"We're not making a racing game," one of the creators of this fall's Batman Arkham City politely told me today when I asked him whether the Batmobile would be featured in this year's big video game Dark Knight sequel.
No Batmobile. No driving. This caped crusader hitches rides on the undercarriages of helicopters and can swoop down the channels of his city like a hang-glider with the need to chokehold a Joker thug standing at ground level.
We will get no Batmobile is this determinedly non-racing and - emphasis - singleplayer game. SIngle-player games aren't the kind of games that'd let one person be Batman and another be Robin. Nevertheless, I had that other question on my question list: Does Robin even exist in this Batman universe?
The Arkham City man answered my question by confirming that the characters I saw or heard in his demo of Arkham City today - Batman, Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn - are in the game. Of course, that wasn't what I was asking. Of course the details of a game are revealed only an inch at a time. A yes or no on the Boy Wonder's existence must wait.
Funny thing, though. In the demo I saw of Arkham City today, the developers twice garbled characters' lines of dialogue. Each time they had just half-second's worth of speech playing in reverse. They seem to be scrambling some plot detail. What could be so important, so revelatory about what is happening in this game that it too must be obscured - and yet so succinctly stated that it can be expressed in a half sentence. It seemed to be about an event that happened in Gotham.
We need a detective to sort this one out. Or maybe a Boy Wonder.
(For impressions of what I saw in Arkham City, check out Michael McWhertor's excellent write-up from last week. Same impressive stuff.)