It takes a certain kind of stupidity to wander into piranha infested waters. In a statement released wednesday, WB Games stated that the much maligned PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight isn’t designed to exceed 1080 resolution, or 30 FPS, and that anyone whose game is running worse than a leprotic hamster should lower their graphical settings and resolution. This wasn’t so much wandering into the water as it was taking a flying leap with both middle fingers extended, somehow convinced that the cow’s blood slathered over yourself constitutes an effective piranha repellent.
The resulting backlash was so predictably severe that just hours later WB pulled the game from Steam until it gets fixed. Ported over to the PC by a small company known as Iron Galaxy, Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight has been plagued with performance issues since its initial release earlier this week. Players immediately took to the Internet with reports of slow performance, downgraded graphics, frequent stuttering and crashes, virtually non-existent support for AMD cards, as well as limited graphical options and an embarrassing FPS cap.
PC players are well known for their dedication to pushing their systems with the latest technology, constantly looking to squeeze out one more frame or add another pixel. It’s no wonder that WB’s statement that the high recommended specs were designed to achieve mere parity with console versions was such a bold slap to everything the PC community celebrates. It indicated such a mind boggling ignorance of the audience, such lack of consideration or dedication to the product, that one is left dumbstruck—especially when contrasted with the latest community darlings and monstrous successes that are GTAV and Witcher 3, both of which took special care to listen to the players.
Players retaliated with their own bold response, making the game the first major target of Steam’s brand new refund policies, sending it back en masse. And while WB Games has never been a particularly player focused publisher—just one look at Arkham Knight’s miserable quagmire of pre-order, console, and retailer exclusive nuggets of DLC is enough evidence of that—even they were forced buckle under the weight, pulling the game from Steam and exiling it to the batcave for retooling.
This is a clear sign from the gaming community that such thoughtless, bug-ridden ports will not be tolerated, and publishers are starting to see it affect the bottom line. Whether WB takes this lesson to heart and releases a truly worthy finale to the Arkham franchise, or just slaps on a few bandaids before walking away … Well, that remains to be seen. Either way, what is certain is that a stance has been firmly taken by consumers who now have proof that they can make publishers listen. Even while broken, Batman has taught a hard lesson to the entire industry.
What do you think will become of Arkham Knight? Will WB patch the game into a respectable state? Share you comments below!