As a co-op action game with gear and levels and other RPG systems, Gotham Knights (opens in new tab) seemed destined to be another live service game, but it looks like this is one trend it isn't chasing. You'll be able to punch your way through Gotham's criminal underbelly without worrying about the next battle pass or how many Bat Bucks you've got in your utility belt.
"This is very much not designed as a game-as-service," producer Fleur Marty told IGN (opens in new tab). "There is an ability tree, which is different for each of the characters, and then there's gear that you craft—and so choices that you're going to be making—but that does not mean that this is a game-as-service."
Gotham is an open-world that you'll be able to clamber around freely, with no level-gating. The whole thing can be played on your lonesome, too, and you won't be locked out of any missions just because you're playing solo. That also means you don't need to be online.
"We think that teaming up and living that dynamic duo fantasy can be also a really great experience for players," said Marty, "but we won't force it on them."
If you do team up with a friend, both of you can play the same character. Gear and abilities mean there's some build variety, however, as well as cosmetic customisation. The Bat-pals all have different suit styles that can be tweaked with various accessories, so hopefully you won't show up to foil the bank robbery wearing exactly the same thing. That would be mortifying.
Playing with a friend doesn't mean you have to be their shadow. You can go off and do your own thing, each patrolling your own patch of the city, and then decide for yourself if you want to join your crime-fighting colleague on a mission.
"You can drop in and out of Gotham," Marty told GamesRadar (opens in new tab), "and, of course, bring your own character when you're visiting someone else's Gotham City. And it's an actual untethered co-op play, so you can be in two completely different parts of the city if you wanted and join at some point to take on a specific mission."
You're not tied to a character, either, so you can just pop back to the Belfry if you're feeling like a change. That's the gang's hideout, where they hangout during the day, catching up with Alfred, analysing clues and dabbling in some crafting—the most exciting part of fighting crime.
Gotham Knights doesn't have a release date yet, but it's due to appear next year.