Gotham Knights debuted this past weekend and since it's WB-related, everyone was immediately skeptical.
WB Games Montréal's handling of Arkham Origins, WB's penchant for games-as-a-service and the RPG elements were all cause for concern, and IGN sat down with director Patrick Redding and senior producer Fleur Marty to discuss a few of those topics. Not all of our questions were answered, but we do have a better idea of what makes the game tick.
As for the games-as-a-service deal, Marty claims that the game wasn't designed that way. I mean, what else is he supposed to say?! Here's the full statement: "This is very much not designed as a game-as-service. There is an ability tree, which is different for each of the characters, and then there's gear that you craft - and so choices that you're going to be making - but that does not mean that this is a game-as-service." An expected political answer. But all we have to go on at the moment.
What about the those conspicuous enemy levels icons in the trailer? Redding says that the game runs on a "sliding scale" for leveling, claiming that it's "not a grind," where you'll have to go finish a ton of specific missions in order to level up to take on the critical path. Redding instead claims that it will color how you approach individual fights, with enemies who are of varying strength. Seems like the series already had that covered with different designs and movesets, but I hope that's the case.
The team also clarifies that the game is "one open world city, right from the start, with no level-gating whatsoever," that characters have ability trees and options for different specs (Red Hood can upgrade his ranged/melee/suit capabilities) and you can be two of the same character in co-op. Marty also re-clarifies that it is a solo experience if you opt for that approach, and that two-player co-op as a max was designed because they wanted the game to be closer to that solo experience rather than a "brawler" archetype.
Call me cautiously optimistic, as I'm already planning on tearing through Gotham as Red Hood next to my wife's Batgirl. I don't need it to be connected to the Arkham series. I don't even need it to be as good as the Arkham series. I just need it to be good. And preferably, not fleece me for cash.