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 today something weird went on with the game's Steam page (again!), with reviews for the game getting flagged as "pre-release," despite having been written this week.
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.
What's weird is the inconsistency of how the tag was applied. There were other reviews featured on the page, written recently, that didn't have the pre-release branding. Did it have to do with what version they're playing? When they bought it? Is Warner Bros. flagging individual reviews as pre-release?
Valve did not respond to my request for comment, though Warner Bros. told us it was "a mistake and it is in the process of being fixed." And it looks like it has been!
The cynical among us might suspect Warner Bros. was 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 got the tag.