Warner Bros. Montreal has altered Batgirl’s biography in Gotham Knights following backlash about the game’s explanation for her paralysis recovery.
Batgirl AKA Barbara Gordon is one of Gotham Knights’ four playable characters alongside Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood in a story that sees the Bat family defending Gotham after Bruce Wayne’s death. This comic was published in 1988. The Killing JokeBarbara was famously paralysed by the Joker after she shot her through the spine. She spent many years in a wheelchair, where she provided tech support and information to Batman and Oracle. In DC’s 2011 New 52 comic reboot, Barbara regains her mobility due to an experimental surgery followed by physical therapy/training.
Per Eurogamer, Gotham Knights’ original website biographyThis is a vague reference for Batgirl to these events. It doesn’t mention the Joker or a specific culprit, but the offending bit was the implication that Barbara overcame her disability just by training hard. The bio section containing this information is available below.
After an awkward face-off, Barbara became Oracle. A powerful information and communications specialist, Oracle. But her father’s death spurred her to train and recover from her wounds so that she could return to active duty as Batgirl.
Some fans criticized Warner Bros. Montreal for misusing this kind of heroic training trope, feeling it undermined her disability. The studio addressed these complaints in a recent Discord Q&A where Creative director Patrick Redding elaborated on Barbara’s recovery by saying:
“Like many other characters and plot elements in our comics, Barbara’s injury circumstances differ from the way it is presented in the comics. Barbara had multiple operations, and then she received a lot more physical therapy. [in Gotham Knights].”
Redding claims that the biography was rewritten. The biography now says:
She was able to recover from her injuries through extensive training and rehabilitation and she is now back on active duty as Batgirl.
Warner Bros. Montreal is also working with disability charity organization AbleGamers “to learn about different types of spinal injuries and the potential for someone to regain mobility.” Players will be able to see Barbara in rehab at the Belfry hideout. Her Batsuit, civilian clothing and back bracing are included.
Gotham Knights is available for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on October 25th, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Watch the latest gameplay video here.
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