WB Montreal has responded to criticism that Batgirl’s official biography for Gotham Knights is a harmful trope of disabled people, and has made adjustments to her description accordingly.
In a Discord Q&A, as reported by Eurogamer, Gotham Knights developers acknowledged the controversy around Barbara Gordon, whose biography was published to the game’s website recently. The initial criticism of her backstory centered on her ending up in a wheelchair after an unspecified “face-off” but returning to “active duty” as Batgirl following training.
While it’s unclear what her injury in Gotham Knights entails, in the comics, Barbara is shot in the spine, and many fans pointed out that overcoming a disability through sheer training and determination is an inaccurate and harmful trope throughout media.
During the Q&A, however, creative director Patrick Redding said that the Gotham Knights team “worked with the awesome folks at AbleGamers to learn about different types of spinal injuries and the potential for someone to regain mobility.”
He then noted that her biography on the official website has since been adjusted to read, “With extensive training and rehabilitation, she recovered from her wounds, and returned to active duty as Batgirl.” Additionally, he clarified that the specifics of her injury in Gotham Knights would differ from the comics, and that she had undergone multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and pain management. She also wears clothing with “back bracing integrated,” and some of her rehabilitation process will be depicted in Gotham Knights itself.
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Gotham Knights is headed to PS5, Xbox Series X and S, and PC on October 25, but will skip PS4 and Xbox One. It’s set in a different universe from the Arkhan games, and includes a combat system specifically designed for co-op.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.