Jim Gordon is dead.
The first trailer for WB Games Montreal’s Gotham Knights confirmed the unexpected death of one of Gotham City’s finest, adding one further twist to a game whose entire foundation is built on the biggest twist of all: Batman is dead and it’s all up to his allies to save the city. It seems like the logical progression of the Batman video game story after the events of the Batman: Arkham series, right?
Well, while the initial trailer and press release for Gotham Knights seemed to indicate that the new Batman-less Batman game was connected to Batman: Arkham Knight, it sounds like WB Montreal’s game only takes inspiration from Rocksteady’s trilogy closer. And the Jim Gordon who dies in Gotham Knights somehow isn’t the same one who became mayor at the end of Arkham Knight.
“Gotham Knights is an original story set in DC’s Batman Universe and not connected to the Arkham series,” WB Montreal told Comic Book hours after the game’s reveal at DC FanDome, which heavily suggested that Gotham Knights would pick up after the death of Bruce Wayne at the end of Arkham Knight. In fact, judging from the trailer, pretty much the only thing separating the Gotham Knights universe and the Batman: Arkham series seems to be the fact that WB Montreal said they’re not connected. The Bruce Wayne of Gotham Knights even died in pretty much the same way as Arkham Bruce: in an explosion.
It almost seems like WB Montreal wants to have its cake and eat it too, with marketing that helps fans draw a throughline between the Batman: Arkham games they love and this new property while also claiming complete originality.
Even the Batgirl backstory as outlined by the game’s press release acknowledges Batgirl’s past as the paralyzed Oracle we first met in the Arkham series and confirms the crime-fighter has recovered from her injury by the start of Gotham Knights.
“Batigirl, also known as Barbara Gordon, is a determined fighter and a skilled hacker. As the daughter of deceased Gotham commissioner, Jim Gordon, she had helped Batman as Oracle in the past. Now, after years of recovery and preparation, she is ready to step into her new role, wielding her melee tonfa, and harnessing her training in kickboxing, capoeira, and jiu-jitsu.”
Regardless of whether or not you choose to believe Gotham Knights is trying to exist in the vastly popular Arkham universe while claiming it isn’t, we know one thing for sure: these are dark times for video game Gotham.
We don’t know exactly how Gordon died and the press release didn’t go into any further detail, but this is sure to be a particularly devastating turn of events for Barbara. Fortunately, even though she’s lost two father figures since Arkham Knight, she still has a family around her to help her fight the good fight against Gotham’s many villains.
In the game’s first trailer, we watch as Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood band together to take up the mantle as Gotham’s new protectors. A second gameplay video also confirms that the game will feature co-op play that allows players to team up as different heroes to fight bad guys all over the city. There will also be RPG elements that allow players to level up the characters’ abilities and gear. Check out the gameplay footage below:
WB Games also explained that the game is “playable either solo or as a two-player, online cooperative experience” and that players will be able to “explore the open-world action of Gotham and patrol the dark streets of the city’s five distinct boroughs using a variety of traversal abilities and heroic combat moves, as well as the iconic Batcycle. As Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin progress, their distinctive gameplay skills will evolve, along with a growing arsenal of weaponry and gear.”
Gotham Knights is out in 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.