Criminal: Lego City Undercover PC is utterly broken

Yet again TT Games have released a game onto PC that isn’t nearly good enough. Lego City Undercover [official site] has launched in such a state that you can’t change the resolution from the main menu settings. The “Accept” button is entirely impossible to select, and the default is a teeny 1280×1024. And for goodness sakes, don’t Alt-Tab.

That’s the case for everyone playing, not just an unlucky few. However, the individual issues then start piling up.

This is nothing new for TT Games. PC releases of their Lego games have frequently been completely derisory, for many years not offering the most basic of options for the platform. Resolutions were locked in incredibly low, windowed modes were impossible, alt-tabbing crashed everything, and mouse support wasn’t even considered. Then in 2016 something changed, and we saw a couple of titles appear that seemed to know they weren’t being played on a Megadrive! Hurrah! Finally, TT had noticed that people paying for their games on PC didn’t deserve to be so rudely dismissed.

Actual in-game footage

Except oh, it’s all fallen apart again.

Every PC launch has issues, and no matter how much a developer/publisher does, there will always be some who face technical problems. That’s the nature of a platform as complex and multifarious as ours. When you’re the affected one, it’s easy to decry the game creators as monsters for taking your money, etc etc. But there are certain things you simply should not miss, like your game’s main menu not being able to make display changes.

For Nvidia users, like my handsome self, even the other method isn’t an option. It’s possible to change display settings once inside the game, but if you’re using an Nvidia card this will result an entirely black screen – or if you’re very lucky, a black screen with some of the HUD overlaid. Oh, at one point it went a bit blue! Progress! Alt-tabbing out of this saw my screen obscured by the immovable game, overlaying even the Task Manager window, meaning the only option was a very unwelcome full reboot.

And mouse controls are gone again, and it somehow remains the only game series on Earth that isn’t able to switch on the fly between keyboard and controller. Instead you have to use its ever-unfathomable controls screen. (Game for kids, everyone!)

It’s important to remember this is a four-year-old Wii U game. While it’ll have taken some doing to update it for non-double-screened devices, I think we can perhaps have expected better in nearly half a decade.

Oh, and even if it were all working fine, you’d still be forced to sit through an absolutely bewildering opening where before the game shows its main menu, you’re forced to look at some static faux-postcards while nothing loads in the background, making for an incredible 58 second unskippable opening. Just the tonic when you’re having to restart so frequently to try to get it working!

Warner Bros., owners of Traveller’s Tales, have a history of not providing pre-release PC review code, leaving us unable to warn you about issues like this before launch. But their approach finds new levels of “Huh?” when it comes to the response on Steam. In the game’s message boards the closest there is to any response from the devs is,

“You may know me from the LEGO Worlds forums, but the team behind LEGO City have asked me to pass on a message that we are aware of alt-tab functionality and windowed mode issues on LEGO City Undercover. We are working on fixing these asap.”

That’s quite the thing. It’s… I’m really lost for words. And no mention of the graphics and menu issues, even more strangely.

I’m going to do everything I can to speak to TT about this, who are peculiarly mute when it comes to the press. I would love to know how this keeps on happening with their games, and why PC so frequently gets such short shrift. I’m sure their games sell much better on console, but PC sales can’t be insignificant or surely they’d stop porting altogether? I really hope to find out.

From this site

33 Comments

  1. Haxton Fale says:

    About that overlaying the task manager, can you not see it at all, or can you at least have the preview from taskbar? If the latter, you can use ↑ and ↓ keys to navigate to the game, and then press Delete to kill it. Not the most pleasant process, but it lets you skip a full reboot. Helped me a lot with various misbehaving games.

    • John Walker says:

      On a second occasion I remembered I could Shift-click the task bar, choose Move, then drag it to my other monitor with the arrow keys.

      • oWn4g3 says:

        Windows button + arrow keys instantly puts the selected window on another screen. It comes in handy when dealing with the kind of crashes that obscur everything on your primary screen but still let you tab between programs.

        • Premium User Badge

          Topperfalkon says:

          Yeah, I use that combination all the time to manage window positioning. It’s a lifesaver for multi-monitor configurations

        • mpk says:

          Windows button + arrow keys instantly puts the selected window on another screen.

          I did not know this. This knowledge has just changed my life.

        • WormFACE says:

          Made an account just to say thanks – very useful information! Now I won’t need to get out of bed and turn the other monitor on, then off, when I load VLC and it’s on the off monitor!

        • Mavadelo says:

          I …. don’t know what to say …. tears are jumping in my eyes, where is the frigging karma up buttom… ty oh ty kind sir :D

  2. gbrading says:

    This is poor. Even by Warner Bros. standards this is poor. And Lego City Undercover is supposed to be one of the better Lego games.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I was eager to get this the LEGO games since Marvel Super Heroes have been mostly terrible, and even Jurassic Park was middling-to-mediocre. LEGO City undercover was set to be the one that forgoes the linear missions and offers the sandbox fun that Marvel Super Heroes and Lego Batman 2 demonstrated was possible.

      But it was ported on the cheap? FFS

  3. GallonOfAlan says:

    Patched? A LEGO game?

    Ahahahahaha. Ahaha.

  4. Mikko Eronen says:

    This is sad to hear. This game was my absolute favourite on WiiU.

    I hope they get things sorted out…

  5. S-Hellequin says:

    Even as a die-hard cynic and pessimist, I am still (slightly) surprised that any company would willingly treat customers with such utter contempt.

    Really, when ports are this shoddy, the loading screen should read “we don’t care, we’ve got your money now, suckers!”

    • mpk says:

      Hey, we live in a world which also contains Ubisoft and EA, two companies who seem to actively hate their customers. You can’t ever be cynical enough.

  6. AbyssUK says:

    It’s easy to blame the QA department… but if the dev teams make last minute changes to fundamental systems then push for release.. QA doesn’t get a chance.
    However a hunch tells me this came because QA testing was done only on machines which had beta versions installed on them prior, and not tested on fresh installs. Un-removed fragments from the old installs masking the errors. A rookie mistake by QA

    • KaraiPantsu says:

      “it’s easy to blame the QA department… ”

      >Goes on to blame the QA department

      So tricksy!

    • Baines says:

      It’s easy to blame the QA department, but the QA department only does what it is told to do, and can’t actually order anything fixed.

      I’ve done QA where the instructions told me to ignore that the whole set-up itself was broken, because I was only supposed to test specific features. Despite, well, the code used to test the features being unrecommended by its supplier, itself compiled on a compiler build that at the time was unrecommended for compiling stable build code.

      I did manage to get permission to report that the resulting test code base was broken (and it was), but was told to continue my regular tests anyway. As far as I know, the company that hired the QA ignored everything that wasn’t requested data anyway.

      Of course in the gaming world we have plenty of public stories of publishers/devs ignoring reported issues. So yeah, it isn’t really fair to blame the QA department when the fault really lies in the people that decide what to use and what to ignore from the QA department.

      • AbyssUK says:

        You really think an error of this magnitude was seen and not worked upon?? I doubt it greatly, basically it wasn’t seen or it was seen too late.
        Also I count a QA failure as also being unable to convince people the error requires fixing. I had a few arguments with developers about if fixes “are worth it” or not. A general rule of thumb to any developers working with QA departments if QA caught it, odds are that it’s worth fixing!

        • Slazia says:

          QA: “We definitely can’t ship this, it’s totally broken.”
          Senior Producer: “We have to. We can patch it later. We have to hit this date.”

          This happens.

  7. SquarePeg says:

    It seems that they have created the most foolproof form of DRM ever conceived. This is sure to sell copies.

  8. thelankyjuan says:

    FIX — Well at least one that worked for me —

    When I first started playing yesterday the windows was mis-sized and would only play at around 10fps, but this morning I went on the Steam site to look if other people were having the same problems. Somebody has found a fix to a config file which seems to fix it (at least it has for me). Here is a link to the comment:

    link to steamcommunity.com

  9. abrokenchinadoll says:

    So I played it yesterday on a ps4 controller. It seems to work quite well. I just wish it was working with a pc keyboard and mouse. I haven’t run into too many bugs beyond that. I played it a little voices are in place. It doesn’t trip too bad. Fullscreen is not an option (that I can tell).

  10. Aetylus says:

    RPS says: “Criminal. Broken for everyone”
    IGN says: “8/10. We liked it on the Wii U. Now it is on PC etc.”
    Steam Reviews say: “57%” (which I translate as pretty bad, but not the worst).

    Who to believe?!

  11. Mandrake42 says:

    Well, that’s disappointing. TT’s track record with releases over the last couple of years has actually been ok. I played Lego Batman3, Lego Marvel and Lego Jurassic Park without a problem in 1080p. Screwing up basic stuff they have been getting right in the last few titles is baffling. You have to wonder if this is a new team with no experience porting to PC.

  12. Septarius says:

    To add onto what InspectorNorse and thelankyjuan said. To set the resolution I fallback to the config file. I am not making any excuses for anyone at TT but at least it is a workaround.

    %APPDATA%\Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment\LEGO City Undercover\pcconfig.txt

    Set ScreenWidth and ScreenHeight
    Ex:
    ScreenWidth 3840
    ScreenHeight 2160

    I did notice something the currently unstoppable loading screen mentioned TT Fusion. I wonder if this was a forked engine from the original release in 2013 modified for the Wii U. So merging the game back into the main PC engine or back porting changes and fixes that TT has made since 2013 could be an issue and rife with bugs.

  13. Jonfon says:

    Ack. Now I’m praying my kids won’t notice it’s been released before it gets patched. The Lego Movie game was shoddy beyond belief (it was also terrible but at least it was terrible on all platforms) so I’m not buying if technically this is the same sort of tech shambles.

    Last few have been alright in terms of port so hopefully this gets sorted before they spot a Steam Ad for it.

  14. haldolium says:

    “Yet again […] ”

    What are their previous major screw-ups?

    TTs LEGO games may have never been the pinnacle of technical sophistication, but compared to their plenty releases they usually run out-of-the-box.

  15. Harkkum says:

    This has been one of those games my son would have loved to play back in the days when it was only available to WiiU and now he would, obviously, want to have it with PC release. I hope I can hide this long enough from him so that they can fix the most obvious kinks.

  16. Someoldguy says:

    I don’t know what patching has happened, if any, but in 12+ hours of play it’s crashed on me twice but otherwise been fine. Changing the resolution was no issue with the in-game menu. Fortunately we use controllers so nobody has to get to grips with the keyboard + mouse controls. This one definitely feels like a title for the adults with all it’s cop-movie references, many from from decades ago, but that’s cool because my son is still playing with the dinosaurs in Lego Jurassic Park that’s been entertaining him for a couple of months now.

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