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GOG removes HITMAN after customer backlash over online features

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Recently we wrote about the stealth assassination game HITMAN landing on GOG.com. Not specifically Linux news but interesting industry news to keep an eye on, due to the massive backlash it had and now GOG has removed it for sale. Quick note: while the game does have a Linux build ported by Feral Interactive on Steam, like the rest of Feral titles it didn't make it to GOG.

As a reminder on the issue - HITMAN is a single-player game, however it does lock quite a lot of features to do with progression behind needing an online connection. With GOG being famous for its anti-DRM stance, bringing that over did not sit well with customers and the backlash spawned well over 2,000 posts on the GOG forum.

GOG did later add a notice about the online features to the store page but it wasn't enough.

Two days ago a GOG staffer mentioned it had been removed, here's their statement:

Dear Community,

Thank you for your patience and for giving us the time to investigate the release of HITMAN GOTY on GOG. As promised, we’re getting back to you with updates.

We're still in dialogue with IO Interactive about this release. Today we have removed HITMAN GOTY from GOG’s catalog – we shouldn’t have released it in its current form, as you’ve pointed out.

We’d like to apologise for the confusion and anger generated by this situation. We’ve let you down and we’d like to thank you for bringing this topic to us – while it was honest to the bone, it shows how passionate you are towards GOG.

We appreciate your feedback and will continue our efforts to improve our communication with you.

It may not be DRM since you can play it offline but for a store like GOG? It was clearly a bad idea to release it as it was.

For GOG, this was very clumsy. Hopefully their store team will be more careful in future to prevent such issues ever happening. You do have to wonder though - how did this not come up in conversations on releasing it? Perhaps it did and they thought it wouldn't matter? Either way, it's gone from GOG - for now.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: GOG, Meta | Apps: HITMAN
21 Likes
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14 comments
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Mal 10 Oct
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Well at least they removed it eventually. For a time to long they gave the impression that they didn't give a f**k.

When they started with the "review bomb" bullshit I thought they were sold out for good.


Last edited by Mal on 10 October 2021 at 7:06 pm UTC
Jahimself 10 Oct
It's better to apologize and aknowledge the issue rather than fainting or finding good excuses. It might have been complicated to change this bit of code. At least on steam, hitman 1 season remake uses hitman 2 season engine now, but back then the first version was done by another editor using a different engine. Lazyness? Maybe but still some extra work that is not supposed to be done by GOG but by IO. Hopefully they will come up with a solution.
Glad they made the right choice. Requiring online access to access additional features in a single player game is a silly idea. As for the devs, not only they shot themselves in the foot with this one due to lost sales. But if I'm not mistaken, even the 2 sequels work in a similar way which bars them from being released on GOG in the future unless they make them work offline (which I don't see them doing).
Shmerl 10 Oct
May be they can negotiate with Hitman publisher and actually make a proper release next time.
a0kami 11 Oct
:facepalm:
x_wing 11 Oct
So they remove this game because it requires an online connection to play some missions but they will still have other games that you can only play multiplayer if and only if you have galaxy client. They can apologize all what they want but this smells more like a PR damage control.
melkemind 11 Oct
Are there actually singleplayer features that require an online connection? I thought it was because of leaderboards and basically comparing your missions to other people. For me it just becomes an annoyance because I don't normally care about those online features. I remember Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2 had settings in the menu where you could easily turn off any online features. That seems like a much better approach than requiring it and annoying you with popups if your connection drops.

It reminds me of this native Linux game I once played called Cargo Commander. I actually enjoyed it at first until one time my connection dropped, and the game literally just ended.
Hmm.. Maybe this is the reason why 505 didn't release Death Stranding on GOG yet.
Is a single player game with an optional online feature.
They have to release two versions; one with the online component disabled for a true DRMFREE offline experience and another version with the online component enabled, for to use with Galaxy.
DaiKaiser93 11 Oct
Quoting: x_wingSo they remove this game because it requires an online connection to play some missions but they will still have other games that you can only play multiplayer if and only if you have galaxy client. They can apologize all what they want but this smells more like a PR damage control.

For what I gather IO was blocking single player modes with online due to the modes having leaderboards.
Ehvis 11 Oct
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Quoting: DaiKaiser93
Quoting: x_wingSo they remove this game because it requires an online connection to play some missions but they will still have other games that you can only play multiplayer if and only if you have galaxy client. They can apologize all what they want but this smells more like a PR damage control.

For what I gather IO was blocking single player modes with online due to the modes having leaderboards.

There are plenty of games (also on gog) that have daily challenges with leaderboards that only work with an online connection. The only difference is that you can apparently earn starting costumes and items for the normal game with that. Not entirely sure because I never cared about those things. It does seem a bit overblown to me, but everybody knows how crazy people can get for simple things like cosmetic items.
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