Villains that players could be facing in WB Montreal’s Gotham Knights
Just as DC Comics recently broke the internet with DCFandome by showing some amazing trailers and news for their upcoming films, they also made some pretty epic announcements that rocked the gaming world. While the announcement of Rocksteady’s new game being a Suicide Squad game that we’ll eventually get our hands on in 2022 (hopefully) was cool, the bigger and more intriguing reveal came from WB Montreal showing off their new game Gotham Knights.
In the game, Gotham is sent into chaos by the news that Batman is dead and its now up to his former disciples and sidekicks to step up and become Gotham’s new protectors. Although the caped crusader is down for the count, players will be able to take control of Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood in both a single-player campaign and drop-in/drop-out co-op. With Batman gone, the stage is certainly set for plenty of villains to come out and try to become the new top dog in Gotham. Not to mention, with the game harnessing more RPG elements in both gameplay and storytelling, there’s likely going to be stronger story threads in Gotham Knights that make the villain appearance more than just quick side quests.
Based on the initial reveal trailer, we know that the Bat Family will be uncovering the secrets of Gotham through an encounter with the game’s main villains – The Court of Owls. For those that don’t know, the Court of Owls is a secret society that has been secretly controlling the inner workings of Gotham since its colonial times and with their appearance here, it’s going to be the first time they’ve made their appearance in the games. Not to mention, with the appearance of their assassins, known as Talons, I think there could be a possibility that the Bat Family could run into Damien Wayne – Bruce’s son and a future Robin. Obviously, that’s not his real origin story, but it could definitely work here.
The trailer also revealed that Mr. Freeze will have his own story thread as he attempts to make Gotham go back into the Ice Age and there’re were even rumors that stemmed from WB Montreal’s teasers for the game that Two-Face will be attempting to serve justice in Gotham as well. However, that leaves plenty of room for other villains to terrorize Gotham in the wake of Batman’s death. While it’s easy to assume that mainstream heavy hitters like The Riddler and Penguin are going to return, WB Montreal has a big chance to utilize some of Batman’s under-utilized enemies. So, while WB Montreal gave us eight assassins trying to claim a bounty on Batman back in Batman: Arkham Origins, I’ll be giving you eight villains the Bat family could encounter as they become the new protectors of Gotham in Gotham Knights.
With Batman not being around to protect Gotham anymore, there’s no one more perfect to instill some anarchy and chaos than Anarky, himself. Introduced back in the late 80s, Lonnie Machin, aka Anarky, is a pure force of chaos as he attempts to topple governments through radical and often violent actions. What he lacks in superpowers, he more than makes up for in being a cunning tactician, skilled hacker, amplified intelligence, and strong social skills to garner an army of anarchists. Basically, he harnesses the same skills as Batman, but instead of using his abilities for justice and vengeance, Anarky seeks to create a new world order through anarchy and what better place than a defenseless Gotham to do so.
Now when I was initially creating a list of villains that could appear in Gotham Knights, Anarky was the first that came to mind. With his love for anarchy at any cost and Gotham being in the perfect position for him to establish new order and bring the government to its knees, there’s no one more perfect than Anarky to try and take over Gotham. After hearing from Patrick Redding, Creative Director on Gotham Knights, in a gameplay trailer for the game talk about how there will be longer side stories involving other Batman villains, Anarky could fit into this mold as the Bat Family attempts to stop him from spreading his influence across the city.
With risings discussions and debates about protesting as they continue across the U.S. as well as politics being such a hot-button topic in mainstream media, there’s a lot of relevant themes and issues that the game could touch on with Anarky’s story. Now, obviously WB Montreal could want to avoid any kind of controversy altogether so this same reasoning that Anarky could be perfect could also be why he’s not. However, I think its well worth the risk and it could even lead to some interesting discussions within the Bat family as they discuss their views on Anarky’s beliefs and methods. Not to mention, WB Montreal has actually used Anarky before as he made his gaming debut in Arkham Origins so they would at least know what they’re getting into with him.
Honestly, if there were any villains I’d be willing to put my money that’s going to appear in Gotham Knights, Anarky would definitely be one of them. With him already being utilized by WB Montreal in the past and his obsession in toppling governments, it’s a safe bet that Anarky will be making his way to Gotham to spread his influence in a Gotham without its protector.
Although Rocksteady gave the iconic villain a chance to flap his wings in the Arkhamverse with Arkham Knight, it’s time for the Man Bat to return with Gotham Knights. For those that are unaware of the character’s origins, he first appeared in Detective Comics #400 in June 1970 as a zoologist named Kirk Langstrom experimenting on bats to utilize their sonar hearing to help cure deafness. However, in a similar vein as The Lizard in Spider-Man, he decides to test his concoction on himself and ends up turning into a large bat/human hybrid that terrorizes the Gotham skies. With enhanced strength and agility as well as sonar hearing and the ability to emit a high-pitched sound waves to help him navigate pitch black areas with ease, Man Bat is a perfect foe for the Bat family to face to help them become protectors of Gotham.
Now, even though Man Bat did get his time in the side-quest spotlight in Arkham Knight, it was kind of disappointing. While the initial jump scare introduction was cool, the rest of mission was heavily underwhelming as you just hunt Man Bat down over and over again and just tackle him as he’s flying around Gotham. There’s not even a wild boss fight against him and it was an incredibly missed opportunity. However, Gotham Knights could be the perfect place to right that wrong as Man Bat could find a perfect place in this new Gotham and maybe even bring a Bat family of his own.
Honestly, I can already pictured his side-quest in my head as people believe that Batman has returned from the dead in this strange new Bat form and the Bat family is forced to hunt down this strange imposter. Now, obviously this kind of side-mission that could easily be reserved for someone like Clayface or even Hush, who is also in need of some desperate redemption after being botched in Arkham Knight, since their powers and storylines also fit snuggly into this kind of storyline. Man Bat is a little more interesting though as it’s not only a more horrifying creature for players to encounter, but his family storyline could be interesting to explore and ties to the comics in a unique way. In his original outing, Kirk also ended up turning his wife Francine and his children into bat creatures as well and it could be incredibly fun for these two Bat families to face off.
Man Bat is absolutely deserving of a real side-quest this time around and Gotham Knights could be the perfect place for his redemption. Having him run around as an imposter new Batman that’s deformed and ready to terrorize Gotham, especially with his Bat family, could be an absolute blast and make him a fitting addition.
Just having a stint in Stargirl as one of the members of the Injustice Society, Sportsmaster is the perfect kind of villain for a wacky and wild boss battle. The frustrated athlete turned master criminal is no layup when it comes to combat as he’s both a skilled fighter and has some deadly equipment to assist him in battle. From exploding baseballs and hockey pucks to lacrosse net snares, Sportsmaster comes equipped with some deadly sports equipment that just lives and breathes comic book wackiness.
While he’s generally a villain for the Justice League, mostly Green Lantern and Wildcat, why shouldn’t the death of Batman attract the likes of Sportsmaster to Gotham? It’s always seemed kind of odd that Batman rarely, if ever, faces villains outside of his usual rouges gallery and having Sportsmaster come to Gotham while he’s gone could make sense. Perhaps he out committing some robberies or even is doing some recon work the Injustice League to make their way into Gotham. Hell, if Marvel’s Spider-Man can have the titular hero take on Taskmaster, why can’t the Bat Family have to take out Sportsmaster. Not to mention, with his sports-inspired weapons there’re plenty of potential for a strange and incredibly fun boss fight.
With his incredible movement and exploding sports equipment, I don’t think it’s that crazy to suggest that a fight against Sportsmaster could easily rival the fight players had against Deathstroke in Arkham Origins. In some ways, Sportsmaster is a developer’s dream since there’re so many wacky ideas that could be thought of with how he turns generic sports equipment into deadly weapons. Maybe he’s come equipped some deadly nun chucks of his own to rival Nightwing’s or even garnered some boxing gloves that could knock someone’s head off in one blow. Now, obviously this is Gotham Knights not Mortal Kombat, so that last one is a little exaggerated, but the possibilities are truly endless for what Sportsmaster could bring to the fight.
It’s time for players to finally encounter non-Batman villains and Sportsmaster could be an incredibly fun and challenging boss to bring into Gotham Knights and give the Bat family a worthy foe that tests the limits of their skills.
Polka Dot Man
The Arkham games have always had one villain in its entries that puts players in a trippy and often horrific fight for their lives and while it might be cool to bring Mad Hatter and/or Scarecrow back, I think this could be the time that Polka Dot Man could make an appearance. One of Batman’s strangest enemies, aside from maybe Crazy Quilt, Polka Dot Man got his start in Detective Comics #300 as a hero taking a more villainous turn and has since become a cult favorite in Batman’s rouges gallery for his unique polka dot powers. Utilizing a special belt that makes turns the polka dots on his suit into deadly weapons that aid his crime sprees and even can make a getaway vehicle for him.
There’s always a very dark look to the Arkham games, and just Batman in general, that will likely continue with Gotham Knights, but having someone a little more colorful like Polka Dot Man could brighten things up. With him throwing out colors left and right and utilizing a distinct color palette, a great side quest of the Bat family trying to stop Polka Dot Man’s crime spree. Frankly, the most wacky, weird, and obscure villain we’ve gotten in any of the more modern Batman games has been Calendar Man and I think it’s a great time for the spotlight to shine on Polka Dot Man. Not to mention, in a similar vein to Sportsmaster, the boss fight would just be an amazingly trippy explosion of color.
After doing some research on the exact nature of Polka Dot Man’s powers, he’s now someone I’m in desperate need to go up against as his polka dot powers are absolutely wild. With flying dots that turn into fists, Black Hole dots that allow him to teleport around, Sun dots that emits a blinding light, and even dots that turn into rotating buzz saws, there’s so many great possibilities that would make hunting down Polka Dot Man an absolute blast. It’s a great chance to showcase the character in an intriguing light and with him also being one of the last villains introduced in the Golden Age of Batman, it would be great to see WB Montreal bring back a truly classic villain.
It also helps that James Gunn is actually bringing Polka Dot Man to the big screen for the first time, where he will be played by David Dastmalchian, in The Suicide Squad. So, with that added relevance, there’s a lot of potential for Polka Dot Man to take players on a trippy side quest.
With Gotham basically being in a war for power that’s completely up for grabs, it’s hard to imagine a criminal mastermind like Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, sitting out on an opportunity like this. Although he was born into the same kind of wealthy social circle as the Waynes, Roman did not follow the same path as Bruce. Instead, after his parents died, he used pieces of his father’s ebony casket to carve a skull mask and lead one of Gotham’s most prolific crime organizations. With an arsenal of weapons and a loyal group of followers, called the False-Facers, at his disposal, Black Mask is easily one of the powerful villains in Gotham’s criminal underworld. Not to mention, with Batman gone and his undying thirst for power, he’s going to take any chance he gets to be the most powerful man in Gotham.
Black Mask was another top of mind pick for me as he has a history with both WB Montreal and many characters within Gotham Knights. Like Anarky, Black Mask is another Arkham Origins alum, but unfortunately feel victim to a terrible twist. While he was positioned to be the main villain as it seemed like he was the one that put a bounty on Batman’s head, it ended up just being the Joker disguised as Black Mask. Frankly, I remember playing through Arkham Origins excited to see someone like Black Mask be the big baddie and end up being heavily disappointed when it just ended up being Joker because he’s always been a very undervalued villain. After all, he was the only one able to escape from Arkham City, with the help of Firefly of course, and he’s certainly a capable character, but he’s just been relegated to being a DLC villain.
Honestly, it’s time to give Black Mask another chance to show how powerful he can be, and Gotham Knights’ premise is perfect for it. Seriously, how could Roman possibly resist trying to take the city for himself or at least take out his competition with Batman out of the way. Black Mask is also likely to appear as he’s heavily connected to Red Hood and could even pique the interest of the Court of Owls because of his lineage. Red Hood and Black Mask have had a distinct rivalry throughout different comic iterations, so it’s hard to see that not continuing here with players being able to control Red Hood. Black Mask’s appearance could also be made even more intriguing if it somehow connects to the Court of Owls given that the Sionis family has had just as political and social power as the Waynes.
While Arkham Origins and the rest of the series just haven’t fully touched on the powerful presence that Black Mask can have, there’s still a great opportunity for WB Montreal to redeem themselves with this character by showing his full potential in Gotham Knights.
Constantly referenced throughout the Arkham games but never shown once, Killer Moth has never been given a chance to let his moth army roam, but that could change with Gotham Knights. Being another strange and rarely seen Batman villain, Killer Moth has had a bunch of different variants throughout the years. When he was originally depicted, Killer Moth a powerless Batman wannabe equipped with a tacky costume, a cocoon gun, and a gun that emitted sonar waves. However, the more recent depictions of the villain are much more interesting as he’s shown to be a humanoid moth monster that flies and has sticky, sometimes acidic, mucus he can spit and create cocoons. Oh, and he can also control an army of moths.
Honestly, that’s what draws me to feeling like Killer Moth should make a big introduction here as his massive moth army would be fascinating to watch and destructive in unique ways. Ever since I first saw him in Teen Titans, I’ve always been enamored by the villain and have been anxiously awaiting to see him try to take control of Gotham again. Cut to the Arkham games where he’s constantly referenced and talked about, but never shown. Frankly, one of the big issues the Arkham games had was constantly referencing and acknowledging more obscure villains, but never showing us them. All of that could easily change with Gotham Knights though and that’s especially true for Killer Moth as he actually has some comic ties to Batgirl.
Believe it or not, Killer Moth was actually the first villain that Batgirl fought in her first solo outing as she saved Bruce Wayne from being kidnapped by him. Since then the two have fought several times and it would be cool to have this nod to Batgirl’s history – especially with her being one of the main characters of the game. Not to mention, it’s not like Killer Moth hasn’t encountered Robin in his criminal history as they have fought while he was a part of Teen Titans, so there’s a lot of great history between Killer Moth and the Bat family that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Honestly, he bodes a much better chance than most of Batman’s rouges gallery as his connection go ever father than just the caped crusader.
Gotham Knights really has the chance to right some of the wrongs that occurred during the Arkham series, especially with it not taking place in the same continuity, and with Killer Moth being talked about and never used as well as his fitting connections to the Bat family’s history, he’s definitely someone that WB Montreal could utilize here.
The Ventriloquist and Scarface
Just like Killer Moth, The Ventriloquist is another character in the Arkhamverse that’s constantly referred to but is never shown outside of his favorite puppet Scarface being toyed with by Joker. Even since Arkham Asylum, the games have just hinted and hinted at Ventriloquist all the way through and he was even on Joker’s guest list back in Arkham Asylum. However, his time never came and the closest we ever got a glimpse to seeing the Ventriloquist was when his mafia-based, tommy gun loving puppet Scarface showed up. However, with Gotham up for grabs, there’s no reason to doubt that Scarface couldn’t want to take things for himself and drag the mild-mannered Arnold Wesker along for some intense crime sprees across Gotham.
However, while it could be interesting to see Arnold being the one working with Scarface, there’s a much bolder and more intriguing option. For those that don’t know, there’s actually a female ventriloquist that goes by the name Peyton Riley who harnesses the exact kind of blood-fueled love for crime that Scarface does. Riley gains Scarface after Arnold is murdered at the Iceberg Lounge and Riley picks him up and the two totally hit it off. The two are much more compatible with each other, embody the look and feel of their noir mafia personas as Riley is the definition of a blonde femme fatale, and even just hearing Scarface call Riley “Sugar” like he does in the comics would be awesome to see. Not to mention, their origin story together could make for an incredibly fun mystery mission.
Something along the lines of the Bat family having to investigate Arnold’s murder and find Riley as her and Scarface attempt to take control of the city. It could easily be a lot of fun just get something a little off kilter as seeing Scarface, a wooden puppet, command a bunch of thugs would be such a strange, but enticing visual. Also, I’m just imagining a boss fight of players having to dodge bullets spewing out of Scarface’s iconic machine gun and it just makes me want him in the game with Riley in control more than ever.
Not only does adding in Peyton Riley as the ventriloquist give the game the great addition of a female villain that stems right from the comics, but having her with Scarface also brings a dynamic duo that players will love.
Now, this last pick is less of a pick for a specific villain, but rather a thought that Gotham Knights should also touch on and use villains that aren’t just specific to Batman. Remember, this isn’t a Batman game. This is a Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Robin game, so why shouldn’t they have to deal with their own villains – especially Nightwing. He actually doesn’t even operate in Gotham, but rather in city just outside of Gotham called Bludhaven. While he does fight some of the Batman’s foes, mainly Deathstroke, he does have some villains of his own. After all, if they’re having trouble in Bludhaven, why wouldn’t they just move their efforts over to Gotham?
There’re definitely some interesting picks that could easily find their way into Gotham, but there’s one in particular who could be an interesting obstacle for Nightwing and the rest of the Bat family to deal with – Nite-Wing. No, that’s not some kind of misspelling as Nite-Wing is actually sort of an anti-hero that looks to work under Nightwing but is constantly forced to be stopped by him because of his violent behavior. There’s a great interview quote from the character’s creator, Chuck Dixon, that describes the inspiration behind him: “I wanted to show, without the proper upbringing and the wrong motivations, what would happen if a guy tried to become a vigilante.” It’s a very cool concept for a character that would be awesome to see unfold with Nightwing being a main protagonist.
Tarantula could also be another possibility for a Nightwing villain, specifically the Catalina Flores incarnation, to both add a female villain to the roster and have Nightwing have a dynamic in the same vein as Batman and Catwoman. Being a great acrobat and even having a gimmicky web-gun, Tarantula is a strong match for Nightwing and the two have even had a romantic relationship in the past. Now, there is some controversy that stems from their romantic relationship that deals with Tarantula actually raping Nightwing, since he was so mentally distraught and unable to give consent, that upset some fans because of how unclear and unwilling the creators were to declare it as rape. This controversy, especially because of how unique it is, could make Tarantula a tough one for WB Montreal to use and not upset the fanbase and put the game in a bad light. However, because she’s so heavily tied to Nightwing, I wouldn’t count her out and if WB Montreal can get through some ire they’ll likely receive for using Tarantula, there’s definitely still a chance she has a shot.
There’s obviously other Nightwing villains that could be touched on, Blockbuster also comes mind, other than Nite-Wing or Tarantula, but nevertheless, there should definitely be some representation from the rouges galleries of Nightwing and the other protagonists as they shouldn’t just have to clean up Batman’s seconds.
If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s that Gotham Knights has a ton of potential to not only make up for some of the Arkhamverse’s missteps, but also bring Gotham’s new protectors in a new direction by having them face new challenges. To say that WB Montreal has a lot to work with, and live up to, would be a drastic understatement, but even with Arkham Origins, they showed that they are more than capable of delivering a good Batman game and the stage is set for some new villains to come on the rise in a Gotham with some new protectors.