This is not the Harley Quinn you know.
As Gotham Knights creative director Patrick Redding put it, “It doesn’t come from a place where, ‘Oh, I have to be crazy. I’m your manic pixie.” She doesn’t need to be a manic pixie anymore. She’s gotten to the point where she knows who she is. She has a very clear idea of who she is, and she’s going to present herself in this much stronger, evolved image of a supervillain.”
Harley Quinn from Gotham Knights is a very interesting example of adapting a favorite comic book character. Her look, her voice and the nature of her meanness are immediately recognizable, but her story and her meaning have changed radically. This came from the general philosophy of villains, which was guided by Warner Bros. Games Montréal throughout the design process:
“All the villains we included in Gotham Knights were chosen for several reasons,— Redding explains. “Firstly, we knew we needed recognizable members of the rogue gallery, but we also wanted specific villains who had an interesting relationship with Batman, where once you take Batman out of the picture, it will cause this character to ask, “Well, what is it?” my function now? In a world where I don’t have a major enemy, what should I do next?”
Gotham Knights – Harley Quinn Concepts
While for the likes of Mr. Freeze, this interrogation seems to have led him to simply commit an even more bombastic crime, the story of Harley Gotham Knights is more personal and more interesting. To begin with, the team decided to portray an older and wiser Harley than we have ever seen in the game, who is no longer guided by the whims of others.
“We really made a conscious choice, allowing her to be a slightly older version of Harley Quinn than we’ve seen elsewhere, and that influenced a lot of the choices,” Redding says. “It reported a lot of performance options that were made when shooting the commercials. It affected her fighting style. It informed how she presents herself, how she dresses. And, as we’ll see in some of the middle chapters of the Harley Quinn arc, even how she presents herself as Gotham City.”
The important thing, however, is that this is not another Harley Quinn — she is further away from her personal timeline than we are used to seeing. As Redding says, this Harley “has already gone through two major acts of its history.”
“We are familiar with her as an accomplice and friend of the Joker, and with a certain pathological mistress. And we’re familiar with how she broke out of it and ended up in her “Suicide Squad” era, where she’s kind of forced to do the right thing or do terrible things for good reasons, a kind of anti-hero. People like this character [so much] that they want to root for her. So they kind of want to see her do things that at least end up having a positive outcome, even if she does it in a crazy and chaotic way.
“As for us, we thought, ‘Well, this idea of Harley’s kind of branching out towards the good. It’s been pretty well studied in a lot of places.” So we thought, “What happens if we take her the other way?” What happens if the absence of Batman and the appearance of his successors inspires Harley to say, “Well, why can’t I finally make my career as a supervillain on my own? I have all kinds of ideas. I’m a brilliant psychiatrist. I can do all kinds of crazy things, especially in Gotham City.”
In fact, the superpower of this Harley Quinn is self—realization-after many years of working in the shadow of others, she is now releasing the real Harley in Gotham.”
In fact, the superpower of this Harley Quinn is self—realization — after many years of working in the shadow of others, she now releases the real Harley in Gotham. It’s been a fascinating process for the artist team to find out what this version of the character might look like — as you can tell from the many different conceptual sketches in the gallery above.
“I don’t even know if it’s related to her physical aging,” says the characters’ art director Jay Evans. “It’s more like the character’s confidence, which may not have been there before, at this stage of her life as a supervillain. But from the visual side, it was cool, because we needed to take a fresh look. This has not been done.”
Initially, the team just worked on the basis of what we had seen from Harley before — the same haircut, the same clothes, even her closer connection with the naughty Freaks gang Gotham Knights, which at some points will cooperate with her. . Jianli Wu, the deputy art director for the characters, said the design was quite far away before the team was told to abandon it and try something new.:
“The criteria we were given was to make it really fresh, new and iconic. It was one of those keywords that I remember from that process. And it was very difficult, but it was also such an exciting opportunity for us to talk about this character, because [it’s] not often we can deviate so much from her iconic haircut and all that.