The main thing to know about the gang of Gotham Knights is that they are not only A sidekick for a titular villain. The gangs of enemies you’ll find across Gotham’s dark streets are organized into affiliations—with their own preferences for street crime and tools—but they’re mercenaries, not cultists.
Take our topics for today: the controlling team and the classic supervillain Mr. Freeze. The Controllers are an existing gang in this version of Gotham, a group of tech-advanced ne’er-do-wells who steal advanced products, traffic organs, and augment their own powers with their ill-gotten gains. You can meet them doing their own thing as you clear the road – but you can also find their alliance with Mr. Freeze and consequently his penchant for ice-enhanced initial attacks. In fact, Freeze employs regulators for parts of his story, they just don’t jump to his cause.
This led to a very interesting design challenge for the Gotham Knights art team – how do you make a villain and a gang look like them? can Work together, but not necessarily always so?
Interestingly, that process was more organic than forced. The team knew they wanted to include the iconic Freeze, but his association with a gang came later. At first, it was about creating a villain who felt recognizable without feeling overly familiar.
“When we get a villain like Mr. Freeze, I mean the guy has so much history, it’s a challenge for our team when we get him,” explained character art director Jay Evans. “It’s, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Because we all look to the past [versions of the character] That was really well done. For us, the jumping off point was kind of where he fits our Gotham City, on a technical kind of level? So he’s part of our most advanced technology in Gotham.”
It goes without saying that this version of The Freeze is pure sci-fi fantasy. The key to the design team was to create someone whose advanced technology was still rooted in reality.
“A lot of our references were medical equipment,” Evans said. “Molded, cool, almost sci-fi shapes with partial lines and product design influences. But then, he still understood. There are still mechanical connections. It’s still relevant. It’s not just a sci-fi blob where you have to use your imagination.”
Brilliantly, advanced technology to help create whatever seemed realistic, the art team… used some advanced technology to help make it happen.
“We started experimenting with VR in our concept art pipeline quite early on,” says Evans “What makes it great when you’re designing a weapon or a part of a character, it’s floating in front of you in real life at the right scale, that really helps artists. […] Then export that rough mesh, right now to a game engine. It seemed like a really natural, fast pipeline. And we used it in Mr. Freeze.”
“VR is just [adds] That clarity,” adds Wu. “If you [have a gauntlet in front of you], you feel like you could wear it right now. And then you get to see all those different perspectives live in real time. It is very useful.”
Using VR helped the team understand not just how Mr. Freeze looks as a piece of design, but how he would feel to be up close in an interactive space, helping them create a realistic new version of an iconic character. But of course, you can only push a familiar supervillain so far, and the team made sure to identify what it is that makes Freeze instantly recognizable to even a casual comic book fan:
“The dome, the goggles, his face,” explains associate character art director Jianli Wu. “Mr. Freeze’s lore is iconic. We don’t want to deviate from it, because everybody, when they see it, they know it’s Mr. Freeze. But we have raised the technology level a bit and we want to bring our own flavor to its design. We want to be faithful to the IP and at the same time, we want to bring something new to the table. So we have that kind of vision for a lot of the characters in the game, from the player-character to someone like Mr. Freeze.”
Gotham Knights – Regulator Faction Concept Art
Regulators, on the other hand, is A brand new addition to the universe. While there have been some DC supervillains named The Regulators over the years, the Gotham Knights team doesn’t seem to be associated with them. Initially, they weren’t even made to be associated with Mr. Freeze.
“Our approach was to design teams as individual teams first,” explains Evans. “The controller of our fiction is this fantasy of hackers, safe crackers, other technology-related criminals. And what makes them unique is that they have this ‘found technology’ layer. So the Controllers are grabbing technology from the most futuristic or most advanced place in Gotham – maybe it’s STAR Labs or something.
“And then they’re building their weapons and their equipment and it’s visible on their outside. So at the base layer, we have this kind of contemporary, almost athletic wear with bright colors. But then on top, we have this technology layer. In the base units, it’s smaller. material, [but] In some more advanced archetypes, it could be something like a fully extended hand that has an upgraded weapon.”
In the gallery above, you can see that progression in action, a visual representation of how the game increases your power as well as the enemy’s. Enemy gangsters can be a problem from base to veteran, champion, named champion, and in the case of a controller, you can see how much stolen technology they are applying for their own as the gang grows in importance. .
Gotham Knights – The Controllers’ factional enemy designs
Controllers can be warlocks, shooters, snipers, shockers, and dronemasters, all of whom use their technology to try to take down the knights. It wasn’t until this team philosophy was established that the team realized that they would make the perfect mercenary force to take on Victor Fries, their power-hungry force – but that created a bit more work.
“We connected the regulators with Mr. Freeze,” Evans said “It seemed like a natural fit based on their level of technology, where they fit things artistically and in their writing.”
“I remember at one point we went through the regulators again,” Wu continued, “because it would fit a little better with Mr. Freeze. So yeah, I think it’s one of those things that’s inevitable in certain parts of the project.”
After that redesign, things really came together. Controllers can be found throughout Gotham under normal circumstances, but you’ll stumble upon their freezer-lined pockets, possibly acting on the orders of a supervillain. Later in Freeze’s optional villain arc, it would apparently be the controllers that would help him ice the top of the Elliott Center for a boss battle (which we saw Some 2020 footage of the game)
They make a natural team, but one that’s rooted more in business than devotion — part of Gotham Knights’ more grounded take on the legendary comic book city. We will talk more about that very soon IGN’s first coverage monthBut if you want to learn more now, we have First 16 minutes of the game to see, and Unlock 28 unlockable superhero suitsAnd how they were designed.