It’s fair to say that the hype around Gotham Knights has been…inconsistent. Some praise it for what it’s trying to do by bringing the Bat-kids on for their own foray. As someone who is a bit of a fan of Red Hood, telling me that he’s going to be in his own game with Batgirl, Robin, and Nightwing is enough to get my attention. Unfortunately, as more info comes out about it the less hyped I am about it. And given the recent bit of news, I don’t think I’m alone in that. For the unaware, it’s been confirmed that on the current gen consoles that Gotham Knights will run at a locked 30fps. This comes after the cancellation of the PS4/Xbox One versions so they could focus more on the current gen versions.
For context, this affects only the console versions. The PC version will be fine, presumably. Though, that doesn’t mean much for console players. Another thing to note is that this game is releasing for $70. That said, it isn’t unreasonable for people to expect their money to be worth it. The sales pitch for the current gen was to have true 4k 60fps gaming. That was the point. While it hasn’t always reached that mark, they’ve at least had the compromise of the performance mode and graphics mode. The ability to choose what mattered more to you was a way to sort of hit that compromise with gamers, and it was fine. I’ll take 60 fps any day but others may choose to have the graphical bells and whistles. What’s important was that there was a choice. Here, with Gotham Knights, there is no choice. You get a pretty game with 30fps for $70.
Now, the devs did try to explain themselves by saying that this was to maintain a seamless co-op experience. In a Discord post by Gotham Knights executive producer Fleur “Flaoua” Marty she says:
This comes after an announcement of Heroic Assault Mode for Gotham Knights coming November 29th. It’s a 4 player co-op mode for the game since it only comes with single or 2 player.
To see their vision, I did watch some footage of the latest build of Gotham Knights from the preview 11 days ago from the time of writing. It looks fine. I can’t say it’s this gorgeous game that looks breathtaking, but others may disagree. But does this game look so good that it was worth losing 60fps? I don’t think so. Why they couldn’t pull it off is anyone’s guess. Could be crunch, could be a lack of experience, or this was their vision. It’s hard to pinpoint a real reason, But here’s what I do know: 30 fps for an action game isn’t going to cut it. Not anymore. Not when the technology to make these games is getting better and better and we, as consumers, are asked to pay the premium for those advancements.
I’m not so insensitive that I can’t think of the developers in this situation. They’re working hard and doing their best. But, when their executives are asking for more money, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask for that price hike to be worth it. We don’t even know if this game will have microtransactions or not. It’s Warner Bros. so it’s hard to say. What I don’t want is for this to become a trend where developers keep giving up “better looking” games at the cost of performance. I’ve always been of the opinion that making a game play better is always more important than making a game look better. Photorealism doesn’t make a good game. Good gameplay does. And for a game like this, 60 fps is definitely important. I’d excuse it if it were some turn based RPG or something that didn’t need you to have good reflexes. But an action game?? Not a great look.
Let’s hope this is an outlier in the current gen because these studios and publishers will only find ways to ask for more money while cutting corners. All we’re owed is products that reflect the asking price. A current gen action game running at 30fps is not a good reflection. We were getting past that on the back half of the last gen. I foresee a performance patch in this game’s future, or that’s wishful thinking. Either way, this game already had a rocky future ahead. Not having something this essential only makes it worse. I was fine with performance mode over graphics mode, and I know I’m not the only one. Time will only tell how much the gaming public cares about it.
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