Elite: Dangerous just entered witch-space with the news that its single-player component won’t be playable offline with only a month left to launch. In a recent newsletter, David Braben explains that the online component allows Frontier Developments to “curate and evolve the galaxy, with stories unfolding according to the actions of commanders.”
“A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering,” he continues. Backers aren’t happy with development, considering that an offline mode was promised as early as 2012 in the original Kickstarter campaign. They’ve taken to the forums to voice their grievances, with some demanding a refund. Michael Brooks, the executive producer for Elite: Dangerous, has responded to backers and receiving very little sympathy for it.
“Indeed and the biggest promise is the game with the vision we set out with. We haven’t taken this decision lightly, but having to hamper the game to work offline would have meant that we couldn’t deliver the game we’re making,” Brooks replied in response to a forum member indicating that while change is acceptable, the promised features should take precedence. He has also stated that, “The problem is that the galaxy mechanics all sit on the online servers. The data set and processes are huge and not something that would translate offline without considerable compromise to the vision. Trust me we didn’t sit down and think what would annoy people the most! It’s a choice we’ve had to make and so we’ve taken it.”