Video Games

Why Gotham Knights Created an Older, Wiser, More Dangerous Harley Quinn

This is not the Harley Quinn you know.

Gotham Knights Creative Director Patrick Redding said: I’m your manic pixie. She doesn’t have to be a manic pixie anymore. She’s come to the point where she knows who she is. She has a very clear sense of what her identity is, and she intends to present herself in this much more powerful and developed supervillain way.

Harley Quinn from Gotham Knights is a very interesting case study on how to adapt a beloved comic book character. Her appearance, voice, and brand of villainy are instantly recognizable, but her story and her reasons are radically altered, which is why Warner Bros. Her Games her Montreal design her Born out of the villain’s general philosophy that guided the entire process of

“All the villains in Gotham Knights were chosen for several reasons,” explains Redding. “First, we knew we wanted a recognizable member of the Rogue Gallery, but we also wanted a specific villain who had an interesting relationship with Batman. , What?My function now?In a world without a main nemesis, what should I do next?”

For someone like Mr. Freeze, that question seems to have led him to more bombastic crimes, but the story behind Harley in Gotham Knights is more personal and interesting. I chose to portray Harley as the oldest and smartest I’ve ever seen in a game.

“We made a conscious choice to make her a slightly older version of Harley Quinn than we’ve seen elsewhere, and that influenced a lot of the choices,” says Redding. “It influenced a series of performance choices that were made in the cinematics shoot. It informed her fighting style. And how she presents herself in Gotham City, as seen in a few chapters in the middle of the Harley Quinn edition.

Importantly, however, this Wrong Harley Quinn – One step further down her personal timeline than we’re used to. increase”.

“We know her well as Joker’s accomplice and girlfriend and sort of a morbid love interest. Savvy to find out. People love this character [so much] They want to support her. So they want to see her doing things that, even if she does it in a sane and chaotic way, will at least have a positive outcome in the end.

“For us, the idea of ​​Harley was like a fork in the right direction,” he thought. It’s pretty well researched in many places. So we thought, ‘What if we reversed her? What if Batman’s absence and the rise of his successor lead Harley to say, “Well, why not finally have a career as a supervillain for yourself?” I have all kinds of ideas. I am an excellent psychiatrist. There are so many crazy things I can do, especially in Gotham City.

In effect, this Harley Quinn superpower is self-actualization. After years of working in the shadows of others, she’s now unleashing the true Harley in Gotham.


In effect, this Harley Quinn superpower is self-actualization. After years of working in the shadows of others, she’s now unleashing the true Harley in Gotham. It was a fascinating process for the art team to find out what this version of the character would look like, as you can see from her sketches of the various concepts in the gallery above.

“I don’t even know if it’s about physically aging her,” says character art director Jay Evans. “At this stage in her life as a supervillain, it’s kind of the confidence that the character had. did not.”

Initially, the team simply worked from what they had seen from Harley before – the same kind of haircut, the same kind of clothes, and even tying her more closely with Gotham Knights’ unruly freaks gang. was. Associate character art director Jianli Wu said the design was quite advanced until the team was told to scrap it to try something new.

“The criteria we were given was to make her really fresh and new and iconic. That was one of the key words to remember going through that process. It was very rewarding.” But it was also a very exciting opportunity for us to work on this character. [it’s] Rarely can one deviate so much from her iconic haircut or anything like that. We were almost given a ‘don’t do that’. we want something new. From an artist’s point of view, it was really liberating and very challenging. She’s probably one of the most challenging characters we’ve designed as a team. ”

The result is Harley, who references the character’s past in a new way. Her boss fight costume utilizes the black and red design with diamond accents that was part of Batman’s first appearance: The Animated Series, but with the diamond design more prominent and even more so. Her hair and makeup have changed, and even her iconic hammer has “grown out.”

“This is Harley Quinn, but even in terms of silhouette and haircut, she’s really weird,” says Wu. Mr. Freeze, we left domes and goggles and such. We broke it for her. ”

This constant balance between the Harley we know and the Harley we’ll know has influenced every part of her design, even the way she fights.

Game Director Geoff Ellenor said: “She’s more of herself than she ever imagined in our Gotham. She took the opportunity to say, ‘I’m actually a bad person. This is the version of myself that I want to be in Gotham and in Gotham.’ I want the freedom to do whatever I want. But when you put that into the Gotham Knights aesthetic, it’s actually a giant heavy metal block, and it’s even worse with a bunch of articulated, sparking electrical gadgets attached to it later in the boss fight. ”

Harleys are often not meant for straight-up hand-to-hand combat. Indeed, her nefarious plot involves providing the Gothamians with implants that will remove their inhibitions and allow them to live their best lives with her.

“Her moveset is meant to move you through the hordes of enemies she attracts, because she has all these followers essentially just to slow you down and distract you. That’s why,” continues Ellenor. “And she keeps that hammer moving all the time, and she’s so strong, so powerful, and so agile, she can dodge many of your moves. There are always players up front trying to get a chance to interfere with what Harley is doing and do damage to her.”

“They will need a nemesis – and who better to do it than me?”


Ultimately, like bosses in other games, Gotham Knights’ Harley Quinn plays an over-the-top role for the player, designed to provide an interesting wrinkle in the story and gameplay.However way The team turned her into a foil. This is a great way to honor her character herself.

Redding points out that this is a good reflection of what Gotham Knights themselves are going through. These are the four sidekicks who are forced to grow up and assume the mantle of the main characters. The Joker has always been Batman’s mirror, but Harley seems to be aiming to do the same to anyone who steps up as the new Dark Knight. summarizes:

“If you want to be the new guardian of Gotham City, you’re going to need a villain. They’re going to need a nemesis – and who better suited to do it than me? ”

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News.follow him twitterAny tips? Want to talk about possible stories?please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

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