Warner Brothers has taken a drastic step that has never really been done before – all PC sales of this week’s release of “Batman: Arkham Knight” have been suspended in the wake of major technical faults.
The game has been removed from sale on Steam and while the store page listing remains, customers are unable to add the game to their cart. It’s a serious enough problem that instructions have been made clearly available regarding how to get a refund.
The problems aren’t the same ones that plagued “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” last Fall for example with missing textures and game breaking bugs. The issues here seem to be almost entirely in regards to optimisation with the game’s frame rate proving wildly inconsistent and struggling to stay above 15fps during taxing sequences such as the Batmobile driving scenes. Also some ambient occlusion and other effects present on the console versions are notably absent from the PC ones.
A statement just posted on the company’s forums reads as follows:
“Dear Batman: Arkham Knight PC owners,
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.
Thank you to those players who have already given valuable feedback. We are continuously monitoring all threads posted in the Official Batman: Arkham Knight Community and Steam forums, as well as any issues logged with our Customer Support (support.wbgames.com). If you purchased your copy of the game and are not satisfied with your experience, then we ask for your patience while these issues are resolved. If desired, you can request a refund at help.steampowered.com (Steam refund policies can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds) or the retail location where you purchased the game.
The Batman: Arkham fans have continually supported the franchise to its current height of success, and we want to thank you for your patience as we work to deliver an updated version of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC so you can all enjoy the final chapter of the Batman: Arkham series as it was meant to be played.”
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game appear to be unaffected. Warner Bros. first acknowledged the issues with the PC version yesterday, but their suggestion of running the game at 720p and basically turning any graphical tweaks off and/or down to low was only met with anger from PS users.
Postings from PC users over at Kotaku indicate the problem varies from individual system to individual system with quite a few players seeing minimal frame rate drops. The ‘Interactive Smoke/Fog’ option has been singled out as a big factor in throttling the performance, but a lot depends on your card and system setup – in this case Nvidia graphics card users with high-end systems will be the ones who’ll have the least issues.
Talk has turned towards who to blame for the screw up with Iron Galaxy Studios, the company apparently responsible for the PC port of the game along with the problematic PC port of the previous title “Batman Arkham Origins,” coming under the most fire.