The Dark Knight might have finally met his match: video game fans angry about a shoddy PC version of his latest adventure. In a not at all uncommon move, Warner Bros. did not provide pre-release PC copies of Batman: Arkham Knight to reviewers, and as soon as the game went live Tuesday on digital services like Steam, players and critics flooded the internet with complaints about its myriad technical issues. After a day of apologies and promises, Warner Bros. has decided to shut it all down and pull the PC version of Arkham Knight from stores.
The PlayStation and Xbox versions are unaffected, but as of now, the PC digital edition is no longer available to purchase from Steam, Amazon, GameStop, or Best Buy. The move is starting to take effect at physical stores, too. As Eurogamer reports, Warner has ordered UK-based retailer GAME stores not to sell any stock its stores currently hold. And for those disgruntled customers who already bought the game from Steam and are stuck fighting its rogues’ gallery of deficiencies, Warner is politely pointing them toward the service’s recently launched refund system, which we imagine is getting heavy use right about now.
So what’s wrong with the PC version of Arkham Knight? According to Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry detectives, some of the console versions’ stunning visual accoutrements are missing on PC—touches like having rain show up on Batman and his surroundings instead of having Gotham’s perennial precipitation roll off everything. But much of the kerfuffle boils down to the game’s frame rate, which, put simply, determines how smooth the game looks in action. Even with a powerful computer running Arkham Knight at its lowest settings, players are noting unstable frame rates that have the game bouncing between “serviceable” and “slideshow” at the drop of a hat. It’s especially temperamental, according to reports, whenever Batman decides to take a ride in the Batmobile, which is probably something he does a lot.
Warner Bros., who just went through a similar mess with the PC edition of Mortal Kombat X a few months ago, has not presented any sort of timetable for fixing these issues and returning Arkham Knight to digital and physical shelves. Rocksteady, the game’s primary developer, says it is “working closely” with its external PC development partner to get everything patched up. (According to the game’s credits, the PC specialists are a small team from Iron Galaxy, a studio well versed in porting other companies’ games between systems.) Even Nvidia, a major manufacturer of PC graphics cards whose visual effects technology is featured in Arkham Knight, is lending a hand to get the caped crusader back in fighting shape.