Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. confirmed to Eurogamer Thursday that sections of the single-player campaign involving Catwoman for the upcoming Batman: Arkham City can only be unlocked with an online pass.
To play as Catwoman in Rocksteady Studios’ latest Batman title, players will need to redeem the “VIP Pass” voucher, labeled in-game as the “first purchaser code.” The one-time VIP Pass will be included in all new copies of Arkham City. It will cost $9.99 on the PlayStation Network Store or 800 Microsoft Points on the Xbox Live Marketplace for players who buy the game used.
Unlike most other online passes that are used for multiplayer, playing as Catwoman is part of the single-player mode that according to developer Rocksteady, makes up 10 percent of the campaign. The four Catwoman missions will supposedly add to the understanding of the game’s storyline. Rocksteady Studios said that the game can still be completed without playing the Catwoman missions.
There will also be “Riddler’s Revenge” challenge missions for Catwoman outside of the campaign. Catwoman also has her own gadgets, combat moves and weapons. However having Catwoman unlocked changes the beginning of the game, and together all four of her chapters will take more than an hour to finish. Dax Ginn, marketing manager for Rocksteady, said in June that Catwoman is, “an integral part of the Arkham City experience.”
The Catwoman download is a 253 MB file, according to Kotaku. The content probably isn’t already on the game disc, but the VIP Pass can still be considered a form of DRM. There’s also Trophies and Achievements tied to playing as Catwoman, although they aren’t necessary to earn the Platinum Trophy or complete all the Achievements. Catwoman’s gameplay is considered downloadable content achievements.
The excuse from publishers for using the online pass has been that multiplayer server costs are the reason for their existence. However, Arkham City doesn’t include any online multiplayer modes. The VIP Pass is actually an attempt to discourage people from buying used games on the second-hand market and selling their copies to others.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Arkham City is the follow-up to 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum and one of the most anticipated games of the year. Catwoman was revealed in Arkham City at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo and presented as being an important part of the story campaign.
The VIP Pass for Akham City greatly affects those who can’t download the playable Catwoman sections because broadband internet isn’t available in their area. Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, announced Wednesday that 18 million Americans still don’t have a broadband infrastructure where they live. While it may seem like a minority, these players simply can’t connect to the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live to download the Catwoman content and therefore miss out on a good part of the game.
Those who buy a used copy of Arkham City at GameStop, the major used game retailer in the U.S., won’t have to worry about purchasing the VIP Pass separately. GameStop will print a voucher code on the receipt that player’s can input on their console to gain access to Catwoman, according to Kotaku. It’s not clear if this is a deal set up between GameStop and Warner Bros., although the game retailer can’t create the voucher codes on its own.
The Catwoman pass is somewhat similar to id Software’s RAGE, which released this month for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and includes side missions that are locked out to players who don’t have the necessary voucher code. The “Wasteland Sewer Missions” downloadable pass also costs $9.99. Mortal Kombat and F.E.A.R. 3, both published by Warner Bros. Entertainment this year, use the online pass to restrict the games’ online competitive modes. For both games, the pass is tied to one user account. Most likely Arkham City’s pass will force other users on the same console to buy their own VIP Pass to play as Catwoman.
Arkham City will release on Oct. 18 for the PS3 and 360. The standard version will retail for $59.99.
Check out the video of Catwoman in Arkham City:
Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.