Warner Bros. Interactive, the publisher of Batman: Arkham Knight for PC and consoles, knew the PC port by Iron Galaxy Studios was a mess months before release, according to industry sleuth Patrick Klepek of Kotaku.
As of this writing, you still can not purchase Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. Steam and other digital distribution channels pulled the title in the wake of crippling bugs that left the game nearly unplayable for the majority of PC gamers. According to Kelpek’s article on Kotaku, sources inside the the quality assurance (QA) section made it apparent to Warner Bros. management that the game was headed for a rough launch.
“I will say that it’s pretty rich for WB to act like they had no idea the game was in such a horrible state,” said one quality assurance tester who worked on the game for years. “It’s been like this for months and all the problems we see now were the exact same, unchanged, almost a year ago.” Other sources who spoke to Kotaku on the basis of anonymity claimed that Warner Bros. Interactive were fully aware of the issues plaguing Arkham Knight for the PC, but chose to release the game anyway because it was “good enough.”
How bad was the game really? Digital Foundry, recognized as one of the most thorough performance testers for retail games, posted the above video to their YouTube channel to see how bad the Arkham Knight PC port really was. The verdict was a crippled frame rate, poor streaming of assets, and a “bloated” minimum and recommended hardware specification list for the PC version. “Unacceptable” was the last word used to describe the port of Arkham Knight on the PC.
Arkham Knight PC was eventually pulled from Steam, with Valve pointing dissatisfied gamers to the refund page.
“We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards. We greatly value our customers and know that while there are a significant amount of players who are enjoying the game on PC, we want to do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall.”
Batman: Arkham Knight was an overwhelming project from the beginning. It was developer Rocksteady’s first project on the new consoles, and open world games are notorious for bugs and unforeseen complications. When testing a game in a QA department, the tester is traditionally given a portion of the game to test or a specific function to stress test. Pressing “Start” to pause the game over and over in an attempt to crash the game for an hour is one example. But in an open world game like Arkham Knight, it is a bit more difficult. According to the source for Kotaku, over 100 bugs per day were being reported on the console versions alone, which lead Rocksteady to prioritize the console development over the PC version.
The PC in general is a complicated platform, as it is a machine built to run Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, as well as your PC gaming library. Consoles are a closed system, which makes things somewhat easier, but whenever a generational leap is involved, all bets are off — as Rocksteady discovered. PC development has also never been Warner Bros. strong suit. The PC version of Arkham Origins was also bug-ridden, to the point where Steam members were hacking each other’s files to get out of a glitched environment.
This last year has seen a plethora of video games released in a broken state, and not just on the PC. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is a key example, and sadly, Batman: Arkham Knight PC has continued the trend. No game is ever bug free — there are simply far too many moving parts and lines of code, and games are just getting bigger and more complex. We do not know to what extent Rocksteady and Iron Galaxy Studios collaborated, but we do know that Rocksteady has taken a much more active role in the crisis management, as the Inquisitr has already covered.
What we do know for certain is that Warner Bros. had a good idea on the state of the game and chose to release it anyway. While Warner Bros. has yet to reply to comment, the disrespect it shows to the consumer is disheartening, to say the least.
[Image Source: GamesPress]