Gotham Knights is an upcoming open-world action game developed by the team behind Batman: Arkham Origins. Batman is notably missing from Gotham, and is presumed dead in Gotham Knights, leading a team of his four most notable sidekicks to take the fight to the city’s crime ring. Previously, Gotham Knights has shown off gameplay for two of its playable characters in Red Hood and Nightwing. However, more recently one of the other characters has come under some criticism from fans.
The character in question is Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, who appears in the game as one of its playable characters. In the Batman Arkham games, Barbara is known as Oracle, as she supports Batman from afar following being shot in the spine by the Joker and being bound to a wheelchair. In Gotham Knights, Barbara resumes her Batgirl persona, leading some to question how she regained the ability to walk. Warner Bros have given an explanation for this, but it has left fans feeling somewhat uneasy.
Batgirl’s biography for Gotham Knights tells fans that she trained to recover from her wounds, allowing her to “return to active duty as Batgirl.” Some found this to be a rather tired trope, which portrays a disability as something that a hero needs to overcome through determination and training. Creative Director Patrick Redding has responded to these worries, claiming that the team has worked with the AbleGamers foundation in order to learn about the different types of spinal injuries and the potential for someone to regain their mobility.
While this does mean that the team at WB Games Montreal have put some research into Batgirl’s wound rather than excusing her recovery with diet and exercise, some fans still weren’t happy with her biography. Redding did go on to explain that the wording of Batgirl’s description would change in response to the feedback. Apparently, her recovery will extend into the game, which could have an effect on Gotham Knights’ combat and story after Barbara has gone through “multiple surgeries followed by a lot of physical therapy and pain management.”
Redding also explained that all of Batgirl’s gear, both when she is wearing her suit and when she isn’t, will include some kind of back brace. This means that the customizable gear in Gotham Knights will acknowledge Barbara’s wounds and how she continues to recover from them. Previously, the gear menu for Gotham Knights has been criticized for looking like a mobile game.
Gotham Knights releases October 25 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.