Batman: Arkham Knight Gets Re-Released on PC, Still Broken
It’s been four months since its release and hasty withdrawal from sale but Batman: Arkham Knight is back on sale. The final part of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham trilogy was such an unmitigated disaster on PC that it was withdrawn from sale and subject to an unconditional refund through Steam.
After nearly four months of work, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment has re-released Arkham Knight. And they almost instantly extended the unconditional refund availability to a deadline of the end of 2015. Yes, it’s still fairly broken.
On October 28th, WBIE re-released Batman: Arkham Knight after withdrawing it from sale on PC on the second day of release. As an apology, WBIE offered Steam buyers of the game free copies of the rest of the Arkham franchise (Arkham Asylum GOTY, Arkham City GOTY, Arkham Origins and Arkham Origins Blackgate) if they purchased Arkham Knight before November 16th. That includes people who bought the game at or before launch in June.
Much like the original release of Arkham Knight, the re-release was also plagued with technical issues. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry team found that while the game’s optimization on PC was improved from June’s release, it’s still far from running smoothly on even moderately powered machines. They noted that you’ll need at least 3 GB of VRAM to get smooth play on normal settings though that’s questionable with AMD cards.
In the re-release announcement, WBIE themselves noted that they hadn’t gotten AMD Crossfire or NVIDIA SLI support implemented. Windows 10 users were recommended to have 12 GB of RAM to avoid stuttering and Windows 7 users were warned that they would have stuttering issues during long play sessions.
As a result of these further technical issues, WBIE has announced that they will be offering refunds on Arkham Knight through the end of 2015.
Unfortunately, if you do hold onto the game, that doesn’t mean that the problems with Arkham Knight will ever be fixed. In their refund announcement, WBIE made reference to “issues that we cannot fix.” They’ll reveal those at a later date but it looks like it may never reach a point where it will play smoothly for everyone. Considering the current state of the game, I wouldn’t want to be running lower-spec or AMD hardware.
That leaves us with the unfortunate question of how one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year from a franchise that regularly wins game of the year awards can be so broken on PC that it can be released in a broken and irreparable state.
When the current generation of consoles was deigned, both Sony and Microsoft built their hardware on x86 architecture which is what the current generation of PCs use. The idea was that apart from optimization for hardware, the game’s build could be easily adapted between all three major platforms. Instead, we’re still seeing issues with the optimization of PC builds.
What surprises me is that despite both the Xbox One and PlayStation Four running AMD hardware, it’s those running AMD hardware on PC that are often the most disadvantaged on PC. As someone who is primarily a PC gamer on AMD hardware, I feel as though I should have just spent the same money on the PS4, XB1 and Wii U and not really been too far behind. So I couldn’t play MOBAs or RTSs. Apart from that, I’m not sure there would have been a loss there.
It’s sad that PC gaming has effectively become an afterthought to the publishers, especially when ease of porting was seemingly in mind when designing the current console hardware. I suppose that the majority of gamers are on consoles now but it’s terrible seeing any gamers being treated by a second-class citizen. PC gamers are joining the likes of PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U owners in that category.
Batman: Arkham Knight Steam Community – PC Update October 28th
Batman: Arkham Knight Steam Community – October 28th PC Patch Notes
Batman: Arkham Knight Steam Community – Announcement on Refunds
Eurogamer – Performance Analysis: Batman on PC is still a disappointment