Bruce Wayne does pretty well for himself in the video game world, with eleven authorized Batman games released in the last six years. Of those eleven, six of them have been in the Batman: Arkham series. Arkham Asylum, the first installation in the series, holds the Guinness World Record for “Most critically acclaimed superhero videogame.” So, you would think that the developer, Rocksteady Studios, would have it down to a science at this point. Yet fans are very unhappy with yesterday’s PC release of Batman: Arkham Knight due to problems with the audio, frame rate stuttering, and more glitches. The publisher, Warner Bros., suggestion? Turn your settings down.
The graphics card companies AMD and Nvidia have released patches in the hours since the release, hoping to help solve the problem, some retailers have offered a refund if the next patch doesn’t fix the issues, and somewhat reassuring statements have been made by both Rocksteady and Warner Bros. The most major development in all of this is that WB has suggested that players turn their settings down until a more substantial patch can be made. And yet.
I know that the development process of a game is complex and highly nuanced. I know that mistakes happen. But AMD and Nvidia are major video card companies. How did this escape the testers in Quality Control? The release of this fourth major addition to the series was highly anticipated and the players’ disappointment at being unable to enjoy it is very understandable.
When I am paying $59.99 USD, before tax, for a game I want it to be as pretty, if not more, than the console version for the same price. In fact, a great many gamers decide to play games on PC rather than consoles so that they can have the best-looking experience possible. They upgrade their machines with better (possibly AMD or Nvidia) graphics card, buy the newest processors, add a stick of ram, do a bunch of computer magic so that they can play these games on high-resolution settings. Rocksteady knows that, but somehow came to the ring unprepared on this, their third major fight.
If you’re one of the poor souls that is stuck in glitch hell, here are the recommended settings for playing your game:
Minimum Hardware Specs (or equivalent)
- Resolution: 1280×720
- V-Sync: Off
- Anti-Aliasing: Off
- Texture Resolution: Low
- Shadow Quality: Low
- Level of Detail: Low
- Interactive Smoke/Fog: Off
- Interactive Paper Debris: Off
- Enhanced Rain: Off
- Enhanced Light Shafts: Off
Expected: 30fps (capped)
SPOILERS BELOW. CONTENT WARNING.
And all of this to play a game that’s apparently incredibly violent toward women. Yes, I’m talking about Barbara Gordon being shot down in order to become Oracle. DC Women Kicking Ass shared her thoughts about the situation here. The most upsetting scene in which Batman hallucinates (under Scarecrow’s gas) that Oracle shoots herself in the head while tied to her wheelchair. The audience does not see her pull the trigger, but they see her holding the gun to her head and her limp body afterward.
So while I’m sure the too little too late patch will fix the bugs sooner rather than later, players still must watch a young woman shot, then robbed of her agency, used as a pawn, and then kill herself. All for the sake of “punishing” a (Bat)man.