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Redfall developer working to U-turn on single-player always online restriction

"We listen."

Redfall developer Arkane is "working actively" to remove the game's always-online requirement when playing strictly in single-player mode.

The vampire shooter's always-online restriction raised eyebrows when it was spotted last month.

Now, speaking to Eurogamer, game director Harvey Smith has revealed his team are now working to change how the game worked to make offline single-player possible.

Eurogamer's Aoife plays Redfall and shares her thoughts.Watch on YouTube

As part of a lengthy interview which featured a deep discussion of Redfall's politics, I asked Smith his reaction to those who want to play fully offline in a world where most people's devices are typically connected to the internet.

"There are two ways developers could react to that, right?" Smith began. "They could say: 'Oh, my God, you're always online. If you get on your Steam, and it's not online, you freak out. If you get on your Xbox, and you can't get the latest patch, or see what your friends are doing, you freak out. You want to be always online!' But that response, I think, lacks empathy.

"There are people who live in places where there are outages or their broadband is shitty, or they're competing with their family members, because their mum's streaming a movie or their brother's on another device. And so I think it is a legitimate critique."

The other response, Smith continued, was to accept the reaction and find out if things can - at a late stage in development - be changed.

"We do take it with a lot of empathy," Smith said. "We listen. And we have already started work to address this in the future. We have to do some things like encrypt your save games and do a bunch of UI work to support it. And so we are looking into - I'm not supposed to promise anything - but we're looking into and working actively toward fixing that in the future."

Smith also went into more detail on why Redfall had been designed to be online in the first place - and it's not for the reason you might suspect.

"There's no store in the game, and there's no microtransactions," Smith told me, pre-empting any suspicion the game was always online so it could simply always be ready to sell you more stuff.

"You can find costumes and things like that in the world, those are yours. We do have a DLC plan - a couple of times we'll sell a bundle of stuff like guns, costumes, characters, you know, whatever. We're very excited about those things but it'll just be like DLC that you buy through Xbox or whatever. And there's the "Bite Back" Edition [of the base game] where you get some of that stuff for free. We had that plan with Dishonoured, we have that with every game we make."

So why be online if you're not with other people? Smith said the game was designed that way to better help Arkane understand how people were playing it, and when they got into difficulty.

"It allows us to do some accessibility stuff," Smith said. "It allows us for telemetry, like - if everybody's falling off ladders and dying, holy shit that shows up. And so we can go and tweak the ladder code. There are reasons we set out to do that that are not insidious."

For more on the game, Eurogamer has a lengthier chat with Smith about Redfall and its politics.

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