Dax Ginn, marketing game manager at Rocksteady Studios, relayed some important information on Batman: Arkham City in his gamescom interview on the official US PlayStation blog.
First on his mind was the Predator challenge maps, which due to the developer's lack of control of the difficulty in such an open-world title, serve more like a "dojo where you can go to sharpen your skills". Gaining high scores and taking out enemies in specific ways in these de factor practice arenas awards players medals toward the mode's Riddler Revenge feature. What those rewards are remains uncertain for now.
But more importantly, the revealed character of Robin is only available in these challenge maps (and he has a shield):
Because Robin only appears in the challenge maps, our focus is on taking him in a direction not seen before. To fit in our world then he needs to be hard-hitting and have abilities that are approaching the potency of Batman’s, so he has a bow staff and shield, and he is an explosions specialist, with vision augmentation that allows him to identify explosives in the environment. Robin is a complex character and very different to Batman – it’s not a case that we’ve just reskinned him.
I must admit that I wish The Boy Wonder was selectable in the main playthrough in some fashion, because I already know enough about Batman. And I secretly hope that the reveal of Robin would some day lead to
Nighthawk Nightwing [Edit: What's wrong with me?!] being selectable as well. But I'm sure Arkham City will enough content that I won't mind this omission. I mean, there needs to be something new for an Arkham City 2, right?