Gotham Knights Dev Revises Batgirl Backstory to Address Harmful Disability Tropes

The developer of Gotham Knights has revised the backstory for Batgirl after fans criticized the game for using harmful disability tropes. In the comics, Batgirl is shot in the spine by Joker and is then largely seen in a wheelchair. Depending on the version of the character, she becomes Oracle, Batman's eyes and ears while he's in the field. She is able to use her technical wiz to be a major asset to Batman without getting into combat. Batgirl's biography in Gotham Knights indicates she was critically injured in some sort of fight, though it's unclear with who. The biography noted she was able to return to active duty as Batgirl after training, something some fans took issue with as it's not as easy as doing some training to recover from a critical injury that places someone into a wheelchair. This has been seen as a harmful trope throughout media and it seems Warner Bros. is aware of this.

In a recent Q&A, Gotham Knights creative director Patrick Redding stated that they heard the feedback from fans and they worked with AbleGamers to "learn about different types of spinal injuries and the potential for someone to regain mobility." Her bio has since been revised to note she has gone through extensive rehabilitation and training. Redding noted that her backstory will differ from the comics and she has had physical therapy, multiple surgeries, pain management, and will wear clothing with back braces integrated into them. Some of her rehabilitation will also be portrayed in the game itself. 

Ultimately, it sounds like Warner Bros. wanted to create a more authentic portrayal of Batgirl's recovery and not have it be explained away through a simple training montage. It also seems as though that she will be dealing with the effects of her injury within the game, showing it doesn't just go away entirely after surgery and physical therapy. 

Gotham Knights is slated to release on October 25th for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. The game's last-gen versions were recently canceled.

What do you think of Batgirl's revised backstory? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.


[H/T Eurogamer]