Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku
Earlier today, I was playing the Outriders. I was in the middle of a mission, about to beat a tough enemy, when I got disconnected from the servers. An error message popped up and that was it. But I was playing alone, in an area filled with only NPCs in a game without PVP. So why do I even need to be online?
So far, I dig my time with the Outriders. The weapons are bulky, the combat is fluid, and the co-op (when it works) is a blast. But in the last few days Outriders had server issues. It is not a shock. Most online games start with server issues and regular downtime. What’s odd is that Outriders don’t seem to need to be online. I am not a developer working on the game, so I cannot explain the specific technical reasons that require an always online connection. According to the developers, this is because the game has “a lot of stuff going on in the backend”. But as a person playing the game, I see no benefit in forcing solo players to connect to shaky servers.
Prior to the launch of Outriders, developers People Can Fly explained that it was not another live service game. That it was a complete package. While they had plans for potential future content, for now it was the game. Later, as players enjoyed the demo last month, the developers explained that cheaters would not be prohibited. They would be marked as cheaters and would be unable to partner with legitimate players, but their cheating methods would not remove them. I have seen people confused about this choice. But it makes sense to me. Outriders is not a PVP game. There is no competitive balance that you can destroy by hacking powerful weapons. Likewise, Outriders doesn’t have microtransactions or even a battle pass that could be bypassed with nasty mods or tricks. So cheating or hacking the game really only affects you and anyone you play co-op with. On top of all that, you can play Outriders from start to finish solo.
Screenshot: Square Enix
So why is this game still online? I can’t give you a good answer for this beyond what the developers have explained and the connection to the servers being a bit DRM helpful. Still, I don’t see the point in tying a game like this to servers to the point where everything falls apart the moment they fail. At this point, it seems unlikely that Outriders will get an offline mode, although that would be a nice feature for solo players. These types of things are not easy to add after the fact.
It’s a shame because an offline mode would be a great addition and not just for people to play the game they bought during launch week.
There are other, more worrisome issues that arise when games, like Outriders, force an always-online connection. It brings a lot more player harassment. And that harassment will eventually target developers and community managers facing the public who have no power or control over the situation. Whenever the servers collapse, these people will be faced with the weight of an angry mob of assholes and trolls. An offline mode would at least give those players an option during downtime and probably save a lot of crap for overworked developers. (Although it is the internet, it will never get rid of all the assholes …)
There is also the problem of what happens if in a few years if Outriders ceases to be a priority for its developer or publisher Square Enix. If the servers are down, this game in its current state would be unplayable. Hackers and modders might be able to save things and take the game offline, but it would be pointless if there was a way to just play this game without an internet connection. This missing offline mode would also help people play more easily with limited connections or in areas where the internet is choppy, crappy, or none.
Building your game with an offline mode is basically a lossless scenario, from what I can tell. And in a game with no PVP to balance or large social spaces, unlike the planets in Destiny 2, an offline mode seems like a perfect solution to a bunch of problems.
I guess, as usual, greedy businessmen, lack of resources, various contracts, and time constraints are one of the main reasons why single player games always online will continue to be a thing. This means that people, developers and gamers alike will have to keep dealing with what happens when servers inevitably stop functioning. And they always stop working.
Article source https://kotaku.com/games-like-outriders-really-need-offline-modes-1846613051