You’re probably tired of hearing about problems with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC, and, believe me, I’m tired of writing about it! But there’s something weird going on with the game’s Steam page (again!), with reviews for the game getting flagged as “pre-release,” despite having been written this week.
Update: 1:30pm: Warner Bros. told us it’s “a mistake and it is in the process of being fixed.” Good to hear!
Arkham Knight’s history on PC is complicated. When the game was originally released back in June, performance was atrocious on all but the most high-end of machines. We aren’t talking “oh, PC players just have super high standards,” either—it ran like garbage. As I reported earlier this year, Warner Bros. knew that version of the game had problems when it shipped. The complaints were so loud (and damning) that Warner Bros. took the unprecedented step of stopping sales for the PC version and offering refunds for anyone who bought the game.
In late October, with a few patches under its belt, Arkham Knight was sold on PC again. There were definite improvements to frame rate and other issues, but it’s hardly a perfect port. However, the Steam page took the strange step of flagging reviews for the game in its original form as a “pre-release” review.
Arkham Knight, however, was not a game released in an Early Access format!
This was quietly changed the next day, and while Arkham Knight on PC still ran pretty crappy, at least the review situation didn’t seem so shady anymore.
That is, until it happened again! Check the reviews for yourself right now:
What’s weird is the inconsistency of how the tag is applied. There are other reviews featured on the page, written recently, that don’t have the pre-release branding. Does it have to do with what version they’re playing? When they bought it? Is Warner Bros. flagging individual reviews as pre-release?
Warner Bros. and Valve have not responded to my request for comment yet. It’s possible this is a quirk on Valve’s side, a side effect of a gaming being pulled from sale temporarily, but there’s no way to know without either side saying.
The cynical among us might suspect Warner Bros. is trying to suppress negative reviews of Arkham Knight by saying they’re pre-release, in the hopes a naive customer might overlook them, but even positive reviews are getting the tag.
Like I said, I’ve contacted those involved. If they say anything, I’ll let you know.
You can reach the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.