According to speculations, the next “Gotham Knights” will not have Russian subtitles or voicework. This appears to be a direct outcome of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began in February and has provoked widespread protests as well as EU and US government sanctions. In the wake of Russia’s activities over the last few months, numerous video game developers and console makers have naturally shown their support for Ukraine.
As a result of the invasion, PlayStation and Nintendo have paused all product shipments to Russia, while CD Projekt Red, the developer of Cyberpunk 2077, has halted all game sales in both Russia and the allied European nation of Belarus after contributing almost $250K to relief efforts in Ukraine. Other major publishers, such as Ubisoft, have made similar donations to assist Ukrainian employees in relocating in the face of Russia’s ongoing attacks; DICE removed a Russian helicopter reward from Battlefield 2042 as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and Ukrainian developer GSC Game World recently halted production of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 until the war is over. Finally, Niantic, the creators of Pokémon GO, unplugged the popular mobile game from all Russian servers, just a few days after The Pokémon Company made its own significant donation to Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.
According to a claim by Eurogamer, Warner Bros. is the latest video game firm to demonstrate its support for the people of Ukraine by allegedly canceling the Russian version of their upcoming “Gotham Knights”. Due to “the political consequences from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” according to a blogger with the handle The Happy Warrior, “Gotham Knights” will not include Russian voicework or subtitles, and the previously set-up “Gotham Knights” Russian sub-site was recently pulled offline. Similarly, there is no indication of Russian language support on the “Gotham Knights” Steam website. Unnamed sources claim that publisher WB Games is “extremely frightened to offend the gaming press or cause trouble with social media” by eliminating Russian localization in the context of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The current outcry over the game’s handling of Barbara Gordon and her alleged recovery from a previous injury at the hands of the Joker is likely fueling this sensitivity to any potential issue caused by the removal of Russian language support from “Gotham Knights”. On a less contentious note, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of “Gotham Knights” have been confirmed to be dropped in favor of focusing on the current-gen consoles. Similarly, despite the game’s concept of four former sidekicks banding together to defend Gotham City after Batman’s death, “Gotham Knights” will only allow two players in an online co-op.
While the conflicts and tasks that these heroes will undertake in “Gotham Knights” are fictional, the challenges that the people of Ukraine are facing as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion are quite real. While it may seem unfair to deny Russian gamers who have no control over their government the opportunity to play exciting new games like “Gotham Knights”, hopefully, statements like WB Montreal’s will help to emphasize the importance of a peaceful resolution for the people of Ukraine – and allow video game publishers to include Russian language options once more in the future.