Following over 4,500 negative reviews on the Steam Store and a boatload of technical issues plaguing the launch of Batman: Arkham Knight on Windows, publisher Warner Bros. has pulled the title to focus on improving “quality standards”.
As reported by Polygon, this is the latest in a number of high profile releases that have been released in a technically incomplete state on PC, of which Assassin’s Creed Unity is another example.
Following the arrival of the game on June 23, users began to notice a number of issues with the release almost immediately. An excellent example of this is the fact tha the game is limited to 30 FPS by default. Though this is alterable by digging through a few .ini files, in 2015 it is certainly a little odd. Many reviewers cited poor performance regardless of their hardware, with one noting that even a Nvidia GTX 970 could not handle the game, a result stemming from poor optimization.
Warner Bros. is aware of the situation and appears to be working hard to fix it, stating,
“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.”
AMD has also released updated drivers for the game, which promise to improve performance significantly for those running AMD hardware on their PCs.
Currently, there is no word as to when Batman: Arkham Knight will reappear on the Steam Store, though given the importance of the release it will most likely be a matter of weeks, not months before a more complete final product is revealed.
This situation reflects what is rapidly becoming a trend for major titles released on PC, buggy initial launches, for which patches are then released over the following weeks and months to improve things somewhat. Whether a result of publishers being more stringent with their prioritization of time for developers, or the vastly growing size and complexity modern titles, it is nonetheless an unfortunate reality for many.
Valve has also gone to lengths to remind players that Steam now has a refund option for anyone who is unsatisfied with their purchases, meaning that those who are unhappy have at least another option than simply to wait.
As for the long term implications of this situation, it is difficult to tell. Developer Rocksteady has built up a loyal following for its Batman series, widely regarded as some of the best in the ‘Superhero’ genre; yet with such a difficult release, this previously stellar reputation may become a little tarnished.
Do you think more care should be taken to release games in a more complete state? Let us know in the comments below.