If there’s anything that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taught comic fans, it’s that a good superhero team-up can be the most exciting part of any superhero media. For video games, that’s been the same as well. Even the best moments from Marvel’s Avengers stemmed from combat scenarios where heroes banded together for coordinated attacks. Part of the appeal of the upcoming Gotham Knights comes from the same conceit, especially when there’s four iconic Bat Family members as playable characters. The upcoming action RPG from WB Games Montreal has co-op for players to facilitate this, but only two players can match up with one another to fight crime in Gotham.
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Despite having four playable characters, Gotham Knights multiplayer will only be two-player, clarifying after a previous rumor and store page indicated four-player co-op by accident. It’s unclear what position this puts the other two Bat Family heroes in, but since players can choose which hero they want to stick with, the remaining heroes will likely just be on the back-burner. Designing the entire game world to accommodate four-player co-op would be understandably difficult, and is likely the reason why WB Games Montreal has opted for a two-player design instead. That being said, even if it were only in scripted segments, four-player co-op should come to Gotham Knights in some form.
Designing Four-Player Co-Op May Be Difficult for Gotham Knights
Again, from a practical standpoint, not including universal four-player co-op might make sense, despite Gotham Knights making the jump to an entirely next-gen game. Four-player co-op requires a lot of factors to work together in tandem; gameplay and hero balance, environmental design, objective design, among other aspects that could complicate development. Limiting co-op gameplay to two-player was probably more conducive to creating a balanced and rewarding combat experience, at least for a majority of the game. Plenty of other action RPGs have struggled with power creep and unbalanced fights once additional players are brought into the fray.
Avengers in particular is the most recent and relevant example of an unbalanced gameplay experience in co-op play. Even putting aside criticisms of the game’s loot systems, the androgynous lack of enemy variety alongside the game’s disappointing co-op interactivity makes Avengers a pretty bland multiplayer affair. There’s very little opportunity to work truly work together to defeat enemies or accomplish tasks, outside just mashing on high-health enemies. Gotham Knights, on the other hand, seems to have ample opportunity for two players to work together and defeat enemies with team attacks and strategy, but it’s only two players instead of the potential of four.
Gotham Knights: Four-Player Co-Op Has Potential
What would be interesting is if the game leaned into four-player teamwork, even if it’s in limited scenarios. The issue with four-player co-op in Avengers wasn’t necessarily related to the way co-op was designed specifically, but rather exterior issues with the gameplay itself. Gotham Knights could capitalize on the potential of four-player co-op scenarios through entirely separate missions. Players might have to infiltrate a Court of Owls facility, but in order to successfully complete the objective, players may need to use stealth. Players could coordinate stealth takedowns, with groups of two infiltrating from two different sides of the facility to successfully complete their objective.
Another scenario could have all four players fighting in a massive arena, being attacked from all four sides with their backs against one another. Players could fight together interchangeably, coordinating chain attacks to efficiently beat down criminals in waves. Whatever the circumstances, there’s a variety of scenarios where Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin, and Batgirl could join the fight together in concept. Team attacks could be adapted to four-player interactions, co-op specific bosses could accommodate the four-versus-one gameplay, among other changes to battle environments or regions that would otherwise be impossible with two-player co-op.
Gotham Knights could even add in scripted missions or dungeon-like cooperative modes as DLC, relying solely on four-player interactivity and capability to successfully complete missions and challenges. Having these four playable heroes in-game, but never really being able to have all four heroes fighting together at the same time, would be a missed opportunity. These four Bat Family members are meant to avenge Batman’s death and defeat the Court of Owls; there’s no reason they wouldn’t all be working together to achieve this goal. Perhaps a four-player co-op mode(s) could be added to Gotham Knights post-launch to achieve the Bat Family’s full potential.
Gotham Knights releases on October 25, 2022, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.
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