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Warner Bros. offers refunds for Arkham Knight PC... Again

Community still unhappy with PC version's performance despite four month wait since initial withdrawal from sale

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's re-launch of Batman: Arkham Knight's PC version has not achieved its desired objective. Enough of the game's players remain dissatisfied for the company to once again be offering full refunds.

The PC version was so broken when it launched in the summer that WBIE took the unusual step of removing it from sale. The company pledged to resolve the issues, and offered refunds to those who weren't prepared to wait.

The four month wait ended last week, when WBIE re-released the game along with, "particular thanks to the members of the PC community who took the time to give us clear, detailed feedback and bug reporting."

The first sign that the new PC version wasn't entirely what waiting fans might have expected arrived in a Steam blog post that warned of a "hard drive paging issue" that might affect Windows 7 users with certain graphics cards. It also recommended that Windows 10 users have 12GB of RAM for a, "smoother gameplay experience."

"This is a wholly sub-optimal release that remains one of the most disappointing PC versions we've played"

Digital Foundry

Negative responses from the game's players soon followed, which one might argue is to be expected given previous events. However, Digital Foundry also offered a negative verdict of the re-launched product, calling it, "still nowhere near good enough."

"In conclusion, this is a wholly sub-optimal release that remains one of the most disappointing PC versions we've played. Improvements have been made since launch, but we can't help but wonder just how much work has gone into getting this game into shape - especially in the last month since the interim patch was deployed.

"At least it is possible to get the kind of experience Rocksteady original envisaged, but the hardware requirement to do so - specifically a graphics card laden with VRAM - means that only an absolutely minuscule minority of the PC userbase are invited to the party."

Batman: Arkham Knight remains on sale, but WBIE has once again offered full refunds until the end of 2015 to those who still aren't happy with the experience.

"We are very sorry that many of our customers continue to be unhappy with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight," the company said in a post on Steam. "We worked hard to get the game to live up to the standard you deserve but understand that many of you are still experiencing issues.

"For those of you that hold onto the game, we are going to continue to address the issues that we can fix and talk to you about the issues that we cannot fix."

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Latest comments (18)

Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations6 years ago
Sub-optimal? Disappointing? Please compare this to the recent VW scandal or a concept of "early-access dishwashers" and check your moral compasses again. And where are regulatory agencies while we're at it? @3 Monkeys & Co.? And where are mental health institutions btw, when titans cut the branch they're sitting on - right through their legs?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrzej Wroblewski on 2nd November 2015 4:58pm

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Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide6 years ago
PC is such a slippery 'platform'.
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Lloyd Knott VFX Artist, Rockstar North6 years ago
I don't think Valve could have hoped for better PR for their refund service than this game coming out shortly after.

This just highlights the point that if you want to rush a port and get caught out, you probably shouldn't try and rush out the patches afterwards.
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Show all comments (18)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
@Andrzej
When a person pays for an Early Access tittle, he is aware of what he may find, but when you buy a game from a company that has a reputation and sells it as finished product you expect a lot more.
It's not about any kind of moral compass; it's about what you were promised for your money.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
Lloyd, this isn't about "rushing" the port; this is about sheer incompetence even to the point of choosing the wrong things to work on. I can't believe that they're working on better SLI support when for every user they have with SLI they surely have hundreds with cards with only 2 GB of VRAM.

There will certainly be a day when it's reasonable to make games that don't work will with "only" 2 GB of VRAM on your graphics card, but that day is certainly not today. Nor is this any sort of obscure problem; the issue would have been apparent very early on.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Considering that the PC port wasn't done by Rocksteady in the first place, perhaps what people should learn from this is to actually pay top-dollar for competent porting-companies. Looking at the Wiki for Iron Galaxy, it seems they have done a good amount of work in the past, but very little of that was on PC, which is no doubt one of the reasons why Arkham Knight was so badly optimized.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd November 2015 5:10pm

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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 6 years ago
Or Morville you can port it inhouse, like we do at Larian, so far all platforms have been pretty good for Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Mmmm, true. :) Either way, though, porting shouldn't be regarded as second-tier work, and good ports need time and expertise to fully make use of all the resources available. I genuinely don't want to be down on IG (no-one sets out to do less-than-stellar work, after all), but I hope Arkham Knight will be a valuable lesson for a lot of companies in how not to arrange a port.
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 6 years ago
Well in our case we were releasing a CRPG on the console. We literally spent a lot of time redesigning and converting all interactions possible on keyboard and mouse to Joypads and TV screens. Now I'm guessing the port of Batman would've been pretty straight forward in comparison but any skew of any game is a challenge to release. As all developers know every release has its own problems and oddities.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
One of the things I'm wondering is how Warner let this product slip through not once, but twice. Surely a publisher of that size does some independent testing on a product before releasing it, don't they?
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Well in our case we were releasing a CRPG on the console. We literally spent a lot of time redesigning and converting all interactions possible on keyboard and mouse to Joypads and TV screens.
And a huge thumbs-up for that, btw. :D I'm still bitter about the PC version of Mass Effect 2, which mapped interact (I think it was) and jump on the space-bar. Seriously, a whole keyboard, and you can't allow time to separate those commands. :/
Surely a publisher of that size does some independent testing on a product before releasing it, don't they?
Which is another thing I hope people learn (this time, consumers) - publishers can be shockingly cynical and/or inept. Either WB's management/oversight structure was so bad they didn't catch this, or they just didn't care. Either way, maybe (this time) consumers will learn something. :)
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
@Morville
interact (I think it was) and jump on the space-bar.
Mass Effect's jump was contextual, so it makes sense (It was the same way on consoles) that it goes in the same button as the rest of the "interact" functions.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Yeah, that makes sense... except I'm sure I'm not alone when I say muscle-memory says interact is on E, and jump is on Space Bar. Hence the bitterness about the port. :p

(And clearly I shouldn't be posting on the internet when I haven't even had one cup of coffee... so many mistakes. :p )

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 4th November 2015 8:07am

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
@Morville
Ok, I understand now and share your feelings there :P
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee6 years ago
Its a shame PC wasn't the lead platform. I'm a huge fan of outsourcing and its benefits though, so its a huge shame it went badly this time.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
A quote from the article by Digital Foundry:
Many PC developers spend a lot of time behind the scenes devising background streaming to and from VRAM in order to offer visual parity with consoles for those with 2GB PC graphics cards.
One has to concede that this is trying to trick your way out of not having enough RAM. It is a form of compression with no guarantee
for it to work. Add the fact that you just hired 12 people from another studio to do it and your chances grow even slimmer (Credit Roll mentions 12 people doing the PC port).

As a PC gamer I am at peace with two things.
(1) My 2GB GTX 770 is crap now and since consoles have 8GB, so should my GPU.
(2) 8GB of RAM cost 45 on Amazon. Either that or three Amiibos for Mario Maker.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
Klaus, I'm not sure what you think compression is, but streaming textures to and from VRAM is not that. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I am also not clear on what you're suggesting is better than that "trick." You surely don't seriously believe that games would be better if you reduced all the textures of the entire game to fit in to 2 GB, do you? Or is this some part of a secret plan to make the PSOne look really competitive with modern PCs?

I am also entirely unclear why hiring people from another studio guarantees that your studio's overall level is going to become dumber. is it really the case that every console developer in the world is so smart that it's simply impossible for them to hire a dozen people who know more about building PC games than they do?

Your final conclusions are also dead wrong. A simple perusal of recent Digital Foundry articles offers an explanation of why the 2 GB graphics cards common in today's consumers' machines are nowhere near dead yet. And your "45" memory from Amazon is the same as the GDDR5 memory in the PS3 just as a VW Beetle is the same as Tesla Roadster. (They're both cars, right?)
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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 6 years ago
What's perhaps most disappointing isn't the the port released in a shoddy state, but that months of (apparent) work have yielded few tangible improvements.
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