Elite: Dangerous ditches planned offline mode
Would be "unacceptably limited".
Frontier has ditched a planned offline mode for space game Elite: Dangerous.
In a recently-published newsletter Frontier chief David Braben said a single-player offline version of the game "would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering".
"...being online lets us constantly both curate and evolve the galaxy, with stories unfolding according to the actions of commanders," Braben explained.
An offline version of Elite: Dangerous had been planned as early as December 2012. In a FAQ on the Elite Kickstarter page, Frontier states it will be possible to have a single-player game without connecting to the galaxy server. "You won't get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won't be able to sync between server and non-server (again we'll investigate)," the developer said.
It turns out, however, that this single-player version of the game had to connect to the server.
"Exploration is also a key factor, too, and it is important that what a single-player explores matches what other players explore whether single or multiplayer - a complex, coherent world - something we have achieved," Braben said in the newsletter.
"Galaxy, story, missions, have to match, and it does mean the single-player has to connect to the server from time to time, but this has the added advantage that everyone can participate in the activities that can happen in the galaxy."
As you'd expect, the news hasn't gone down well among some in the Elite community.
"I think backers fully understood that an offline game would NOT share the same universe," "ChrisH" wrote on Frontier forum.
"It's pretty obvious really. And I also think it's clear that it would be a lesser experience than the online one (no injected events, no evolution of the galaxy). So your stated excuse doesn't make sense to me."
Executive producer Michael Brookes stepped in to try to further explain Frontier's point.
"The problem is that the galaxy mechanics all sit on the online servers," he said.
"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."
Elsewhere in the newsletter, Braben pointed to the addition of unplanned features, which he believed are "fundamentally key" to the experience. These include supercruise, outposts and multiple ship ownership.
Elite: Dangerous launches proper in December. Braben said Frontier's plan is to eventually have 30 playable ships in the game, five more than it committed to in the Kickstarter.