Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was just delayed into 2023, but that will hopefully have no bearing on Gotham Knights, despite similarities.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has officially been delayed into 2023, but will the announcement affect Gotham Knights? Both are included in the line-up of DC video games coming in 2022 and beyond, and are expected to fill a similar niche, but are being created by two different development studios. The two games do happen to share a publisher, though, so while the delay to Suicide Squad may shake up the tentative, internal release schedule a bit, Gotham Knights could conceivably still be on track for a 2022 release. Until there’s official word otherwise, Gotham Knights hasn’t been delayed, and shockingly similar timelines for the two games may provide some clues on how the development cycles are coming along.
Gotham Knights is in development at WB Games Montréal, a studio founded by Warner Bros. in 2010. Although a few early projects flew relatively under the radar, the studio gained some prominence with 2013’s Batman: Arkham Origins, a prequel to Rocksteady Studio’s highly acclaimed trilogy (which only had two releases at the time). While Origins isn’t the best of the Batman: Arkham games, it is a more than respectable entry to the series. Following Origins, WB Games Montréal assisted with the downloadable content for Arkham Knight, and presumably began work on Gotham Knights shortly after.
Despite the similar tone, titles, and gameplay, Gotham Knights is not a direct follow-up to the Batman: Arkham games. That honor belongs to Rocksteady’s recently delayed Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which leaves behind Arkham Asylum and the rest of Gotham to bring players to Metropolis, the home of resident hero Superman. Rocksteady’s most recent release was Batman: Arkham VR in 2016, which capped off a seven year run of the studio exclusively making Batman games. Switching gears, Kill the Justice League has some shooter mechanics, will feature multiple playable characters, include cooperative play with up to four people, and is taking a departure from Arhkam‘s uniformly nighttime settings to give players a chance to explore Metropolis during the day.
Gotham Knights & Suicide Squad Have Similar Development Cycles
With WB Games Montréal inheriting some of the Batman: Arkham experience through development of Origins, it’s not entirely surprising to see the company extrapolate on that foundation, but the similarities between Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League are numerous. Gotham Knights has similarly abandoned Batman as the player character, and is bringing in four different protagonists from the Bat Family – Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. It still has multiplayer like Suicide Squad: KTJL, but Gotham Knights only features two-player co-op. Both will take place in an open world setting, with each expected to have at least some form of skill progression for their individual playable characters.
Even more coincidental is the development parallels between the two games. After WB Montréal and Rocksteady finished work on the Arkham Knight DLC and Arkham VR respectively, each probably moved on to new projects at roughly the same time. Rocksteady had initially planned on creating a game with Superman as the lead, but the pitch was rejected by the studio’s publisher and parent company Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (which is also the publisher/parent company of WB Games Montréal). Now both developers have an open world, co-op, action adventure DC game that’s been in development for years without a concrete release window. To add even more confusion between the two, the Gotham Knights developer possibly has a Superman game in the works, according to hints from a job listing.
Gotham Knights’ Release Date Is Still Uncertain
Although each title was teased in its own way, both were even officially announced at the same time – during DC FanDome in August 2020. Gotham Knights, however, was expected to release in 2021, while fans would have to wait until 2022 for Suicide Squad: KTJL. These plans did not last particularly long, because in March 2021, Gotham Knights was officially pushed back to 2022. One would hope that a single delay is enough, but after the disastrous launches of games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Battlefield 2042 in recent years, game developers and publishers seem increasingly wary of overpromising. Now that Suicide Squad: KTJL has been delayed to 2023, another extension on Gotham Knights’ development isn’t off the table, but doesn’t seem as likely.
Though both games have missed their originally targeted release years, Gotham Knights was always intended to release a roughly a year before Suicide Squad. Instead of the Kill the Justice League delay leading to another Gotham Knights delay, something close to the opposite seems to have already been the case. As previously mentioned, Gotham Knights was planned for 2021, but delayed beyond that only a few months into the year. The game might not have hit some development milestone, or there may have been unforeseen obstacles; the possibilities are many. Roughly a year later, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League likely went through a similar process, again near the beginning of the calendar year. The games are incredibly similar, and are inextricably linked because of their Batman: Arkham heritage, but they are still being developed by two entirely separate studios, regardless of the shared parent company.
Both developers finished previous projects roughly a year apart – a handful of expansions for Arkham Knight (including a Batgirl DLC that shows Gotham Knights‘ potential) for WB Games Montréal in 2015, and 2016’s Batman Arkham VR for Rocksteady. Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad seem to be of at least comparable scope, which would theoretically lead to each having a similar length of time in development, even with Rocksteady spending some extra time pitching a Superman game. Warner Bros. likely wants to give its DC games plenty of leeway in development for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the potential for multiple lucrative sequels and expansions if either can attain similar success to the Batman: Arkham series. While the delay to Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is concerning, it most likely won’t directly affect the release of Gotham Knights. While there’s still no official release date, Gotham Knights is currently still scheduled to drop in 2022. This is subject to change, but until there’s official word otherwise, there’s no reason to believe one delay will cause another.
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