Batman: Arkham Knight hits technical problems at launch, PC sales suspended
UPDATE: Due to the ongoing technical problems, WB Games is temporarily suspending sales of Arkham Knight's PC version.
The highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight hit game libraries all over the world this last Tuesday, and like its predecessor Arkham Origins, it's already been rocked by a landslide of issues on the PC port of the game, as well as a meaty 3.5GB day one patch that further delayed PS4 users access to a game that was already delayed early in development.
In retrospect it looks like the delay and launch-day patch was a good thing for console players. The extra time definitely made a difference for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game which are entirely playable, patches aside. The unfortunate casualty of course is that somehow in that extra development time the PC version was left in the dust, and as a result is now rocking several issues that already have Steam reviews ripping it apart. The dangerously useful Steam refund button is probably about to light on fire as users actively protest the sale of a seemingly unfinished product.
Dropping the Batmobile into low gear
PC users generally only have three requirements to consider a PC port well done. The first is that the game can at least run 60fps on medium settings on decent hardware, the second is that frame drops are few and far between, the third is that the game doesn't crash on a semi-regular basis.
Arkham Knight seems to have missed that memo, because our Caped Crusader's FPS is by default capped at 30, and during almost any sequence involving the Batmobile or gliding through the night using Batman's stylish cape frames can drop to a painstaking 10fps on some setups. Surprisingly the issues don't seem to be solely limited to either AMD, Nvidia, or to those who are using lower spec cards. Instead the problems are hitting users of all shapes and graphics cards, with some AMD users seeing a slightly larger dip to a torturous 3-5fps.
Users all around are also feeling the sting of irregular frame drops for seemingly no reason, making smooth gameplay and aiming of any kind practically impossible. Not to mention the boatload of frustration generated when stuttering makes you miss a critical counter or a desperate dodge resulting in your death. As a bit of whip cream on a Joker themed sundae Batman: Arkham Knight is also prone to frequent crashes during these fps drops; so be sure to save as often as you can.
In a strange twist of dramatic irony many users have also reported that doing basic troubleshooting on the game, i.e. validating Batman: Arkham Knight's game cache via Steam, can simply delete your entire install and download it from scratch. So unless you've got Google Fiber or equivalently fast internet be careful while troubleshooting.
Fixing the BatComputer
The above image has been making the rounds on Reddit and other sites. We're trying to determine the original creator.
It didn't take the internet long to find a way around the FPS cap, and it can be accessed by editing a setting in the BMSystemSettings.ini file. As with all ini tweaking though, be aware that strangeness and instability can result!
If you're interested in attempting to push the limits past that cap and you installed the game via Steam, simply jump to your Steamapps, navigate to the Common folder, and find the Batman: Arkham Knight folder. Then take a short jaunt to the BMGame folder, hit config, and then look for the BMSystemSettings.ini mentioned earlier.
The path will likely look something like this:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Batman Arkham Knight\BMGame\Config\BMSystemSettings.ini
Once you've found your file look for the setting called maxfps and simply change the value to whatever frame cap you're comfortable with, either 60 or 999999 if you think your rig can handle it.
Be aware that although users have managed to get around the cap, it was likely put in place as an attempt to work around other issues rather than solve them. Users running at 60fps have reported seeing a dramatic increase in crashes in a game that's already crashing like Bane without his regular dose of Venom. So until a patch hits the web it might be worth sticking to the admittedly choppy 30fps of our ancestors.
WHY BATMAN WHY?
We all knew that Batman: Arkham Origins had its fair share of issues at launch, but many assumed that after Warner Bros passed the bat signal back to the talented Rocksteady studios that the issues would be a thing of the past, and that the Bat would be on the road with a whole new set of wheels and a hopefully seamless launch.
Yet Rocksteady apparently made the same critical mistake that Warner Bros did, outsourcing the PC port to another smaller, less experienced studio. While the responsibility for PC stability ultimately rests with Rocksteady, the smaller developer in question, Iron Galaxy was also responsible for the PC port for Origins which was also plagued with some hefty game breaking launch issues.
To Rocksteady and Warner Bros' credit they've reacted quickly to the issue and released a formal apology as well as a promise to work with Iron Galaxy to resolve the problems as soon as possible.
If you're interested in the changes that Rocksteady has to offer, check out their official thread on the topic.