When Batman: Arkham Knight was released last week, people expected it to be exceptional. And on PS4 and Xbox, it was. The same couldn’t be said for the PC version of the game though, as it was so horribly broken and its framerate was so poor that even those on high-end gaming machines struggled to play it.
As a result of the backlash and due to the amount of players requesting refunds, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive pulled the game off sale and promised to fix everything soon. While it wasn’t good that Arkham Knight had been released in that state in the first place, many appreciated that Warner Bros. was at least trying to make it right.
However, according to some sources, Warner Bros. knew about Batman: Arkham Knight‘s PC problems and still released the game anyway.
Warner Bros. Knew About Arkham Knight‘s PC Issues
Several sources familiar with the game and the PC development process (Batman: Arkham Knight‘s PC port was outsourced to Iron Galaxy Studios) spoke to Kotaku‘s Patrick Klepek to shed light on the situation. One quality assurance tester who had been working on the game for years said that “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. It’s been like this for months and all the problems we see now were the exact same, unchanged, almost a year ago.”
The publication’s QA source, along with another who was “close to the game’s production” also added that the console version of the game was in dire straits too as (lead developer) Rocksteady Studios underestimated how hard it is to developer PS4 and Xbox One and that’s why Arkham Knight was delayed. The two sources also explained that:
“[The PS4 and Xbox One were] not nearly as easy to work with as [Rocksteady] expected” and testers should focus time on finding console bugs. This particular team was made up of roughly 100 people, with about 10% focused on the PC version.
We reported literally thousands of bugs that were specific to the PC version relating to the frame rate. All sorts of fucked up texture issues. The Batmobile in particular has always fucked things up on PC.”
Not only that but Warner Bros. apparently instructed the QA team to focus on resolutions of 720p of higher, which Klepek says is likely the reason for the performance gap between mid-range and high-end PCs that try to run the game. Plus, Arkham Knight‘s story was another testing hurdle as Rocksteady was so afraid of story info leaking out before the game’s release, “traditional PC testing firms” (that would have tested the game on all sorts of PC builds) had to be avoided.
While this is certainly disappointing to hear, Warner Bros.’ inability to release a solid PC build isn’t entirely surprising. Before Batman: Arkham Knight‘s PC problems, another Warner published game, Mortal Kombat X (which was also outsourced), was also a total mess on PC. Batman: Arkham Origins (worked on by the same team that did Arkham Knight‘s PC port) was troublesome on PC too. Other Warner–published games, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Dying Light, mostly managed to avoid PC problems though, and Klepek chalks this down to the fact that the developers of those games had worked with PC before and they handled their own PC builds.
All in all, Batman: Arkham Knight on PC has been a shambles and Warner Bros. clearly needs to get it together. A patch was recently released for the game, and we’ll have more for you on future updates.