While it undoubtedly shares a distinctly similar art style with Rocksteady’s beloved Arkham trilogy, Gotham Knights is, in fact, set in its own all-new universe. In this interpretation of the Batman mythos, Bruce Wayne is believed dead and, in his stead, has passed on the mantle of Gotham City’s protector to his four former students. Collectively, Batgirl, Red Hood, Robin and Nightwing must fill the void left behind by the Dark Knight and bring order to a crime-infested metropolis threatening to devolve into anarchy.
It’s a setting and premise, says Gotham Knights creative director Patrick Redding, that simply wouldn’t have been possible had WB Games Montréal attempted to continue or expand on 2015’s Arkham Knight. Addressing the elephant in the room in a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Redding said:
The Arkham series is amazing, and it really stands as this amazing opus that people love, and it’s a fantastic interpretation of the Batman lore. I think for us, we saw an opportunity, we were granted an opportunity, honestly, to start something new and take a fresh look at, not just the Batman universe, but the full range and scope of characters and heroes that have been part of that for so many decades.
Fans of the Arkham games will recall that Barbara Gordon has long since relinquished the Batgirl mantle by the events of Asylum and become Batman’s covert assistant from behind the scenes. Likewise, Jason Todd, who traditionally becomes Red Hood after giving up the Robin name, is presented as the titular Arkham Knight in Rocksteady’s final installment. Both of these backstories would have made Batgirl and Red Hood’s inclusion in Gotham Knights tricky, if not impossible, had the developer adhered to the trilogy’s overarching narrative.
A necessary decision for the project to realize its goals, then, and while it’s one that’ll undoubtedly be disappointing for many, it’ll be refreshing to see how Redding and his team take on the challenge of establishing an all-new timeline with its own twists and turns. It’s also worth noting, of course, that Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be set in the Arkhamverse, so the continuity isn’t dead, by any means.
Gotham Knights is out in 2021 for consoles and PC.