The PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight continues to be a comedy of errors. In spite of numerous patches, a complete relaunch, and loads of promises, the game still performs poorly on a wide range of PCs. Even with an extra four months to tidy up the mess, the developers still can’t get the game to run reasonably well. After yet another tidal wave of negative customer feedback, Warner Bros. has caved, and is now allowing for complete refunds until the end of the year.
In a message posted on the Arkham Knight Steam community page, a Warner Bros. representative announced that every owner of the PC version will be able to return the game for a full refund. Regardless of how many hours you’ve played, you can get all of your money back until the end of the year. Did you buy the season pass as well? You can return that too, but only if you decide that you’re willing to part with the core game as well — no backsies otherwise.
Over at the Digital Foundry, the performance analysis is showing lackluster results across the board. If you’re running a graphics card with 2GB of memory, you can expect pitiful performance on anything but the lowest texture setting. Rocking a high-end card with 4GB of memory? You’re probably still better off locking the frame rate at 30fps to reduce stutter. Even running a GTX 980 and an i7-4790K, the Digital Foundry folks can’t keep the frame rate steady at 60fps. All these months later, and this port is still a massive headache.
Using the game’s built-in 30fps cap, there’s still some serious problems with frame pacing. If you’re using an Nvidia card, its proprietary control panel can solve that issue by using the half-rate adaptive v-sync option. But if you’re using an AMD card, you’re completely out of luck. If you’re just dying to play this game, I’d recommend picking up a used PS4 or Xbox One copy if at all possible. Those versions can only offer 30fps, but at least they’re consistent.
Truth be told, I can’t say I’m surprised by any of this. Last week, I reported on the re-release of Arkham Knight, the bevy of make-goods, and the initial performance issues. Irecommended against purchasing the game on PC for the time being, and this just confirms my suspicions. The PC release is still on fire, and based on some choice wording in today’s announcement, I don’t think it will ever be completely fixed.
Earlier this year, I interviewed a few developers about the process of porting games. They had a lot of valuable insight on the process, but the biggest take-away for me was understanding just how complicated everything is. Even under optimal circumstances, delivering a polished port is a challenging task. And based on what we’ve heard, this scenario was far from ideal. It seems as if resources were scarce from the get-go, and the dev team has been under the gun to fix this mess in a timely manner. My heart goes out to all of the hard-working devs, but I have absolutely zero sympathy for the suits at Warner Bros. who continue to try to sell consumers a broken game. It’s inexcusable.