Welcome back to Leveling Up, gamers! We’ve been away for a few weeks because, to be honest, we’ve been in mourning. DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes and DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse showed us the most fun we’ve had in a long time, but the Gotham Knights trailer from Warner Bros. Games Montréal also brought the news that our dearest Batman had passed away.

So, if you’re keeping track, Rocksteady has the Suicide Squad attempting to kill the Justice League in their 2022 release, and Warner Bros. Games Montréal has us trying to protect a Gotham City that’s without its Batman in 2021!

Be still our beating hearts.

But you know what? Batman wouldn’t want us moping around in the wake of his death. He’d want us out there fighting for justice and protecting the innocent! And that’s exactly what the premise is behind Gotham Knights—now we can join Gotham’s new guard of heroes by taking on the mantles of Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and Robin as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding Batman’s death and expose the sinister forces at play in the shadows of this daunting cityscape.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major Gotham Knights learnings coming out of DC FanDome and make sure we’re ready to “Step into the Knight” come 2021!

Gotham City is Alive in this Open World

Batman’s death aside, one of the most compelling aspects of the game is the ability to engage with a “living, breathing Gotham City” as Warner Bros. Games Montréal’s Patrick Redding and Fleur Marty described it. That’s because this is a full-on open-world action RPG, or, in other words, an expansive landscape that you can traverse at your own pace to discover the secrets that await.

You’ll have the ability to visit five distinct boroughs, battle street-level crime as it’s unfolding, and come face-to-face with some iconic super-villains like Mr. Freeze who are also trying to make sense of their place in Gotham now that Batman is gone. Simply put, Gotham City is its own character in the game, and, the more you immerse yourself in it, the better chance you’ll have at preventing its descent into chaos.

Batman is Gone, But His Legacy is Not

Speaking of characters, let’s talk about our protagonists! It’s clear that a great deal of thought and care went into selecting who the playable heroes were going to be, each of them with intensely strong emotional ties to Batman himself.

First up we have Nightwing, also known as Dick Grayson. The original Robin, Dick has always been an amazing foil to Batman’s stoic personality with his charismatic disposition and flair for acrobatic dramatics. With his leadership and dynamic fighting style (don’t ever forget his dual Escrima sticks!), it’s easy to imagine him having a major role to play in a Batman-less world.

Next up is Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, a tech wiz and martial arts master who’s as much of a threat to criminals from behind the control hub in the Belfry as she is when she goes toe-to-toe with them on the streets. Unfortunately, the trailer tells us that her father Jim Gordon has also passed away, which gives us a sense that our new heroes will really have to take it upon themselves to clean up Gotham without any support from the GCPD. But, if anyone’s up to the task, it’s certainly Barbara, whose willpower and determination allowed her to overcome a devastating injury that left her confined to a wheelchair (but not for long).

Our third of the four playable characters is none other than the formidable force of nature who goes by the moniker of Red Hood. Also known as Jason Todd, he was killed while serving as Robin (Dick’s successor) but was then resurrected through mysterious means and took on a fiery personality more like that of an antihero. He’s trained without rest to reach the peak of human strength and has armed himself with an arsenal of weapons that’ll have any criminal running scared.

Last but most certainly not least is the youngest of the Batman Family—Robin (Tim Drake). Batman was a role model to Tim, and he steadfastly believes in the mission/legacy Bruce left behind. Helping Tim keep that legacy alive is an unparalleled intellect as well as a knack for stealth in combat, making him a dual threat who can beat you with his quarterstaff or with his own brand of psychological warfare.

With unforgettable heroes like these ones at your disposal, the hardest part about the game may just be figuring out whose mantle you want to take on! But, if you’re anything like us, you’ll toggle between all of them as the storyline unfolds because picking your favorite member of the Batman Family is just cruel. In fact, all you need to do whenever you’d like to step into someone else’s shoes is return to the Belfry and select whoever that may be.

And lastly, don’t forget about the online co-op! After you’ve chosen one of the four characters above, you’ll have the ability to team up with a friend online for a two-player experience. We even got a preview of what this could potentially look like in the gameplay walkthrough that was shown during DC FanDome.

Batman Day and 2021, Here we Come!

Sadly, that’s where our information ends for now. But rest assured that we’ll keep all of you Knights-in-training up-to-date with the very latest Gotham Knights details as soon as there’s more to share.

In the meantime, though, it turns out that we won’t have to say goodbye to Batman right away! That’s because Batman Day is coming this Saturday, September 19th, and DC will be celebrating all things Caped Crusader for the rest of this week. Stay vigilant for some special offers and promotions from our partners at DC Universe Online, Injustice 2 and DC Legends that’ll be sure to level up your weekends, Gotham City-style.

And let your Bat-Signals shine proudly because, on Batman Day and every day, the Dark Knight’s legacy is forever!