Harley Quinn in Gotham Knights is not Batman comics’ “manic pixie”

Harley Quinn in Gotham Knights is a very unique take on the classic Batman villain, and Warner Bros. Montréal have explained why it chose to make her this way

Harley Quinn in Gotham Knights isn't a "manic pixie": Woman with short blond hair has white and black facepaint, and hoists a large colourful circus hammer over her shoulder

The Harley Quinn in Gotham Knights is very different from the maniacal yet adorable persona that we’ve fallen in love with over the years, and Warner Bros Montréal have shone a bat-shaped spotlight on why it chose this iteration of Harley for the RPG game.

While people have been excited to see what Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin will get up to in WB Montréal’s upcoming Batman-inspired saga, Gotham Knights, the villains are what people really want to get a good look at.

And who better to kick the rogue’s gallery reveal off with than Harley Quinn, former psychiatrist-turned Joker’s maniacal partner in crime. Unfortunately, the announcement didn’t quite go as planned, with players  being left unimpressed by Gotham Knights’ take on the self-professed queen of the underworld.

Speaking to IGN about their vision for Harley, creative director Patrick Redding reveals that they wanted a more subdued, mature version of the character in Gotham Knights to fit with the overall tone of the game.

Harley Quinn in Gotham Knights isn't a "manic pixie": Woman with blond, short hair wearing black facepaint with a triangular smear across the eyes wielding a huge hammer

While the Harley Quinn of Gotham Knights is the exact same character as the one in the comics and films, Redding reveals that she’s at a very different point in her rebellious cycle.

“She is coming not from a place of, ‘oh, I’ve got to be zany. I’m your manic pixie.’ She doesn’t need to be the manic pixie anymore. She has gotten to a point where she knows who she is. She has a very clear sense of what her identity is, and she’s going to present herself in this much stronger, developed supervillain way.”

This iteration of the classic character comes after the turbulent romance with the Joker, but doesn’t see Harley take on a somewhat anti-hero persona in the vein of Suicide Squad or Birds of Prey.

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“For us, we thought, ‘well, that idea of Harley kind of branching into the direction of good, that’s been pretty well-explored in a lot of places.’ So we thought, ‘what happens if we take her the other way?’ What happens if Batman’s absence and the rise of his successors inspires Harley to say, ‘well, why don’t I finally get to have my career as a supervillain on my own? I have all sorts of ideas. I’m a brilliant psychiatrist. There’s all sorts of crazy things that I can do – especially in Gotham City!'”

Concluding that the devs wanted the in-game model to exude the “confidence that character has that maybe she didn’t have before,” I wouldn’t want to run into Harley at night in a dark, dreary alleyway (well, considering I’ll be playing the game, maybe I do).

Gotham Knights has already revolutionised the Batman game genre by, well, not having Batman. Not only has Gotham changed, its cast of colourful characters has, too – and that’s what makes Gotham Knights so exciting. It’s nittier and grittier, and it’s everything I want to see.

If you’re looking forward to giving Gotham’s finest a helping hand, be sure to check out our Gotham Knights release date roundup for everything we know about the game. Looking for something new now? You can also check out our list best action adventure RPGs on PC to decide what your next purchase will be.