Why Gotham Knights Created an Older, Wiser, Extra Harmful Harley Quinn

This isn’t the Harley Quinn .

As Gotham Knights inventive director Patrick Redding places it: “She is coming not from a spot of, ‘Oh, I’ve received to be zany. I am your manic pixie.’ She does not must be the manic pixie anymore. She has gotten to a degree the place she is aware of who she is. She has a really clear sense of what her id is, and she or he’s going to current herself on this a lot stronger, developed supervillain means.”

Gotham Knights’ Harley Quinn is a really fascinating case research in find out how to adapt a beloved comedian e book character. Her look, her voice, and her model of villainy are instantly recognisable – however her story, and her cause to be is essentially altered. It got here out of a basic philosophy for villains that guided Warner Bros. Video games Montréal all through the design course of:

“All the villains that we have included in Gotham Knights have been chosen for a couple of causes,” explains Redding. “One, we knew we wished recognizable members of the rogues gallery, however we additionally wished particular villains who had an fascinating relationship with Batman, the place when you took Batman out of the image, it will trigger that character to query, ‘Effectively, what’s my perform now? In a world the place I haven’t got my most important nemesis, what do I do subsequent?’”

The place for the likes of Mr. Freeze, that questioning appears to have led him to, properly, simply commit extra bombastic crime, the story behind Gotham Knights’ Harley is extra private, and extra fascinating. For a begin, the workforce selected to depict an older, wiser Harley than we’ve ever seen in a recreation earlier than, one now not led by others’ whims.

“We actually did make a aware selection of permitting her to be a barely older model of Harley Quinn than we have seen elsewhere, and that knowledgeable quite a lot of selections,” says Redding. “It knowledgeable a bunch of the efficiency selections that have been made in capturing cinematics. It knowledgeable her combating type. It knowledgeable how she presents herself, how she costumes herself. And as we’ll see in among the center chapters of the Harley Quinn arc, even how she presents herself to Gotham Metropolis.”

Crucially, although, this isn’t a completely different Harley Quinn – it’s one additional down her private timeline than we’re used to seeing. As Redding places it, this Harley has “been via two most important acts of her story already.”

“We’re accustomed to her as just like the Joker’s confederate and girlfriend, and form of pathological love curiosity. And we’re accustomed to her breaking free from that and discovering herself in her Suicide Squad period, the place she’s form of semi being coerced into doing the precise factor or doing horrible issues for good causes, type of anti-hero. Folks love this character [so much] that they form of wish to root for her. In order that they form of wish to see her doing issues that no less than in the end have a constructive final result, even when she does it in an insane and chaotic means.

“For us, we thought, ‘Effectively, that concept of Harley form of branching into the path of fine. That is been fairly well-explored in quite a lot of locations.’ So we thought, ‘What occurs if we take her the opposite means?’ What occurs if Batman’s absence and the rise of his successors evokes Harley to say, ‘Effectively, why do not I lastly get to have my profession as an excellent villain alone? I’ve all kinds of concepts. I am an excellent psychiatrist. There’s all kinds of loopy issues that I can do, particularly in Gotham Metropolis.’”

Successfully, this Harley Quinn’s superpower is self-actualization – after years spent working within the shadow of others, she’s now unleashing the true Harley on Gotham.

Successfully, this Harley Quinn’s superpower is self-actualization – after years spent working within the shadow of others, she’s now unleashing the true Harley on Gotham. For the artwork workforce, it was an enchanting course of to seek out what this model of the character may appear like – as you may inform from the various completely different idea sketches within the gallery above.

“I do not even know if it is about bodily getting older her up,” says character artwork director Jay Evans. “It is extra like only a confidence that character has that possibly she did not have earlier than, on this stage of her life as a supervillain. However on the visible facet it was cool as a result of we received to do a recent take. This hadn’t been accomplished.”

Initially, the workforce merely labored from what we’d seen from Harley earlier than – the identical form of haircut, the identical form of garments, even having her extra carefully tie in with Gotham Knights’ unruly Freaks gang, who will ally together with her at factors. Affiliate character artwork director Jianli Wu stated that design was pretty far alongside earlier than the workforce was advised to scrap it strive one thing new:

“The factors we got was to make her actually recent, new and iconic. That was a type of key phrases I keep in mind from going via that course of. And it was very difficult, but additionally it was such an thrilling alternative for us to go about this character, as a result of [it’s] not typically we are able to deviate that a lot from her iconic haircut and all that. We have been just about given, ‘Do not try this. We would like one thing new.’ In order that was actually liberating from an artist’s perspective, and really difficult. It is in all probability one of the crucial difficult characters we have designed within the workforce.”

The result’s a Harley that references the previous of the character in new methods. Her boss combat costume makes use of the black and pink design with diamond accents that was a part of her unique look in Batman: The Animated Sequence, however pushed additional, with the diamond design made extra distinguished. Her hair and make-up have modified, even her iconic hammer has ‘grown up’.

“That is Harley Quinn, although from a silhouette or haircut perspective, she’s actually modified,” says Wu, “which is completely different from, say, Mr. Freeze. Mr. Freeze, we retained the dome, the goggles and all that. For her, we broke that.”

This fixed stability between the Harley we all know and the Harley we’ll get to know touched each a part of her design, even how she fights.

“We had a really particular imaginative and prescient in thoughts for Harley,” says recreation director Geoff Ellenor. “She’s extra herself than she’s ever been in her creativeness in our Gotham. She has taken this chance to say, ‘I’m truly a nasty individual. That is the model of myself that I wish to be. I would like the liberty to do no matter I wish to Gotham and in Gotham.’ And after we received into designing her fight, we liked the outdated, ‘I’ve an enormous goofy hammer.’ However if you happen to take that into the Gotham Knights aesthetic, it turns into an precise big heavy block of metallic that later within the boss combat has quite a lot of articulated, sparking, electrical tools hooked up to it to make it worse.”

Harley’s not typically one for straight up hand-to-hand fight. Certainly, her villainous plot includes offering implants to Gothamites that take away their inhibitions and permit them to reside their greatest lives alongside her – which inevitably results in them violently attacking you once you attempt to cease her.

“Her transfer set is basically about shifting via this crowd of enemies that she attracts as a result of she has all these devotees simply basically to gradual you down and distract you,” continues Ellenor. “And he or she consistently retains that hammer in movement and she or he’s very sturdy, she’s very highly effective, she’s extraordinarily agile, so she will dodge quite a lot of your strikes. And it is all the time concerning the participant or gamers attempting to get the chance to interrupt one thing Harley is doing and deal injury to her earlier than that massive hammer comes again upon you.”

“They will want a nemesis – and who higher to do it than me?”

In the end, like all gaming boss, Gotham Knights’ Harley Quinn is firstly a foil for the participant, designed to supply fascinating wrinkles of story and gameplay. However the means the workforce has turned her into that foil is a superb technique to honor the character herself.

Redding factors out that it’s a neat reflection of what the Gotham Knights themselves are going via. These are 4 sidekicks being compelled to develop up and tackle a lead hero’s mantle. She’s doing the identical for a supervillain. The place Joker was all the time a mirror to Batman, it appears Harley is aiming to carry out the identical favor for whoever steps up as a brand new Darkish Knight. Redding sums it up in phrases that would have come from Harley’s personal mouth:

“Hell, in the event that they wish to be the brand new protectors of Gotham Metropolis, they will want a villain. They will want a nemesis – and who higher to do it than me?”

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Government Editor of Information. Observe him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Wish to talk about a attainable story? Please ship an e mail to [email protected].

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