Batman: Arkham Knight Pulled From Steam Until Issues Are Resolved

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Batman: Arkham Knight Pulled From Steam Until Issues Are Resolved


Warner Bros. has halted all sales of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight until its numerous issues are fixed.

So you are probably aware of the remove the game from the Steam store [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/141320-Players-of-the-PC-Version-of-Arkham-Knight-are-Reporting-Gameplay-Issues], effectively halting the vast majority of its PC sales, until those issues are corrected.

"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," posted Warner Bros.' Gary Lake-Schaal in a Steam announcement [http://steamcommunity.com/games/208650/announcements/detail/145587678167685991].

"If you purchased your copy of the game and are not satisfied with your experience, then we ask for your patience while these issues are resolved," he asked, adding "If desired, you can request a refund at https://help.steampowered.com [https://help.steampowered.com/#Login?redir=%23Home%3Fsessionid%3Dd6ae3e556d331b390724da47]."

"The Batman: Arkham fans have continually supported the franchise to its current height of success, and we want to thank you for your patience as we work to deliver an updated version of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC so you can all enjoy the final chapter of the Batman: Arkham series as it was meant to be played."

We're not quite sure how this will effect gamers who bought (or were planning to buy) their copy of the game at a physical store, or via a third-party CD-key retailer.

This can be seen as both a good and bad move from WB. Good, in the sense that by halting PC sales it is effectively choking itself of a revenue stream until it can fix the problems, but bad in the sense that now that the game has been pulled, it may be a while before it comes back.

Source: Steam [http://steamcommunity.com/games/208650/announcements/detail/145587678167685991]

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JUMBO PALACE

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I'll echo what I said in another thread.

This can be seen as the right move by WB but it's only happening because refunds are possible now and they're afraid of of even more people getting their hands on the game and slamming their reputation. They're doing damage control not making amends.

I've seen a number of people claiming that this is just what the PC community needed; a lemon on such a large scale to showcase the new Steam refund policy and that developers need to get their shit together for PC ports. But honestly I feel that it could just as easily go in the other direction. With so little effort being put into PC versions already I'm willing to bet that some developers will just for-go it altogether now that they can't rush something out, make some money, and promise to patch it later. Ubisoft, EA, and apparently WB give less than a shit already so why should they care more now that PC gamers don't have to cross their fingers and wait for patches? Maybe profits are high enough to offset legitimate development costs. I certainly hope so.
 

SeventhSigil

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Sooooo, from what little I have pieced together on the Internet, it sounds like the PC version wasn't ported by Rocksteady themselves- presumably they were focusing on the console versions- but instead got passed on to some other developer. Similarly, accounts suggest that the console versions are actually really solid, perform as well as can be expected on the hardware, etc. Hell, I think Digital Foundry called the PS4 version a 'tour de force' or something, so the actual base game doesn't seem to be shit so much as the porting job that this external studio did in bringing it to PC. Something that, BARE minimum, you'd think Warner Brothers or Rocksteady (whoever this external studio was reporting to) would have noticed before launch, even if just before.

Which brings me to the question... why the hell didn't they delay the PC version?!

I mean, I know delay's a bit of a dirty word, and yes, there'd probably be a special level of grumbling if ONLY the PC version got delayed, and the console versions released as plan, but it's still preferable to this, for both consumer and the publisher I'd imagine! The PS4 version of Street Fighter IV has been, from other reports, REALLY shite, because it was given to some external studio to port and they did a shoddy job, with last reports being that Sony and Capcom were looking into fixing everything that was wrong with it. Regardless of how little the publisher was paying attention in either SFIV or Arkham Knight's case during its porting, you'd think they would have a 'pre-launch' inspection or something that would have picked up on these glaring issues. It just stuns me that the publisher would decide; 'Ehhhhh, maybe they won't notice,' launches the game, kicks up an inevitable shitstorm, and now has to work under super crunch time to try and fix the issues before their entire consumer base leaks away forever.

Heck, if memory serves, Rockstar delayed GTA V's PC port a LOT to work on polishing it, and it turned out well for them. =P ...although haven't played it on PC, so don't know if the consumer ended up with a stable, smooth product as a result. Still, it probably turned out better than it would have if they'd eschewed delaying it at all.
 

Clive Howlitzer

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I wonder if Steam will offer refunds outside the usual 2 hours for this game. They should do so if you ask me.
 

General Torg

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Clive Howlitzer said:
I wonder if Steam will offer refunds outside the usual 2 hours for this game. They should do so if you ask me.
Does it take longer than two hours fore people run into problems?
 

Clive Howlitzer

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General Torg said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
I wonder if Steam will offer refunds outside the usual 2 hours for this game. They should do so if you ask me.
Does it take longer than two hours fore people run into problems?
I am not sure, I haven't played the game. However I know that sometimes people will suck it up and keep trying to get around the technical problems. They might also hold out hope for a patch. That two hours can disappear extremely quickly, especially when trying fixes for a game to alleviate technical issues.

I know I have one or two games on my Steam list with about 4 hours on them but I've never actually played them. It was all time spent trying to get them to work.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
So not two weeks after the refund policy is in place, WB is roundly cock-slapped by their own incompetence and their investors who care only about profits.

I really really REALLY hope refunds bankrupt entire developers. Nothing like pure capitalism to determine survival of the fittest, eh?
Make a shit game and you don't survive to make a second.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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General Torg said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
I wonder if Steam will offer refunds outside the usual 2 hours for this game. They should do so if you ask me.
Does it take longer than two hours fore people run into problems?
From what I've seen of gameplay on YouTube people run into frame rate issues literally after the first cut-scene. Batman drops from his perch and boom! Clipping issues. Not 5mins in.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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Well its interesting to say the least. But from the general information given out, WB/Rocksteady made a big mistake in outsourcing the PC port. Hopefully this is a wake up call to dev's and publishers alike that QA practices are in dire straits and need to be held in higher regard. Game testing has declined for the last 15 years and it really needs a makeover from almost every major AAA publisher out there.

Seems almost every large name in the industry is getting stupid when it comes to QA. Having worked as a tester in 2001 for EA (before EA shit the QA bed) I can say that the practices I experienced are not being used.

I've made this argument before, and most people I've talked to have echoed my sentiments. QA is integral to game development, more than marketing campaigns ever could do. Word of mouth is usually the best way of marketing a game, and when situations like this arise the word of mouth can effectively tank a release.

When I worked for EA, they treated us like part of the design staff and we were able to speak with developers without being berated by upper management. It really felt like our feedback was important and our work was valued. From what I've seen and heard since my days at EA, the value of QA employees has declined massively. Its ridiculous, and game publishers are batshit insane for even thinking that QA was a resource that could be cut for budget balancing purposes. Its sometimes shit work and insane hours but the team I was part of were very good at what we did because the company at that time weren't treating us as expendable assets with little-to-no value.
Damn stupid of any company to consider QA to be useless in any form.

I'm hoping that these situations increasing in frequency really kicks publishers in the ass and make them realize that QA needs to be ramped up and valued. The first thing I learned in QA is that if teams aren't finding bugs, then the team isn't worth their salt. Bugs are going to happen because of the massive amount of code that goes into developing modern games. The bigger the budget and game, the more bugs are going to happen. And the more teams coding these games aren't always communicating with each other well or sometimes not at all. Those schisms in communication make the bug count rise exponentially. The less teams talk to each other about the various parts being built separately the more likely those parts aren't going to fit together well or at all.

Outsourcing a PC port is especially stupid because there's almost a full guarantee that the team outsourcing is not going to know jack shit on how the game is supposed to run, and how it should be ported. In fact outsourcing in general is a great way to make sure a wonderful game is going to run into stupid issues. A non-engine related issue can crop up like Deus Ex: Human Revolution's boss fights. They were a glaring issue that broke the otherwise stellar gameplay and that tonal shift that basically prevented some playthroughs from working well. Stealth based builds and hacking based builds were crippled by the boss fights being locked into having only one way to defeat said bosses... we all know the rest pretty much but the issue wasn't fixed for a long time and it prevented a stellar game from really living up to its potential. That they got it fixed isn't something to be praised for the time it took them to fix the damn game. I actually quit playing it and forgot all about it until I ran across an article touting the fix. Which was long after the game had been released. I basically was extremely pissed and I almost left the game uninstalled on my PC but I gave in and enjoyed the hell out of it. I'm still a bit peeved though that the game wasn't fixed sooner.

I'm hoping WB/Rocksteady get their shit in gear and fix this ASAP.
 

mrverbal

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General Torg said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
I wonder if Steam will offer refunds outside the usual 2 hours for this game. They should do so if you ask me.
Does it take longer than two hours fore people run into problems?
It sure doesn't. The opening movie has some jerkiness issues for me; the first fight I had, some 10 minutes into the game, is nigh unplayable due to the framerate issues.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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JUMBO PALACE said:
I've seen a number of people claiming that this is just what the PC community needed; a lemon on such a large scale to showcase the new Steam refund policy and that developers need to get their shit together for PC ports.
It was bound to happen. It's just sad that it had to be freakin' Batman.

JUMBO PALACE said:
But honestly I feel that it could just as easily go in the other direction. With so little effort being put into PC versions already I'm willing to bet that some developers will just for-go it altogether now that they can't rush something out, make some money, and promise to patch it later. Ubisoft, EA, and apparently WB give less than a shit already so why should they care more now that PC gamers don't have to cross their fingers and wait for patches? Maybe profits are high enough to offset legitimate development costs. I certainly hope so.
If profits weren't high enough they wouldn't have an incentive to pull the game and fix it. Publishers don't seem to realize how huge PC gaming market is today. This case probably made them realize their mistake. At least to an extent. Steam just recently broke the 10 million users online record. It's time to face the facts. PC gaming is bigger than console gaming and it's constantly growing. Now there are refunds on Steam that will make it an even more attractive option. Then we have SteamOS and Steam Machines in the future to make thing even simpler for those who don't wish to bother, and Windows 10 with Dx12 etc. I doubt that Steam machines will be revolutionary, but they might force the developers to use one of the lower spec Steam machines as a template for system requirements for the future games. We are entering the true golden age of PC gaming, and the publishers will have to take note of that. There's a lot of money to be made if you treat all of your customers will equal amount of respect.
 

Ralancian

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Fair play to them pulling it, this clearly a PR nightmare and there appear to be little consistency it what gets it to work. People technically better computers than me or similar specs are having issues yet I've played for 8+ hours with barely any issues.

Just hope they can resolve this quickly with a decent patch but the question is what's majorly causing the problems. As rocksteady have clearly got this working on Xbone and PS4 hardware without major issues by most accounts I doubt this will take forever.
 

Randomvirus

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JUMBO PALACE said:
I'll echo what I said in another thread.


I've seen a number of people claiming that this is just what the PC community needed; a lemon on such a large scale to showcase the new Steam refund policy and that developers need to get their shit together for PC ports.
There's a Nolan Batman joke in this.

It isn't the game we deserve. It's the game we needed.

(also sure other people have made the joke tho lol, without even looking, cause i can't be that creative.)
 

laggyteabag

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Neat. After all of this time complaining and complaining about games being released in a sorry state, we, as customers, can finally do something about it. Personally, I am having a fairly decent time with Arkham Knight, only experiencing frame drops during Batmobile sequences, but nowhere near bad enough for me to consider a refund. That being said, though, with a big enough game like Arkham Knight effectively being a flop on PC because of refunds, I am certainly scared that developers will be reluctant to make a PC port.
 

Ralancian

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Pinky said:
Maybe time to just delay the PC releases a bit ...
Complicated issue I'm willing to place a high bet there bunch of p***ed off engineers who have had to release something without proper testing or a half-finished product. Sadly that's the life of most software guys and there won't be a rats arsed thing they can do about it.

The issue though is it's quite clear the XBO and PS4 releases were ready whilst the PC version whilst ported has clearly not been through proper optimisation and tested with many different setups. Now do you hope that it's relatively playable and fix optimisation as time goes by through patching but ride the wave of knowing your actual game is pretty damn awesome and sheer hype of initial release. Or do you release it at a later date with that optimisation but know you'll probably take a substantial hit overall sales?

Bear also in mind that the game has been released End-of-quarter lots of people performances are sadly judged on raw sales not on the quality of the product. Somewhere there's an accountant and someone to bother about meaningless metrics screwing this up almost guaranteed.

Not saying they didn't screw up here just it's not as simple as saying delay the release. They'd have negative publicity delaying the PC version of the game after the original delays, not to mention Origins was essentially licensed out to fill up the time as this game was taking so long. So yeah not a clear cut decision to make they clearly picked the wrong one I'll place a high bet some guys were saying it wasn't ready and that wasn't getting reported up with the correct information.




As an example from my own job in January we knew we were at least 3 months behind to a March finish date for some core work (the project was severely understaffed last year). We said at the time an continually for the next 3 months that we'll never make a March deadline. When it came to mid-March it was suddenly a shock to our management that we didn't make the date and were not even close. 3 months later were close to where they wanted us back then.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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so what was the whole PC Master Race about again? Because it seems to me that the ideology of it is being demonstrated by WB here with the idea of "eh, we can just patch it later or the modders will fix it for us" which is a toxic stench that has permeated gaming as a whole. Once again we have a lack of discipline brought on by the idea that they can just fix it later and gamers will tolerate it when in fact anyone with a brain would either A) wait it out or B) just buy a different game. A lot of people keep hyping the new generation as some potential golden age, but considering how nobody was prepared for last gen and how NONE of the problems of it were solved as well as nothing stabilizing before 3rd parties essentially forced MS and Sony to start this one, it's pretty clear that all of the issues we had last gen are going to pop up again unless the industry grows up and starts managing itself better.
 

subskipper

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I worry shit like this might give publishers the idea that PC just isn't worth the hassle. Dropping the PC as a platform completely to mitigate the cost of porting from consoles and just focus on the segment that is less of a hassle. One possible downside of the new refund system (which I love btw!).
 

Asuterisuku

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Everyone's thinking it, so I'm just going to say it.

This game should never have been outsourced. Rockstead have already proven themselves as competent on the PC platform between their rock-solid releases of Arkham Asylum and City. Furthermore, they've shown that they have too much respect for their source material to treat the game itself with any less respect. We may have seen the game a little later. Frankly, I would have been alright with that.

At least then, it would have worked.
 

NickBrahz

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Great, now if only they would do the same treatment for Lego Jurassic Park and fix that game that has game breaking bugs and crashing.