'Batman: Arkham Knight': Steam Return Finally Coming

Batman: Arkham Knight, the third game in the Batman: Arkham series, has been doing pretty well -- on consoles.

The game has been heralded as the best of the series, receiving review scores in the high 80s and breaking 2015 (and Arkham series) sales records. Amazingly, it managed all of this in spite of PC sales being suspended one day after the game launched, in the wake of scathing reviews describing the game as "unplayable" even with the best possible hardware. Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment issued a brief statement at the time.

"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."
Simply put, Batman: Arkham Knight suffered one of the worst PC launches of all time. Players who pre-ordered or picked up the game on opening day reported capped frame rates that still dipped and stuttered regardless of hardware; many have since reported that they've been unable to play the game since June, in spite of several performance patches and new graphics drivers released by AMD and Nvidia, specifically in response to Batman: Arkham Knight's performance problems.
Finally, though, there is hope. According to Gamespot, Warner Bros. has announced that a new stability patch for Batman: Arkham Knight will be made available before the end of the month - and that with it, the game will be made available for sale again, only about a third of a year after being removed.

Last month's performance patch reportedly did make significant performance improvements to Batman: Arkham Knight. As such, it may actually be safe to be optimistic about the upcoming patch's ability to get the game working properly on PC for the first time.

In the months following Arkham Knight's removal from Steam, it was revealed that the actual developer, Rocksteady Games, only worked on the console version; in other words, the game was entirely developed as a console game and the developers never actually saw the PC port, which was worked on by "a small external team" - which is a polite way of saying it was outsourced to a small, cheap studio rather than developed as a game in its own right.

The new patch also promises to add support for all Batman: Arkham Knight DLC released up to this point, as per community admin Yorick on Arkham Knight's Steam page, attributed to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

"As many of you know, we released a major patch for Batman: Arkham Knight PC a few weeks ago. While there were significant performance improvements made to the game, the teams are continuing to work on the additional updates that were outlined in our previous post. We expect these updates to be ready at the end of October, at which time the PC version will be made available for purchase. In addition, support for all DLC that has been released for the console versions will be in place."

"Thanks again for your continued patience and support."

It may be too little too late, however. Warner Bros. and Rocksteady have a lot of ground to make up; while the game enjoys high ratings from console players and reviewers, only 47 percent of reviews on Steam are "positive" and the game's store page currently carries no official review score. And as Forbes notes, the community hasn't reacted very kindly.

Screenshot courtesy of Erik Kain, via Forbes.
Screenshot courtesy of Erik Kain, via Forbes.

Meanwhile, Metacritic shows a review score of 70 percent (on PS4 it's an 87) and a user rating of 1.9/10, defined by Metacritic as "overwhelming dislike."

'Batman: Arkham Knight': Steam Return Finally Coming

Hopefully for Warner Bros. and Rocksteady, the final Batman: Arkham Knight patch will mark a turning point. And hopefully for the rest of us, they've learned their lesson when it comes to releasing games in an unplayable state.

[Image courtesy Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Rocksteady Studios]