Thanks for spoiling ‘Batman’

By Luke Wilusz

I was minding my own business, scrolling down the front page of Gawker Media’s gaming blog,, on the afternoon of Sept. 30 when I noticed something that demonstrated, at least to me, a blatant disregard and disrespect for the site’s readers. Kotaku ran a preview for the upcoming and highly-anticipated game “Batman: Arkham City,” which wouldn’t ordinarily be an issue, except it included a massive plot spoiler in the article’s headline.

I have nothing against publications running spoilers, per se; some people want to know everything they possibly can about a game, film or TV show the second that information becomes available, and that’s perfectly fine. The media have every right to serve that audience.

However, most publications have the common decency to hide major revelations below the fold or flag them with a prominent spoiler warning out of respect for people who want to enjoy a story.

Reporters who saw pre-screenings of “The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Sixth Sense” never ran headlines announcing that Darth Vader was Luke’s father or that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time because that would have been unprofessional and sensationalistic.

Brian Crecente, Kotaku’s editor-in-chief, defended the article by stating that the information came from a press event held by the game’s developers and was thus news that they needed to report on.

While I can’t argue with his reasoning, it doesn’t justify the blatant spoiler in the headline. There’s no good reason to ruin the game for every unsuspecting reader who happens to visit the site.

Crecente wrote that, despite the developers showed the spoiler to the press, they probably “didn’t view it as a major plot point.” However, the information in the headline is definitely a big deal to the site’s readers, if the overwhelming number of angry comments on the article is any indication.

What’s worse, a week later the headline is still up and unaltered, showing up as a suggested article next to any other piece related to the game.

The story could have easily run as a regular preview with the spoiler safely flagged and hidden away from the front page. As it ran, though, it’s hard to think of a way to justify it as anything but a ploy to get attention and increase page views. It’s disappointing because I’ve been reading Kotaku for years. I had a lot of respect for the site, but this just makes me want to avoid it so I don’t have anything else I’m eagerly looking forward to get ruined for me.