Gotham Knights: Why the Developer Chose The Court of Owls as the Game's Villains

It has been a wild time in the world of DC video games ever since Gotham Knights, the long-rumored Batman game from WB Games Montreal, was officially revealed at DC FanDome. The game focuses on the extended Bat-related family of Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Red Hood in the wake of Batman's death and subsequent chaos in Gotham. And it would appear that, while it will feature several antagonists, The Court of Owls will serve as the game's primary villain. Following the reveal, had a chance to speak with creative director Patrick Redding about all things Gotham Knights -- including why the team went with The Court of Owls in the first place. We see in the footage that The Court of Owls is the main antagonist. And we even see teased how far they've infiltrated with the owl at the top of the badge and things like that, so there are little clues. When you folks were crafting this game and decided to go that route, was it more about what excited you about them as an organization and what they bring or trying to maybe avoid doing another Joker story or doing some of those things that we've seen?

Patrick Redding: Right. No, it really was what was magical and special about The Court of Owls as a new element in the Batman lore. It just was such a good fit because one, we're kicking things off with a very shocking event and then asking the question, "What happens to Gotham City as a consequence of that?" Right? And you can start to imagine all the obvious things, but for us, at least in our interpretation of story, that becomes the inciting incident. You don't have this firewall, this buffer between the worst excesses of the city and its populous anymore. So an organization like The Court of Owls that's been sitting in the shadows for a few hundred years suddenly has their opening, right? There's that aspect of it.

The other part of it is the game is really driven by the new guard, right? It's driven by these young heroes who are not Batman and don't necessarily philosophically do things the same way he would. And they represent the youth and collaboration and solving certain kinds of problems with a certain kind of fervor and a certain kind of youthful energy. Well, there's no better antithesis to that, honestly, than The Court of Owls, which represents corrupt, old, entrenched power and wealth, it's just twisted and has distorted and turned Gotham City into this grotesque version of an East Coast American city, right? So I think it was a really logical, very organic choice as an adversary for that group of heroes.


Here's the full official description for the upcoming video game:

"Gotham Knights is a brand-new open world, third-person action RPG featuring the Batman Family as players step into the roles of Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin, a new guard of trained DC Super Heroes who must rise up as the protectors of Gotham City in the wake of Batman's death. An expansive, criminal underworld has swept through the streets of Gotham, and it is now up to these new heroes to protect the city, bring hope to its citizens, discipline to its cops and fear to its criminals. Players must save Gotham from descent into chaos and reinvent themselves into their own version of the Dark Knight."

Gotham Knights is set to release in 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the recently announced title right here.

What do you think of what we have seen of Gotham Knights so far? Are you excited about the inclusion of The Court of Owls? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!