When it comes to video games, the history of an area is at times not as important as what you’re doing in it. For example, in an RPG, you might go to a capital city and learn a little bit about its birth and such, but you rarely learn all about the history of the land unless it’s a part of the plot. For the upcoming Gotham Knights titles, the team wanted to not just make a large Gotham City (which they claim is the biggest version of it yet in video games), but they wanted to make one that was rich in history–400 years of history, to be exact.
In a massive interview, the team revealed how deep they went into making the title’s home city not just from a physical standpoint but from a historical one, including how in each of the five explorable boroughs you’ll find references to the original founders of Gotham City:
“We always would like to tell a story with every borough,” says environmental art director Daniel Kvasznicza.
He noted that in one area run by the Cobblepots, the family that would eventually birth The Penguin, they did some heavy mining in an area of the city that resulted in heavy environmental damage, turning it into a slum due to how things were run. You’ll see that when you visit it yourself.
They also noted that some of the details they put into the city were a direct reference to how Gotham City is shown in a key piece of media.
“The Downtown area actually got expanded over the Trigate Bridge, and that was something that was in the comics.”
Speaking of the comics, Gotham Knights also plays with the notion of the “secret history of Gotham,” which is a direct tie to the Court of Owls, the main villains in the game. If you recall, in the comics, the Court of Owls came in the first arc of the New 52 saga via legendary writer Scott Snyder. He wanted to put Batman up against a secret foe that even he with all his experience didn’t know about. That was because the court was deeply tied into the history of Gotham in a way that few actually knew, including him. That secret history will be told in this game as well.
As you can see, the team wasn’t just trying to make another Batman title or focus solely on the combat of the four characters of the Bat-Family, they wanted to make something that had a deep and rich history so that fans new and old might just learn something about this classic city.