Batman: Arkham City is nearly upon us, yet news on the game continues to appear at an astonishing rate. While players are clamoring to get back into the virtual skin of the Dark Knight, Arkham City’s other playable characters — Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman — are a major draw in their own right. However, Bat-fans are going to have to buy the game new, or shell out extra for a Batman: Arkham City VIP pass, if they hope to play as Catwoman.

The pass in question will be packaged with all new copies of Batman: Arkham City, and allows players to access Catwoman’s four playable story scenes, as well as enabling her in the game’s Challenge Mode. Players without the pass will still encounter Catwoman (who has a few alternate skins of her own) during the course of the game, though her missions will be unavailable.

This news was confirmed by Warner Bros. Interactive just today in response to an inquiry from Eurogamer. The publisher went on to outline the price for purchasing a VIP pass separately.

“Further to your story, players who purchase previously owned copies of Batman: Arkham City can access the playable Catwoman content for £7.99/ 800 Microsoft Points.”

While some players may well feel shortchanged by the need for a VIP pass to unlock content that is already (apparently) on the game disc, Warner Bros. Interactive makes its position on the matter abundantly clear.

“Playing as Catwoman is not required to complete the game.”

While there can be no question about how ravenously gamers the world over await the release of Batman: Arkham City, the hoops that players must jump through to experience all the game’s content are starting to look absurd, and costly. Pre-ordering the game is necessary to gain access to Robin, Nightwing is separate paid DLC, and a VIP pass is necessary for Catwoman. Don’t forget the Joker Carnival DLC, either.

What do you think, Ranters? Is this all getting to be too much? Or do you simply want as much Arkham City as possible, inconvenience and cost be damned? Let us know in the comments below.

Update: GameStop to the rescue. Kotaku received an anonymous tip that GameStop will include the VIP pass with all used copies of Batman: Arkham City, printed on the receipt. This has since been “verified with GameStop retail locations.” Furthermore, the GameStop memo that outed this promotion details exactly what customers can expect from the pass. Catwoman skins confirmed! Take a look below.

Batman Arkham City Gamestop Memo

Batman: Arkham City releases October 18, 2011, for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and November 8, 2011, for the PC.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken

Source: Eurogamer, Kotaku