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The Batman series makes its video game return this year with Gotham Knights but it’s without the Dark Knight (if you believe WB Games Montreal, that is). Players will have the Batman family instead with Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin available. Each has their own gear and progression but managing them should be easy, even if you choose to stick to one hero.

Speaking to GamesRadar, executive producer Fleur Marty and creative director Patrick Redding confirmed that characters will be leveled automatically as the story progresses. “Since the story progression is shared between all the characters, it also makes sense that you don’t have to level them up from scratch every time you want to switch. It also stays very coherent in terms of our narrative.

“Since the other members of the Batman family are always present in some way in the background, while you’re out in the world fighting crime or unraveling the mystery, they don’t stay inactive. So it makes sense that they are also progressing and getting stronger.”

Despite concerns about how the co-op element will affect the story, Redding noted that this actually fits the dynamic duo aspect of the Batman franchise. “The two-player dynamic fits the fantasy and the Gotham City setting. The ‘duo’ or team-up is such a central feature of the universe that there’s a literal shorthand for it in the comics, animation, film, and TV versions.” Along with combat, level design has been designed to facilitate two players.

Despite drop-in/drop-out co-op, one can play the entire game solo without any issues. You’re not even locked out from certain heroes either – if you want to tackle missions with two Batgirls or two Robins, have at it. Gotham Knights is out later this year but doesn’t have a release date. It’s currently in development for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PS4, Xbox One and PC.