Unless you have been living in the Stone Age since 23rd June, you have more than likely heard about the botched release of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. Given the negative publicity surrounding the poor condition in which the game was released it has been removed from steam until the issues have been resolved. To be honest when the reports started coming in regarding the issues PC users were facing, I wasn’t surprised. My suspicions piqued when the “Batmobile edition”, a version that included a physical replica of the iconic Batmobile, was removed from sale a week prior to release. It was announced that this was due to unforeseen circumstances that greatly compromised the quality of this extremely limited edition.
Warner Brothers have now released a statement regarding their actions so far, and intentions to resolve the issues faced by PC users via their official forums on June 10th through community admin Yorick,
“We have heard the PC gaming community outcry of disappointment for the initial launch of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. Again, we would like to apologize to you, the fans, and let you know that we are taking full responsibility for releasing a product that did not meet our quality standards, which is why we suspended sales of the game as soon as we understood the issues. The Batman: Arkham Knight fans are extremely important to us and our highest priority is ensuring PC users get the full, high-quality experience of Batman: Arkham Knight they deserve. Rocksteady Studios has created an amazing game with Batman: Arkham Knight and they are now working closely with us and our partners to ensure that we offer the same experience on PC. Once the PC version is fully updated, Rocksteady and all parties will agree that it meets a superior quality bar and we will then make the game available for sale.”
It is good to see that the community have been listened to and that the game has been removed from steam as a way to control damage limitation. Although it raises a few questions in itself, as stated they are taking responsibility for releasing a game that didn’t meet their quality standards. Why was this not realised sooner? Was there no playtesting to ensure that the game functioned as it should? They go on to show that they are working to resolve the main issues that PC users who have already purchased the game are facing.
“Addressing the PC performance issues is still our top priority and at this time, we believe we have identified a number of fixes for the larger issues that were affecting PC players at launch. These fixes are currently being implemented into the game and once we have been able to do some initial testing, we’ll have a better idea on the status of our progress. We’ll provide an update on how things are developing next week.”
I am under the firm impression that had proper testing been completed before the game was released then this whole situation could have been avoided. As a community, gamers can be savage although I honestly think if Warner Brothers had owned up and admitted to having an incomplete and buggy game. Warner Brothers should have gone ahead with the console release and delayed the PC release till these issues were resolved and it would have saved a lot of negative press. Yes, gamers would have still been in outrage at having their launch delayed but I believe that a delayed launch is better than a buggy launch.
We can also assure you that because of this latest launch, we are modifying the internal review process for all of our games. For those who are waiting for the updated version of the game on PC, please know that we are working on this every day. For the players who are continuing to play Batman: Arkham Knight on PC, fixes are continually being made to the game as we await the final updated version.
I suppose a silver lining to the whole debacle is that Warner Brothers have modified their internal reviewing processes for all of their game releases moving forward. If implemented correctly this should avoid any future disappointment for their PC fan base. By testing on a wide range of test specs over a longer period of time, should allow them to have a better understanding their games will play in the real world.
“Our continued focus on getting the right PC fixes in place for the main game has had an impact on the development of all DLC content for the PC version of the game. This means that the Batman: Arkham Knight – Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC will not be available on July 14th for those who are currently playing the PC version of the game. We apologize for the delay and only want to make sure that any content that we offer is up to the standards that PC players expect.
Thanks again for your continued patience, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment”
Throughout the entire post, they seem apologetic about the whole situation, stressing that fixing their mistakes is their highest priority at present. As long as they follow through with what they have promised and resolve the underlying issues, it should turn what was a shaky release into a possible contender for one of the top games of the year. Unfortunately, the work involved to resolve the outstanding errors with the game will delay the scheduled DLC that was scheduled to be released on 14th July.
As of late we have seen similar issues in the gaming industry, namely from Ubisoft, who have announced multiple changes to their policies in relation to two different issues with titles they have released. In regards to the release of assassin’s creed: unity which was faced with a number of graphical glitches they announced in November 2014 that they will adapt their services and communications with consumers, both by changing the way they work with reviewers and by offering customers open betas or other early access to some games. More recently on 6th July they accounted that They wanted to make sure the games are playable and running on the target machines. They went on to say that when they show something that’s playable that they make sure gamers can immediately see exactly what it is. This is to avoid disappointment in the graphical downgrades that happened alongside the watchdogs release.
Regardless of the reasons behind why the above mentioned games were released in the state that they were, it is good to see that the developers are taking a step in the right direction and are willing to make the necessary changes to their policies to ensure that it shouldn’t happen in future. With that sitting as my final thoughts, hopefully other developers have taken note of the mistakes that have already been made. That they use these as examples and make the decision to delay the release, and to finish the testing requires so that rather than force out a buggy unplayable product, they have a completed product that launches smoothly like any AAA title should.