combo in your ranged attacks as well as your melee attacks – all of that is there, and I think will be comfortable for people who have played modern, contemporary third-person action-adventure style brawlers.”
Will the Stamina Bar Be Connected to Special Abilities?
Many have noticed a “stamina” bar in the lower-left corner of the screen during the trailer and have assumed it is tied to special abilities for players to use, which Redding confirms:
“Yeah, you have special abilities in your ability tree that you’ll unlock, and you can choose to unlock it in different ways, as well as how you use your gear. And some of that will tie into that bar that we’ll be talking about in the future.”
How will the Open World Work?
The game’s world will be open right from the start, and there will not be any areas you have to wait to access. You can go anywhere you want as soon as you want.
Will Enemy Levels Affect Gameplay and How So?
Enemies will have various levels as you come across them in the game, and as you progress your character the level of enemies may increase and you may also come across some different types of enemies.
“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. 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.'”
“It’s really that, when you encounter open-world crime activities (and other activities that involve the AI), you’re going to see a range, right? You might see guys that are a little bit weaker than you, and guys that are a little bit stronger than you. And how you approach each of those situations, it presents you with some choices that you’re going to have to make. Like, ‘Is this a situation where I’m going to maybe swap out a piece of equipment, because I think I’m going to handle it better that way.? Do I want to take a more stealthy approach?’ All of those are options that are available to the player and, and the level of your enemy is just one factor in deciding that.”
How Will Character Customization Work?
There will be quite a bit of room to be creative with each character and allow for different people to build their characters in a unique way from someone else, playing the same character.
“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.”
You will also be able to play the whole game as one hero, should you choose to do so.
What is the Gear System?
Gear is going to work as a sort of mix between costumes/skins and also different weapons:
“So, just to be clear, when we talk about Gear, we’re talking about your melee weapon, your ranged weapon, and your suit, which has certain armor characteristics. And then there’s your suit style – that’s the sort of ‘skinning’ of the suit. Because we didn’t want it to turn into just a random crazy quilt, what we’ve done is we’ve got distinct suit looks. And then within that there’s accessory variation that the player can tap into, and that way you get a chance to tweak it and make it exactly the way you like it.”
How Will Co-Op Work in Gotham Knights?
Co-op is going to let people use different heroes’ abilities in conjunction with each other, as well as letting players play as the same character together.
“Because the characters are so distinct from each other, there’s a bit of asymmetry, a bit of the complimentary skill set and ability set that actually makes teaming up kind of awesome if you happen to have different characters.”
“Now, if you happen to have two Batgirls, you can also do that. Obviously, the potential of having different Batgirl builds, and how they look different and play differently is really cool too.”
However, the game will capped at two players for co-op, despite there being four heroes you can choose from.
“You can have four-player brawler experiences, [but] I think the more you try to lean into that, the more you end up having to create environments that only really work for that.”
“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.”
“Focusing more on the idea of the immediate team-up of two allowed us to say, ‘OK, we can build a world that works perfectly well for either solo play or pairing off.”
Is Gotham Knights a Game-As-A-Service?
The game will not be designed as a games-as-a-service kind of model.
“This is very much not designed as a game-as-service. There is an ability tree, which is different for each of the characters, and then there’s gear that you craft – and so choices that you’re going to be making – but that does not mean that this is a game-as-service.”
The game’s story is meant to be told as one, contained story when you first get the game, and won’t be hindered for anyone who wants to play the game offline, solo.
“That you can also completely experience in solo if you want to, you’re not going to miss out on anything. If you’re playing single player, you can be offline if you want to. We think that teaming up and living that dynamic duo fantasy can be also a really great experience for players, but we won’t force it on them.”
Will There Be Multiple Villain Questlines in Gotham Knights?
The trailer shows off the heroes facing off against Mr. Freeze, and it mentions that this is halfway through Mr. Freeze storyline. This leaves many wondering if there will be multiple villain questlines to follow.
“That’s probably more details than we’re supposed to do at this stage… but yeah, that’s a clue that we put in there. Yeah. You got it right.”
What is the Game’s Timeframe?
The game will be taking place over the course of several nights, with the daytime being the part you spend in the Belfry – the headquarters for the heroes.
“The Belfry is super-central to our game because it’s your base of operations. You get to go back there, analyze all the clues that you’ve picked up during your previous night, have a little chat with Alfred, craft your gear, and really prepare yourself for the next night of crime fighting. So yeah, daytime is Belfry, and then at night you’re roaming the streets, fighting criminals and unraveling the mystery.”
Heroes will also be out of their disguises in the Belfry, at least to some degree:
“It was important to us, the Belfry. I mean, obviously it has a huge role to play in how the player manages their characters and their progression and all that – but it is also a narrative space. It’s a place where the characters are allowed to be seen and have facial expressions and talk to each other. So it serves a dual purpose, and it’s a really effective way of using that space.”
Was Gotham Knights Always Outside of the Arkham Series?
The game was always meant to be out of the Arkham series, the popular series of Batman games which is to be continued in Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
“Yes, 100%. That was something we arrived at early on. We want this to be the start of something, not just the continuation or the prolonging of something. It was always intended as a new franchise set within DC’s Batman universe, obviously. Once we had that as, not a blank slate, but a clearer possibility space, then we started arriving at some of these other ideas that allowed us to kind of move in a very different direction and, you know, take the step of… killing Batman.”
What is the Story Based On?
The Gotham Knights story will not be based on any one graphic novel or comic storyline. Even though the Court of Owls is a big player in the game, it won’t be based on any of the group’s specific stories. The game will, instead, be drawing from several different aspects of Batman lore and history.
“Honestly, we could probably publish a reading list and post it to our website and it would be an excellent way for people to get themselves more fully immersed in it but, to be clear, it’s an original story. It’s very much our interpretation of several aspects of the Batman lore and the Gotham City history, and we kind of synthesize them in a way that holds together as a very much a unified storyline.”
Will There Be More Stories to Be Told in the Gotham Knights Universe?
As for future stories being told in the game’s universe, they say they have left the possibility open, but didn’t give any details.
“[Gotham Knights] is all about growth. There’s room for growth.”
We are very interested to learn more about this game and get our hands on it next year.
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