The plot of Gotham Knights is an ever-turning mystery, and its ending speaks toward its overall themes of legacy and sacrifice. Gotham Knights opens with the death of Batman, leaving the titular Gotham City vulnerable to a new wave of criminal activity and supervillain attacks. Hope is not lost though, as the Dark Knight left behind a team of proteges to carry on in his place. Players control Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Robin as they patrol Gotham Knights’ massive open-world city and try to find their own place in the wake of their beloved mentor’s passing.
[Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Gotham Knights.]
Gotham Knights’ team of playable heroes quickly gets to work trying to solve Batman’s final case, which leads them to a sinister secret society known as the Court of Owls. As the investigation into this organization goes on, the Gotham Knights discover that the Court was working with a scientist named Kirk Langstrom to replicate the Lazarus Pit – a life-giving pool of water that serves as the source of Ra’s al Ghul’s immortality. It is in this revelation that players discover why Batman dies in Gotham Knights, as the Caped Crusader set out to stop Ra’s from waging a dangerous war against the Court after discovering its plans. This led to the fierce battle that would claim both their lives in Gotham Knights’ opening cutscene.
Unfortunately, Batman’s sacrifice merely slowed down the brewing conflict between the Court of Owls and the League of Shadows, as both factions begin to mobilize toward a deadly conflict in the dark corners of Gotham City. Undaunted, the heroes set their sights on exposing the Court of Owls and its leaders, eventually unmasking Bruce’s material uncle Jacob Kane as the Voice of the Court. However, while the leader of Gotham Knights’ Illuminati-like Court of Owls is being led into police custody, he is assassinated by the League of Shadows’ new leader: Talia al Ghul. While she initially claims to be exiled from the League after destroying her father’s body toward the beginning of the story, Talia instead inherited Ra’s’ command of the ninja clan and becomes the main antagonist of Gotham Knights from that point onward.
Further investigation into Talia’s actions reveals that she also struck a deal with Dr. Langstrom to recreate the Lazarus Pit. This eventually leads the player to follow her tracks through the catacombs beneath Gotham City – a pursuit that ends in the Gotham Knights version of the Batcave. Here, Talia has created a new Lazarus Pit with a dark purpose: to revive Bruce Wayne to rule the League of Shadows by her side.
Having been repeatedly exposed to the mind-altering waters of the Lazarus Pit, Bruce has been reduced to a mindless brute that doesn’t follow Batman’s strict moral code and is purely obedient to Talia. As a test of loyalty, Talia orders Bruce to kill the player, leading to an emotionally-charged boss battle in which Bruce’s former pupil tries to get through to the hero still inside him. This struggle isn’t easy, but Bruce eventually regains himself and rejects Talia – only to be mortally wounded by her in the process.
The player character then battles Talia in a meaningful echo of Batman and Ra’s duel at the beginning of the story – with the daughter of the Demon facing off against one of Gotham Knights’ Bat Family heroes to see which legacy is stronger. This fight is interrupted by a resurgent Court of Owls. As it turns out, Talia’s execution of Kane was only a temporary speedbump, and the Court was quickly able to find a new Voice to take his place. The Court seeks to take the new Lazarus Pit for its own purposes, mainly to power a new army of its dreaded Talon enforcers. Talia refuses to give it to them, and powers herself up with the Pit’s energies to battle the player once more in what proves to be the game’s final boss fight.
After a long and intense battle, the player defeats Talia, who retreats after vowing revenge in the name of the League of Shadows. The Court then moves in to claim the Lazarus Pit – the prized possession of the now-dead Batman villain, Ra’s al Ghul – facing off against the player with an overwhelming army of Talon assassins. The wounded Bruce climbs inside a still-functioning Bat-Jet, telling whichever character the player is in control of to leave the cave while he destroys the Lazarus Pit once and for all.
Batman’s ally does so with a heavy heart, and a defiant Bruce tells the Court that he always knew Gotham’s greedy elite would be more dangerous than any common criminal or supervillain before ramming the Bat-Jet into the pit in one last heroic sacrifice. This destroys what was left of the Batcave, and ensures that Batman’s death in Gotham Knights sticks for good. The final cutscene then plays out differently depending on which character the player used during the last mission, but the general story beats are the same. Both the Court of Owls and League of Shadows are still at large in Gotham City, but Gotham Knights’ heroes vow to carry on Batman’s legacy and defend Gotham from any evil that wishes to do its citizens harm – all of them adorned in shiny new Batsuits.