Batman: Arkham Knight on PC pulled from Steam (and a possible fix?)

Apparently, a bunch of folks are having a terrible time getting Batman: Arkham Knight for PC to work. It’s glitchy and unplayable to most. As a result, WB had it pulled from Steam until they could fix the bugs. They are also offering refunds.

Dear Batman: Arkham Knight PC owners,

We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards. We greatly value our customers and know that while there are a significant amount of players who are enjoying the game on PC, we want to do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall.

Thank you to those players who have already given valuable feedback. We are continuously monitoring all threads posted in the Official Batman: Arkham Knight Community and Steam forums, as well as any issues logged with our Customer Support (http://support.wbgames.com/). If you purchased your copy of the game and are not satisfied with your experience, then we ask for your patience while these issues are resolved. If desired, you can request a refund at https://help.steampowered.com (Steam refund policies can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds) or the retail location where you purchased the game.

The Batman: Arkham fans have continually supported the franchise to its current height of success, and we want to thank you for your patience as we work to deliver an updated version of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC so you can all enjoy the final chapter of the Batman: Arkham series as it was meant to be played.

I got the game for free with the laptop I just bought that has an Nvidia card that happened to be running a promotion. I encountered a bit of glitchiness when I first launched it, but I overcame that fairly quickly. Judging by reports, what I encountered may not be the only real issue at hand. Only a fraction of people seem to be complaining about what I was seeing. But what I did was fairly easy and fairly repeatable, from what I can tell.

The specific behaviour I saw was that when you launch the game, it would immediately minimize itself. Once minimized, if you click on the icon to bring it back up to the foreground, it would hiccup repeatedly to a black screen, exactly like this:

The solution for me was to use a gamepad, launch the game, hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to get to the security options in Windows. Choose Task Manager. You may have to do this more than once to get it to bring Task Manager to focus.

As soon as I managed that feat, suddenly the game in the background was running smoothly, with the Windows task bar and Task Manager in the foreground! Every time I clicked back onto the Batman window, though, it would revert to its buggy behaviour. So, I moved Task Manager out of the way, picked up my gamepad, and went into the graphics options, and tried selecting my current screen resolution (1920×1080), Windowed Borderless mode. Then I dared to click back into Batman — and it worked! It also works for subsequent launches. The issue appears to be with the fullscreen, and possibly with some bad window management as a result. It might be possible to induce this specific display mode through the command line launch options or some INI file, but I haven’t gone digging.

Seriously, if this turns out to fix all your problems, then it’s a shoddy implementation of windowing on Rocksteady’s third party PC porter’s fault, which should have been easily caught and (hopefully) easily fixed in QA — you DID do QA, right? It also only appears to happen with certain Nvidia cards, from all reports I’ve seen. And I’ve seen a number that report that over time, the game will eventually start crashing. I’ve only played through the first Batmobile AR mission, so I can’t tell if that’ll happen, but long-running games eventually crashing sounds a lot like memory management issues to me — some garbage collection isn’t being done, or something.

I still can’t get over the fact that this is a Batman game where you shoot tanks with missiles though. And where the first car you have to fire on actually does have a person in it, you make it flip, and it’s only through the grace of plot that the dude — a banged up wreck after being in a horrific missile-induced rollover — climbs out for you to interrogate.

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Batman: Arkham Knight on PC pulled from Steam (and a possible fix?)

5 thoughts on “Batman: Arkham Knight on PC pulled from Steam (and a possible fix?)

  1. 1

    I was watching my brother play it the other day. Batman certainly seems to be flexible with his whole “not killing” thing. Permanently disabling and/or maiming beyond all repair and recognition seems to be within his acceptable parameters, and the number of people I saw shot in the head by tank mounted “concussive” rounds, casually tossed off of buildings, run over by an apparently electrified Batmobile, or rammed head first into active fuse boxes… there’s no way they could have survived that, right?

  2. 2

    The behavior you (Jason) observed (immediate minimization with issues of various kinds – video glitching or CTD – when attempting to move focus back to the game) could be a more general problem that I’ve seen before with games on Steam. I had a very similar issue with… I think it was Skyrim? The problem was that the DirectX binaries packaged with the game failed to install properly through Steam’s installer script, so the game didn’t have all of the specific versions of the libraries it needed. Reinstalling – not running Steam’s hash-check but actually removing local files and then reinstalling (you can back up the local assets first to avoid re-downloading everything, though if the initial problem is caused by a corrupted download, that could be an issue; do a hash validation after importing the backup and before attempting to launch the game) fixed it in that instance.

  3. 3

    @Me #2: Also, if it is a similar issue, reinstalling one or either of the latest DirectX binaries or the particular versions that are distributed with the game (IIRC, the file names are visible in the Steam installer dialog box and should indicate the specific version) might solve the problem without re-downloading any of the game assets.

  4. 4

    That’s a terrible sentence, and not what was happening inside my head; it should read, “Also, if it is a similar issue, reinstalling either the latest DirectX binaries or the particular versions…”

  5. 5

    I’m getting more into Linux now but there is a little Windows trick that might speed things up: You can get to the Task Manager in one step with (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). It saves having to get to it through (Alt + Shift + Del).

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