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GOG.com, the store that prides itself on offering "DRM FREE" builds of games has recently released Hitman - Game of The Year Edition from IO Interactive and GOG fans are not happy.

To set the scene a little, this is a single-player stealth game about running around assassinating various targets across a bunch of different missions. It's actually a pretty good game and it has a Linux build available on Steam ported by Feral Interactive, which is not up on GOG.

Here's the problem: many features in HITMAN require you to have an internet connection. This is different to a game that has online modes which would of course need the internet. This is a game you play by yourself. Story missions and bonus mission can be played offline but you have to be online for most of the progression for item unlocks, new start location unlocks, special contracts, featured contracts, escalation missions and more.

It might not fall under the technical meaning of DRM but forcing players to be online in a single-player game to access content never really goes down well, and so it's not surprising on a store like GOG for users to be unhappy. It didn't help that GOG did not mention any of this at release, simply slapping the usual "DRM FREE. No activation or online connection required to play. " tickbox on the store page. While it's still somewhat true it doesn't quite sit right. This has led to the Hitman release gathering one of the lowest ever user-ratings on GOG (1.4 / 5 right now).

GOG users wasted no time telling the store how they felt with over 1,000 comments on the release forum topic, with IO Interactive being aware of it stating in a recent livestream that they're following it and they say they're in discussions on it. Two days after release GOG posted this small statement in that same topic that reads " Thank you for bringing this topic to our attention. We’re looking into it and will be updating you in the coming weeks. In case you have purchased HITMAN and are not satisfied with the released version, you can use your right to refund the game. At the same time, while we’re open for meritful discussion and feedback, we will not tolerate review bombing and will be removing posts that do not follow our review guidelines.". Another post later clarified that " We will not remove reviews like that, only those that are against our review guidelines.".

Stating that unhappy users writing about actual technical features of the game is "review bombing" of course is really not going to go down well. The base price of the game on GOG (when the sale ends) is noticeably more expensive than on Steam too.

Later GOG added a notice to the top of the store page that reads "Please note: Internet connection is required to access Escalation missions, Elusive Targets or user-created Contracts. Story and bonus missions can be played offline.".

How do you feel about this?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: GOG, Meta
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38 comments
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The Hitman series has always been annoying like this, wasn't it? I think I got the first "HITMAN" (in the newer "rebooted" line) free from something, or maybe part of a bundle, and I'd give it a quick go, but their always-online bullshit led me to uninstall it pretty much right away. I'm not even sure if I finished the first mission.

Definitely a shame that something like that slipped through GOG; I still don't really buy much through GOG, but I've always appreciated their relatively unusual stance about things like DRM. Hopefully there's not too much more of this boundary-pushing going on in the store -- always-online requirements may as well be DRM, even if it might be technically not. GOG's still more principled than any of the other major options at the moment, so it'd be a shame if they were inching towards the other norm.
Quote"Please note: Internet connection is required to access Escalation missions, Elusive Targets or user-created Contracts. Story and bonus missions can be played offline."

Haha, yeah, sure, if you don't care at all about progression. On a game that's all about replaying the same level as you challenge yourself with both built-in achievements and check-boxes as you unlock weapons, costumes, and alternative conditions, as well as for self-satisfiction from experimentation as well as leaderboard (in the world and among your friends).

So basically only count if you're fine with an extended demo version of the game.


Last edited by fenglengshun on 26 September 2021 at 4:17 pm UTC
elmapul 26 Sep
Quoting: ShmerlUnless developers want to spy on users in some way? =.
its a bit ironic coming from an spy game...
torham 26 Sep
I wish I could now be shocked and disillusioned with GOG, but this shit has been going on for years. For example, Heroes of Hammerwatch cannot be played over LAN in multiplayer, requiring an active Galaxy login. This is for LAN, there is no official server, so why do I need to ask permission to play and why can't an offline version allow direct connect or do LAN discovery? Anyway, I suggest searching around for a offline Galaxy emulator so you can play your games on LAN. They clearly have redefined DRM-Free to mean DRM-Lite.

Even that's not enough now, so the DRM is in single player as well.

It's still somewhat better than the situation with Steam or Epic store so for the most part they are my go to store, but I'm not exactly thrilled with how things are going.
Gamewizard 27 Sep
Quoting: torhamI wish I could now be shocked and disillusioned with GOG, but this shit has been going on for years. For example, Heroes of Hammerwatch cannot be played over LAN in multiplayer, requiring an active Galaxy login. This is for LAN, there is no official server, so why do I need to ask permission to play and why can't an offline version allow direct connect or do LAN discovery? Anyway, I suggest searching around for a offline Galaxy emulator so you can play your games on LAN. They clearly have redefined DRM-Free to mean DRM-Lite.

Even that's not enough now, so the DRM is in single player as well.

It's still somewhat better than the situation with Steam or Epic store so for the most part they are my go to store, but I'm not exactly thrilled with how things are going.


Well in the case of Heroes of Hammerwatch it technically doesn't even have LAN play strictly speaking at least my Steam copy has no option listed LAN for MP it only offers the active server list. Still not sure why the devs dropped LAN play for it though as that was one of the huge initial draws for the first game was it had both LAN based play and single machine co-op options. The lack of them has really turned me off of Heroes of Hammerwatch as couch co-op with a buddy was how I most enjoyed the first game.

But you are right GOG is more and more coming to mean DRM-lite, they can't even bother to check OS strings from your browser so they keep pushing Galaxy to me as a Linux user. Them treating Linux users the way they do is a huge part of why I stopped shopping on GOG almost totally. Hell it was the case for years that for Linux builds Devs had to upload them via a separate process from normal builds for Windows and Mac, that alone says a lot about the company.
TheRiddick 27 Sep
Quoting: ShmerlOn-line connection for single player game? What for? I don't even get the reason for it, let alone any benefit.

Yeah I hate companies that do this. Remember that new simcity game that did that?! what a load of BS that turned out to be, and this be no different.

This is basically trying to make the game have a expiry date, which will be whenever the company decides they don't want to support the game server side any-more, and we have already seen what happens, think GamesForWindowsLive fallout!
Basically needs players to go crack the game to play... why even pay for it at the point!?
If GOG is going to start including DRM-ridden crap, then I should just use Steam instead. They support Linux better, anyway.
rea987 27 Sep
GOG is weird when it comes to games that require internet connection of some sort. Their stand is simply no digital rights control mechanism should be in place, meaning NO-DRM which is fine. But the way it is implemented varies wildly. Both Doom 3 (Classic), Quake 4 and Unreal Tournament 2004 do require CD key to be played. Yet, Doom 3 and Quake 4's CD Key requirement can be bypassed by firewalling those game or temporarily disconnecting the system from Internet.

- Doom 3 (Classic) and Quake 4 are shipped with LegacyKey type CD Key on Steam similar to retail releases.
- Doom 3 (Classic) isn't featured on GOG; Quake 4 was released without multiplayer on GOG to bypass CD Key requirement.

- Unreal Tournament 2004 is shipped with LegacyKey type CD Key on Steam similar to retail releases.
- Unreal Tournament 2004 is shipped with CD Key on GOG similar to retail releases.

- Doom 3: BFG Edition is shipped with Steam API on Steam to provide multiplayer support.
- Doom 3: BFG Edition is shipped without Steam API on GOG that resulted lack of multiplayer.

I kinda understand releasing D3BFG without multiplayer on GOG as Steam API functions as DRM at this scenario. But Q4's CD Key is quite similar to UT2k4, yet earlier was released without multiplayer, latter was released with multiplayer on GOG. To GOG's credit, UT2k4 checks CD Key when the player attempts to play online multiplayer whereas Q4 checks CD key when the game is launched (which is why aforementioned firewall is required to bypass it). It still feels odd to see GOG asked Bethesda to strip entire portion of Q4 instead of moving online CD Key check from game launch to multiplayer part.


Last edited by rea987 on 28 September 2021 at 7:18 am UTC
TheRiddick 27 Sep
Quoting: sunofpearl89If GOG is going to start including DRM-ridden crap, then I should just use Steam instead. They support Linux better, anyway.

I think several games need GOG2.0 for multiplayer access to work, which is DRM for Multiplayer.
Frawo 27 Sep
Quoting: Avehicle7887GOG has been straying off from the beaten path for some time already. Cyberpunk's Galaxy requirement to install some skins is also a crappy move and I will never buy it unless they change it.
To me, it's like buisnessmen have taken over the company, blindly sticking their "DRM-Free" label on every game, no matter if it fits. They are all about money these days... not even embarrassed to sell Epic games.
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