Report: Arkham Knight problems were known months prior to launch

Sad Batman Arkham Knight

We know now that the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight is an absolute mess. Lest there be any doubt, it's not even possible to buy it on Steam now, and when a publisher halts sales of one of its biggest releases of the year because of technical issues, hoo boy, you know you've got problems. But the game's shoddy state didn't come as a complete surprise to everyone. In fact, according to a Kotaku report, Warner Bros. knew it was going to be a train wreck long before it came out.

Two separate sources, speaking anonymously, told the site that Warner was well aware of the problems, because nearly all of them had been around for the better part of the year. Unfortunately, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles turned out to be "not nearly as easy to work with as [Rocksteady] expected," and so the vast majority of the QA team, comprising around 100 people, were focused on console bug hunts. Testing was also conducted at 720p resolutions, well below what most PC gamers expect, and compounding the problem even further, Warner allegedly declined to employ external firms that specialize in testing PC games because it was worried about details of the plot leaking ahead of release.

"We reported literally thousands of bugs that were specific to the PC version relating to the frame rate," one Kotaku source said. "All sorts of fucked up texture issues. The Batmobile in particular has always fucked things up on PC."

The report also claims that developer Rocksteady did not actually work on the PC edition, which was instead handled by Iron Galaxy. Rocksteady focused solely on the console versions of Arkham Knight, and only became involved in the PC release after it went off the rails. "WBGames is working with the PC developer IronGalaxy to address the issues ASAP," Rocksteady Game Director Sefton Hill tweeted last week, adding that Rocksteady will "provide any support" to get the game working properly.

So why, in light of all that, was it released? The answer is something of a letdown: The sources say that Warner simply thought it was good enough. That's better than a straight-up conspiracy to screw with PC gamers, I guess, but picking between incompetent and indifferent isn't much of a choice.

None of this is really a surprise—I mean, of course Warner knew this was going to happen, because how could it not?—but even so, it's depressing to see it spelled out so starkly, and to know that the whole ugly mess could have been avoided if the PC had been given equal priority during development. The report goes into quite a bit of depth about Warner's checkered history on the PC (Mortal Kombat X, anyone?) and is well worth reading in full at Kotaku.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.