WB Montreal’s new Batman Game, Gotham Knights has two-player co-op. Unfortunately, not much is known about how it works or is balanced.
At their recent FanDome event, DC finally revealed some substantial gameplay footage of their upcoming Bat Family game, Gotham Knights. One of the game’s many selling points is the ability for players to engage in co-op multiplayer as some of Batman’s iconic sidekicks. There is still much to learn about this system, but WB Montreal’s reveal gameplay does reveal some clues as to how it works.
Gotham Knights takes place in an unfortunate time for the city. In an explosion which was misleadingly similar to Batman: Arkham Knight’s final moments, Bruce Wayne (along with Batman) has been officially pronounced dead. Now, the responsibility of Gotham’s safety is left in the hands of four major members of the Bat Family: Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin and Red Hood. The player can take control of any one of these four characters, dispatching Gotham’s baddies with combat mechanics which include RPG leveling systems and seems less counter-heavy than the Arkham games. Players can take on missions in co-op, but it is unclear how the game’s design, especially its leveling system, will affect the way multiplayer works.
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The official walkthrough on DC’s YouTube channel already reveals one major unexpected limitation to Gotham Knight’s co-op. Despite the fact that the game features four playable characters, co-op only makes permits a maximum of two players per mission. It is unknown whether this decision came as a result of hardware limitations (i.e. the PS5 being unable to comfortably run four separate players in the same environment), or if it was a conscious decision from WB Montreal to more easily balance the game. However, it has since been revealed that co-op players will both be able to select the same character, which means players could be playing with two Batgirls or two Robins at the same time.
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If so, that balance decision may be directly related to the game’s leveling system. The fact that players can earn upgrades for their characters and unlock new skills as they play comes as no shock, but level indicators can clearly be seen above enemies’ heads. Enemy levels are tied to the player’s level, and it is confirmed old missions can be replayed at higher levels with enemies powered up to match. The Gotham Knights gameplay reveal gives no indication as to how this leveling system is tied to multiplayer. How the game chooses to balance enemies for the level difference between two players is a mystery.
One thing is certain, WB Montreal does seem to emphasize teamwork in this game (hopefully leading to a well-balanced end product). Enemy encounters are supposedly built to account for multiple different strategies at once, meaning players can potentially combine their different playstyles to come up with new approaches to hospitalizing goons. In open combat, players can even set up extra-stylish team finishers on opponents. Touches of flair such as that would be an incentive to behave cooperatively during combat, rather than independently.
If all goes well, WB Montreal will have designed a game that feels equally challenging and expressive in both multiplayer and single player. The gameplay shown in their most recent build of Gotham Knights shows off a good amount of multiplayer action which does not get deeply explored in the same way that some of the game’s other systems do. Unfortunately for potential fans, this is merely a brief introduction to Gotham Knights. There is still much to be seen from WB Montreal’s new take on Batman video games.
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