What is going on with the shutdown on PC sales? What are Challenge Maps vs. AR Challenges? The answers to some of the biggest questions surrounding this month's rockiest AAA release.

Batman: Arkham Knight Guide – Preorder DLC, Challenge Maps, and Other Game Launch FAQs

What is going on with the shutdown on PC sales? What are Challenge Maps vs. AR Challenges? The answers to some of the biggest questions surrounding this month's rockiest AAA release.

Launch week has been interesting for Batman: Arkham Knight. Thanks to a slew of terrible performance issues, a subpar options menu, and impossibly low graphics (but probably moreso because thousands of players are rightfully complaining, returning their games, and leaving terrible reviews), the game has been pulled from the Steam store temporarily with a tentative re-release date of Fall 2015.

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Even popular reseller Green Man Gaming has stated they will issue refunds on Arkham Knight purchases that have already been used – a customer service practice heretofore almost completely unheard of.

(Note: If your question is not covered in this article, check to see if it has been answered here: Getting Started and Fixing Performance Issues in Batman: Arkham Knight)

When will I be able to play Arkham Knight on PC?

For those of you who pre-purchased or bought it on launch day and haven’t rushed out to refund your games, you will still be able to play the version you have now, even though the game has been taken off the Steam store page. It will be upgraded to the finished product once it is complete in Fall 2015.

This may also coincide with the SteamOS, Linux, and Mac releases of Arkham Knight, and we can hope there will be a nod at Windows 10’s rumored support for DX12 (although I personally am not convinced this last one would be a priority).

Why am I having performance issues even after shutting down Arkham Knight?

Memory leak! Some users experience the game crashing when they’re trying to exit, but other have reported that even though they’ve exited to Desktop, Steam will report that they are still in-game.

Check your Task Manager to see whether BatmanAK.exe is still running (and using up 2 GBs of memory). End Task using Task Manager to fix this. (You may have to do this every time you shut down Arkham Knight.)

What happened to Challenge Maps?

Hugely popular in the previous Batman: Arkham games, the Challenge Maps are noticeably missing in this release. Fans who were collecting alternate character skins for Nightwing have been asking: what is really the point of them, if he’s barely in the main game anyway?

A Change.org petition has already been started, with supporters pleading to bring the Challenge Maps back, although I’m dubious as to whether or not this will influence any real change to the original base game. 

It appears that in Arkham Knight, Challenge Maps have been cut out of the base game and added into the Season Pass in order to help justify the $40 price tag (“Crimefighter Challenge Maps”), and to allow more time to develop them.

While the game does come with a number of AR challenges similar to the original Challenge Maps (e.g. combat, predator, Batmobile), they don’t compare to the ones from Arkham City. And anything you can do in Challenge Mode, you will have already done in Story Mode already. 

Why doesn’t my game look like the trailers/GameWorks promo?

There are a number of reasons, but the first may be some rather misleading advertising. On the NVIDIA side of the coin, aspects available on the console versions – such as ambient occlusion and rain textures gathering on Batman in open-world – are noticeably absent in-game, though they appeared in the NVIDIA GameWorks promo. 

The gameplay footage in the promo was also captured at a much higher framerate than the launch release of the game, which is capped at 30 FPS. You can increase the FPS cap by modifying the .ini file (see this article), but this causes the game to be very unstable, and may load incredibly low-quality textures.

If you are running an AMD system, you should also take a look at the minimum requirements for this game. On Jun 22 (yes, just a day before the Jun 23 release), the original graphics card minimum of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2 GB Memory Minimum) was updated to include the AMD side of the coin – Radeon HD 7950 with a minimum of 3 GB.

This leaves those of us with slightly older/lower-end cards in a lurch. But even on high-end rigs that outstrip the minimum specifications and the PS4 and Xbox One console hardware specs, players have been experiencing dips into single-digit framerates, stuttering, and bad quality textures.

What kind of preorder bonuses do I get?

Some of the issues with the Harley Quinn DLC were covered in this article, since there were a number of switcharoos happening with NVIDIA codes/some third party reseller codes for this DLC. 

Here is a quick rundown on all of them:

  • Harley Quinn DLC – available on all preorders, but not with NVIDIA codes
  • Red Hood DLC – GameStop exclusive
  • A number of retailer-specific exclusive Batmobile skins 
  • Dark Knight Returns & Batman Begins costume skins – Steam exclusive
  • The Wayne Tech Booster Pack – TESCO and Best Buy exclusives, includes 4 additional in-game movements; Explosive Gel Takedown, Aerial Juggle, Batarangs While Gilding, and Weapon Upgrade
  • Prototype Batmobile – WalMart exclusive (this differs from a skin in that it has several exclusive gameplay features)

(Note: The two main DLC installments that people are concerned about, Harley Quinn and Red Hood, are not very big (~15-30 minutes of gameplay) and are likely timed exclusive that will be released later at additional cost.)

If you have any other questions that are not answered in this article, or in Getting Started and Fixing Performance Issues in Batman: Arkham Knightplease feel free to leave me a comment and I will see what I can do to help!

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Stephanie Tang
Avid PC gamer, long-time console lover. I enjoy shooting things in the face and am dangerously addicted to pretty. I'm also a cat.