Opinion: WB Made A Huge Mess With Arkham Knight’s PC Version
If you have been following the hottest new game, Batman: Arkham Knight, especially if you have played the game’s infamous PC port, you should be well aware of the complications it is currently facing. In fact, the problems got so severe that Warner Bros. pulled the game from the (digital) shelves. Now I won’t really be going into detail as to what WB has stated, since you can read the comprehensive report by our editor Richard, which includes their released statement.
However, what I would like to talk about, or perhaps vent, would be PC gaming’s current state in regards to AAA performance. Most of you may be aware, that most of the time, especially with Ubisoft games lately, PC gamers have been drawing the shortest stick, while the console gamers manage to acquire ten foot poles. Whatever happened isn’t fairly new and has been happening for quite a while, and what is worse, the developers and publishers seem to be doing nothing about it.
So you can imagine, with Arkham Knight being pulled from digital sale, news comes as a pleasant surprise, and I have a feeling that WB aren’t only doing this because they care about their consumers. In fact, I think a lot of what is happening now can be attributed to Steam’s recently introduced refund policy, which allows its users to claim their cash back if they are not satisfied with the product they received. So, taking into account the massive amount of complaints on the Steam and game’s official forums, a lot of people may have used this service, hitting WB right where it matters, their bank numbers.
If you were to go over on to the Steam’s Store page, not only would you notice the missing purchase button, but also see that the game has highly unfavourable reviews (as seen above), lambasting the game for its un-optimised nature. So what are these issues exactly?
For starters, the game comes natively locked at 30ps, is missing some textures and essential PC graphical features such as Ambient Occlusion. These mishaps make the PC version look considerably lacking than its console counterpart (especially with PS4). Check out the image below to see what I mean. Also, users are reporting low framerate issues, especially those that use an AMD card. I personally, bought my sibling this game, and even though his AMD r9 270x should run this game at favourable settings, it is lagging far behind with its framerate.
Overall, you can see that the PC version hasn’t been given ample priority. In fact the game’s port to the PC, was done by Iron Galaxies Studio, with only 12 people working on the project. Iron Galaxies was also responsible for the Arkham Origins PC port, but even with its frustrating few issues, it never was a horrible port and I myself quite enjoyed the game on the highest settings for my laptop. So, you can’t necessarily shift the entire blame on Iron Galaxies.
Those that deserve the blame are not only the developers, but also the publishers who are responsible for deciding how much work each platform gets. Apparently, for them PC takes the backseat even though the gaming community surrounding it is huge. Did you know that Alan Wake’s port for the PC, made its development cost back in barely a few days? And that was after the game had been confirmed absent for the PC.
Developers need to start putting more effort into PC development, as it needs more attention than what is currently given. Unlike the consoles, you can’t expect everyone to have specs that will run the game as you have made on a specific platform and not everyone can run the game with all the bell and whistles intact. In fact, according to the Steam hardware survey, which valve conducts every once in a while, reveals that the majority of people have medium end setups, rather than something high-end or even extreme.
So, how can they justify having a powerful GTX 660 with 2gb of Vram as their minimum requirement? Even The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a game that looks miles more breathtaking has the minimum requirement of a DirectX9 compliant card with 512MB of VRAM, and GTA V has a minimum requirement of a Nvidia 9800gt or AMD HD 4870 and even that runs perfectly fine.
Now do note. I honestly hope that developers accustomed to this practice will change their ways, and start giving the PC version of their games a higher level of priority. Gamer’s can and will speak back, and it is their right to play any game without avoidable problems. PC games and the triple A development overall, are getting more expensive day by day, while the quality of the product itself declines. WB even managed to botch their Batmobile CE, and delay the Arkham Knight Statue CE.
Let’s just hope that WB gets back to us with some important fixes as soon as possible, as the game has already been considerably delayed as it was originally scheduled to release at the back-end of last year. PC gamer’s shouldn’t have to wait again. Please fix the aforementioned problems WB!