Unsurprisingly, Gotham Knights’ story packs a lot of twists and turns, with plenty of surprises for players to chew on as they move into its latter stages. The game opens with Batman’s death and quickly introduces a mystery for its Bat Family heroes – Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood – to unravel, which eventually puts them on a collision course with the shadowy Court of Owls. With four main protagonists featuring similar yet unique combat styles, a massive open world featuring what is to date the biggest Gotham City of any Batman game, and a story full of twists and unexpected reveals, Gotham Knights proves that even without Batman, Gotham is in good hands.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Gotham Knights.]
Gotham Knights begins with a bang, as Ra’s al Ghul attacks Batman in the Batcave and the Dark Knight is forced to activate a failsafe that explodes the cave and kills both himself and Ra’s. This leaves his former sidekicks and allies to pick up the pieces in the wake of their mentor’s sudden death and try to solve the case he was working on before his untimely passing. This case involves a murdered scientist, Batman working with Harley Quinn, one of Gotham Knights’ villains, to uncover records from Blackgate Prison, and ultimately leads the knights to one of Gotham’s most powerful and influential groups, the secretive Court of Owls.
With the Court entwined in every part of Gotham life, Gotham Knights’ four protagonists soon find themselves confronted on all sides by enemies the likes of which they have never seen. As more and more enemies become tangled in the investigation, the Knights must quickly prove they have what it takes to defend Gotham City now that Batman is dead. The story forces them to confront enemies new and old, who are all emboldened by the passing of the Caped Crusader.
Upon their first encounter with the Illuminati-like Court of Owls in Gotham Knights, the Bat Family also comes face to face with the Voice, the Court’s enigmatic leader who swiftly pronounces death upon them. After a harrowing escape through an underground deathtrap and a thorough investigation/war against the Court, the speaker is revealed to be Jacob Kane, uncle to Bruce Wayne and a good friend of Alfred Pennyworth. Jacob leads Kane Industries, and is a member of one of the founding families of Gotham. Jacob’s reveal as the head of the Court of Owls come as a shock to the Knights, who knew him as a friend and ally up until that point. Jacob plans to rule Gotham using an army of resurrected assassins known as Talons and isn’t afraid to dispose of anyone in his way to do it. Jacob is ultimately apprehended by Gotham Knights’ Bat Family heroes after they compile enough evidence to link him to the murder of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, the very murder that Batman was looking into when he was killed.
Early in the story of Gotham Knights, Talia al Ghul infiltrates the GCPD to incinerate her father’s body (recovered from the wreckage of Wayne Manor). When questioned as to her status with the League of Shadows, she reveals that she is on the outs with the League for supposedly opposing their direction. This is a ruse, however. Talia assumed control of the League once her father was confirmed dead and maneuvered them into place for a grand reveal at a party hosted by the Voice of the Court. The League attacked the party, killing indiscriminately and ruining the Court of Owls’ Gotham Knights plans in the process. This proved the start of the war between the League and the Court, but the most decisive blow was yet to come.
Upon handing him over to the cops, the Bat Family watches as Jacob Kane is shot by a mystical arrow and killed before making it to the squad car. The archer is none other than Talia al Ghul. After a chase over the rooftops, Talia reveals that the League’s goal of purging Gotham City of corruption started by assaulting the Court of Owls and destroying it, heedless of any collateral damage. Talia then launches open war against the Court, plunging the streets of Gotham into chaos.
In one of Gotham Knights’ biggest reversals, the Knights must switch their focus from the Court of Owls to the League of Shadows and try not to break Batman’s one rule as the assassins battle for control over Gotham. They must save their allies from the League’s assassins, and attempt to discover where in Gotham Talia is hiding. This search leads them to Arkham Asylum, where the true reason for Dr. Langstrom’s death is revealed. He was making mutant Man-Bats for the League to use in their assault on Gotham.
After fighting the League of Shadows in the streets of Gotham during Gotham Knights’ third act, the knights finally track Talia down to a tunnel system that runs from Gotham Cemetery to beneath the ruins of Wayne Manor and the Batcave. The strange choice of hideout is quickly explained as it is revealed that there is a previously undiscovered Lazarus Pit (a mystical pool capable of reviving the dead) in the ruins. Gotham Knights’ DC heroes encounter Talia at the Lazarus Pit and her grand plan is revealed.
Talia had recovered Bruce Wayne’s body and, through the magic of the pit, revived him. She intended the process of resurrection to rid Bruce of his compunction against killing so that he would take her father’s place as leader of the League of Shadows (as Ra’s had originally intended). After a wrought fight with their mentor, the Knights are eventually able to snap Bruce out of his Lazarus-induced haze, whereupon Bruce uses the still-intact Batwing to destroy the Lazarus Pit, keeping it out of the hands of both the League of Shadows and the Court of Owls and dying again in the process. Gotham Knights concludes with the four heroes as Gotham’s new protectors, crafting a legend to rival the one Batman created.