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If you've been pleasantly enjoying the latest addition to the Batman: Arkham series since its release Tuesday, you've probably been playing it on Playstation 4 or Xbox One. Computer gamers haven't been as lucky as their console counterparts, since the PC version of "Batman: Arkham Knight" appears to be severely broken, with fingers being pointed at a Chicago-based game developer.
The problems for the PC version of "Batman: Arkham Knight" have been so severe, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has suspended future sales of the game until the problems are fixed.
From the moment of "Batman: Arkham Knight's" release, complaints from customers flooded the comments on Steam, a major digital distribution service for video games.
Complaints have varied from user to user, with some individuals angry about the quality of the graphics, while others are left to deal with performance issues that make the game nearly unplayable. One major complaint across the board has been that the PC version of "Batman: Arkham Knight" has been capped at 30 frames per second, as opposed to the expected 60 frames per second.
Comparisons of the console and PC versions of the game show vast differences, with the Playstation 4 version showing off minute details that add to the gritty atmosphere of Batman's world, and the PC version resembling the kind of shiny graphics you'd expect from a high-end game a few years ago (see a comparison of both versions for yourself at GameSpot). For the truly unlucky, "Batman: Arkham Knight" on the PC has such extreme stutters, it's not worth playing.
Initially, Warner Bros. recommended players seriously hamper the video options of "Batman: Arkham Knight" to make the game playable. They've since stopped selling the game altogether while they work to fix it.
"We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with "Batman: Arkham Knight" on PC," Warner Bros. stated in a forum post late yesterday. "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."
"Batman: Arkham Knight" and its predecessors were made by London-based Rocksteady Studios, which is owned by Warner Bros. According to their initial statement, the PC version of "Batman: Arkham Knight" was ported from their console versions of the game by a separate company.
Rumor has it that the abysmal PC port of "Batman: Arkham Knight" was done by Chicago-based Iron Galaxy Studios. With that said, Warner Bros., Rocksteady Studios and Iron Galaxy Studios have not explicitly stated what exactly Iron Galaxy's involvement has been with the game. Iron Galaxy has been sharing Warner Bros. updates on their social media account, which seems to imply some involvement in this fiasco, but they have yet to elaborate further (thanks to non-disclosure agreements, Iron Galaxy Studios likely isn't allowed to elaborate further).
Despite vast rumors online, there aren't many facts illuminating who exactly is to blame. Iron Galaxy, a studio of 12 people that's been involved with a slew of big industry games, may have had an abundance of time to work on the port, or they may have been asked to do it last minute. It's possible they weren't responsible for the entire port, too, but were hired to assist Rocksteady Studios in finishing this high-profile game. I've sent an email inquiry to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, but have yet to receive a response.
Whatever Iron Galaxy's exact role in this mess, the decision to release the PC version of "Batman: Arkham Knight" was ultimately up to Warner Bros. And while they may not have known about the extent of the problems, they clearly had some idea, considering the graphical limitations they put into the release version of the game. Though Warner Bros. has apologized and is working as fast as possible to rectify the game's many problems with a patch, their decision to release it in the first place is questionable. Is this decision "too little, too late" for some gamers?
Currently, I'm playing the Playstation 4 version, and have experienced no problems. A review is forthcoming early next week...
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