Gotham Knights, the new open-world game from Arkham Origins developer Warner Bros. Montreal, set to release in October, has a very different take on Batman’s Gotham City, offering a more storied and historic version of the crime-ridden metropolis than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, or the Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson-helmed The Batman.
In Gotham Knights, Gotham City, like real-life New York, is separated into five boroughs: North Gotham, Lower Gotham, Historic Gotham, Downtown Gotham, and New Gotham. Each borough is reigned over by one of the city’s historic, founding families, which include the industrious Cobblepots, of latter-day Penguin fame, and the sinister, manipulative Arkhams. The intention from developer Warner Bros. Montreal is to offer a subtle, environmental story of how the city was forged.
Some areas will be modernised and urban, while others will retain their original 18th and 19th century architecture, or will have fallen into disrepair. In Gotham Knights, the story of the eponymous city dates back over 400 years, and links intimately to the mysterious, Illuminati-like Court of Owls, which seemingly controls Gotham from the shadows.
It’s an interesting contrast to the previous versions of Batman’s stalking ground that we’ve seen in other contenders for the best Batman games and movies. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy presents a thoroughly modern, sleek conurbation, whereas the Matt Reeves-directed and Robert Pattinson-fronted The Batman makes Gotham look more decrepit and ancient, a semi impoverished former rust belt crossed with a steam-and-coal-driven Victorian London. Gotham Knights is kind of all of these things but, from what we have seen so far, also something unique.
As well as an expansive and expressive open-world playground, Warner Bros. Montreal says it is trying to create a convincing impression of a city that has evolved over centuries.
“We started to think about what were the major events in history that the [Court of Owls] would have reacted to,” Gotham Knights’ creative director, Patrick Redding, tells IGN. “All of these ideas become part of the conversation, and allow us to build layers of accreted history.”
“We made a very big Gotham City,” adds lead level design director, Kristofor McMahan. “But what’s unique to Gotham Knights is the density. The families were there. They built imposing structures within their districts. And then, we built around that. There are a lot of areas that are kind of stuck in time.”
Be sure to check out our guide to the Gotham Knights release date, gameplay, and story. While you’re waiting for Gotham’s next chapter, you should also take a look at some of the best sandbox games, and best superhero games, which naturally include Arkham Knight.