Batman: Arkham Knight hasn’t even been out two full days, but that short span has been filled with incredible vitriol over the Windows PC version, which appears to be riddled with performance issues. And now Warner Bros. is taking drastic action to save face.
The publisher just announced that it is pulling the game from retailers, digital and physical alike it seems, until the various problems are fixed and the game is in a more playable state. It is now unavailable to purchase from Steam and Amazon US (although it’s still on Amazon UK as of this writing), and surely other retailers will follow if they haven’t already.
While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Arkham Knight have received many glowingly positive reviews and remain available, the PC version has been assailed by buyers in negative user reviews, comments, and social videos. The footage below from Rock Paper Shotgun is just one clip of many that show the rough early state of the game.
According to the bulk of complaints, the PC game wasn’t optimised for the platform and fails to take advantage of high-end hardware, as it’s capped at 30 frames per second yet still suffers major stuttering and frame drop issues (especially while driving the Batmobile). Developer Rocksteady previously advised players to use the lowest settings to make the game more playable in the short term – advice that wasn’t particularly well received.
"We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC," reads the official statement. "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."
Based on Rocksteady’s statements and other details that have surfaced, it doesn’t sound as if the studio personally handled the version. Rocksteady referred to "an external PC development partner" that spearheaded the port, and it appears to be Iron Galaxy Studios, which has often served as a support studio and port specialist in the past.
Arkham Knight is one of the biggest game releases of the year so far, which is why it’s baffling that Warner Bros. and Rocksteady didn’t give the PC version the level of attention and care it deserved, considering the large fanbase ready and waiting to throw their money at it. Instead, PC players must wait even longer for a version that even runs decently on their high-end rigs – or perhaps just grab refunds, if they can. No timeline has been set for a patch or re-release.