Report: Warner Bros Knowingly Shipped ‘Good Enough’ Batman: Arkham Knight With Show-Stopping Bugs
It's unfortunate, but it's not an uncommon sight nowadays to see a game released that secretly packs in the Riddled With Bugs DLC pack. At the same time, it's rare to see the number of bugs become so overwhelming, that the game's publisher is forced to pull the game from shelves. Enter WB Games, and Batman: Arkham Knight.
Since WB decided to yank the game from shelves, the company has promised to expedite work on patching it up. Post-launch, it was discovered that WB Games had outsourced the PC version of the game to a small development studio, one that just couldn't get everything it needed to get done in a timely fashion. Thus, the game was launched a buggy mess. Not long after, the company talked about all of the bugs it was going to be tackling, and promised to release many smaller patches to fix things as we go along.
Despite the size of the publisher, some might find it easy to feel a bit of sympathetic for WB's mistake and the cleaning up it has to do. It's especially easy to feel bad for those those innocent developers who needed literally twice the help to prevent this.
Well, if reports coming out of Kotatku are true, we might want to back up that ball of sympathy we've been giving WB. According to two different sources, it seems WB could have known very well just how much more work the PC port of the game could have used, but deemed it "good enough". One source has said that, "It’s been like this for months and all the problems we see now were the exact same, unchanged, almost a year ago."
If you're wondering how even a team of a dozen or so developers couldn't squash more bugs than it had, here's something that helps put the problem into perspective: "Testing a game this big is very different from linear or smaller games. You usually get a mission, chapter or area of the map, or pick one yourself, and just go to town. You bug everything you see. We had some testers bugging more than 100 bugs per day. Devs would fix what they could but they were juggling that with actually finishing the game so they were insanely slow. Only when the game was done and no new features had to be built could they actually buckle down. Once that happens they also restrict what you can or can’t bug, to ensure that they can catch up."
On the performance front, because the developers were so focused on 720p resolution, it seems they were completely unaware of problems that existed with running the game at higher resolutions. 720p in PC gaming terms is paltry -- it's less than half the pixels of 1080p -- so such testing would have proven very useful.
Making matters a bit worse, though, is the fact that Rocksteady was so intent on keeping the game's story a secret until launch, traditional PC testing firms were not used -- thus, the game wasn't even tested on a variety of different hardware. This apparently isn't too uncommon for games with huge stories, but it does highlight the problems that can arise from forgoing such testing.
Many of the recent Batman games on the PC have been riddled with bugs at launch, but nothing to this extent. Will this current debacle finally prove to be the "last straw", and perhaps even make other developers think twice about releasing a game they know shouldn't be. Let's hope so.