Gotham Knights’ development team has addressed the recent criticism surrounding its depiction of Barbara Gordon.
During a recent Q&A, fans asked more about the development of Barbara, aka Batgirl. This was following a backlash to her character’s biography on the game’s website, which described her as training to “recover from her wounds” so that she could “return to active duty as Batgirl”.
In the comic books, Barbara Gordon is shot in the spine by Joker, leading to her using a wheelchair. While she may not have the exact same backstory in Gotham Knights, Warner Bros. previously stated Barbara was in a wheelchair following a “face-off”.
Some fans criticised Warner Bros. for this description, saying it was a misused trope to have a character ‘overcome’ their disability through heroic training and gritty determination.
However, it does seem the developers have taken this feedback on board, as creative director Patrick Redding revealed the team has “worked with the awesome folks at AbleGamers to learn about different types of spinal injuries and the potential for someone to regain mobility.”
Redding went on to acknowledge the aforementioned criticism of Barbara’s character description, and said the team had now changed some of its wording in her description in response to the feedback.
“As with many of our characters and plot elements, the circumstances around Barbara’s injuries differ in some important ways from how it’s been portrayed in the comics,” he stated. “Barbara has been through multiple surgeries followed by a lot of physical therapy and pain management [in Gotham Knights].”
Her ongoing rehabilitation will be witnessed throughout the game, and players will see Barbara doing various exercises and stretches in the Belfry.
In addition to these exercises, Redding revealed her clothing (both her off-duty attire and her Batgirl suit) will have “back bracing integrated” into it.
Elsewhere in the Q&A, the developers gave more insight into the designs of Nightwing’s glider and Red Hood’s mystic leap.
Gotham Knights is due to release on 25th October for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. For full details on the various editions available to preorder, check out our breakdown here.