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Batman: Arkham Knight PC Problems Were Known "For Months"

Alleged testers claim difficult console development contributed to compromised PC version.


Batman: Arkham Knight publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment had known about the issues plaguing the PC version for "months," but decided to focus on the console versions, according to purported inside sources.

Speaking to Kotaku under the conditions of anonymity, sources said to be familiar with the game's development said the publisher knew about the various bugs, glitches, framerate, and resolution issues for months in advance of its release.

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"I will say that it's pretty rich for WB to act like they had no idea the game was in such a horrible state," said one unnamed quality assurance tester, which Kotaku claimed had worked on the game.

"It's been like this for months and all the problems we see now were the exact same, unchanged, almost a year ago."

The identity of these inside sources, and their claims, could not be verified at the time of going to press. GameSpot has contacted Warner Bros for comment and clarification.

Shortly after release, the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight was revealed to be carrying noticeable issues ranging from sporadic freezes and frame-rate stutters to audio glitches and texture degradation.

According to the sources, Warner Bros. chose to ship the game because they believed it was good enough. Additionally, the source confirmed that principal developer Rocksteady Studios did not work on the PC version; porting duties was outsourced to Iron Galaxy Studios.

Difficulties developing on new consoles were cited as a major factor in shifting priorities away from the PC version. According to the source, Rocksteady found getting Batman: Arkham Knight to work on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One "impossible for months," which is why "the game got delayed so many times."

"[Rocksteady was] totally unprepared for how hard it was on next-gen consoles," the source stated.

Another source, said to be close to the game's production, said QA teams were told the consoles were "not nearly as easy to work with as [Rocksteady] expected," and were told to focus on finding console bugs. Of the roughly 100 people on the QA team, ten percent were focused on the PC version. This figure, along with all statements from the purported sources, could not be verified at the time of going to press.

Following the high-profile backlash from PC players--and Warner's decision to remove the game from Steam and UK store shelves--Rocksteady released a statement saying it was now working on remedying the port's problems.

Another source told Kotaku that Warner's internal QA team focused on bug-checking at 720p only, which might possibly explain the significant decline in performance at higher resolutions.

Other development issues highlighted by sources were the sprawling nature of the game's world and its many missions, which made testing the game a considerable task.

"We had some testers bugging more than 100 bugs per day [on console]. Devs would fix what they could but they were juggling that with actually finishing the game so they were insanely slow."

Additionally, Rocksteady didn't want the game's story details to leak, which is why PC testing companies were not used, as is the case in many other multi-platform development projects.

A statement laying out plans for ongoing support was also detailed, and the following statement was issued: "The work is significant and while we are making good progress on improving performance, it will take some time to ensure that we get the right fixes in place."

For the ful list of claims from the purported insiders, visit Kotaku.

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