Earlier this week Hitman – Game of the Year Edition launched on GOG. But soon after, gamers started complaining and examining the bombings once they discovered large parts of the stealth game were stuck behind online DRM checks. This has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because GOG places a great deal of importance on the absence of DRM.
GOG.com is an online showcase which started out as a place where developers and publishers sold older PC games, but now also sell newer and modern games. It also boasts that it does not support or use any form of DRM (digital rights management). However, Hitman – Game of the Year Edition seems to blur the line between what is and is not DRM and this has led to a great deal of online criticism and examine the bombing.
Currently, the overall rating of the game is at a very low level of 1.4 out of 5.
The main problem comes down to what is blocked for players who decide to play Hitman offline or who cannot access the servers for some reason. Without an internet connection, players cannot access Escalation Missions, Elusive Targets, or User-Created Missions. This is advertised on the GOG store page for Hitman GOTY Edition.
However, there is more that is blocked for offline players, including the ability to unlock weapons, items, outfits, and earn new starting slots. While this doesn’t make the game unplayable, it does mean that a large portion of Hitman 2016 is only available to people who connect to the Internet. According to this support page found on the Feral Interactive website, playing offline also means that players won’t be able to complete in-game challenges or gain experience to increase their mastery level for each map. (Feral Interactive is the studio that helped bring Hitman 2016 on Mac.)
Now to be clear: you can still play Hitman GOTY Edition offline after purchasing it on GOG. All main missions and bonus missions are fully playable. But almost everything else is locked down for offline users, which to me (and apparently other gamers) feels like some form of online DRM. This seems out of place for a version of GOG, and users have spent the last few days leaving negative reviews in response.
Yesterday, GOG responded to the continued backlash from Hitman use of online DRM. In a forum post responding to the situation, a member of the GOG team explained that he is “reviewing the matter and will keep you updated in the coming weeks.”
Kotaku contacted GOG regarding this situation and what the storefront has planned to respond to player complaints.
“If you have purchased HITMAN and are not happy with the released version, you can use your right to refund the game,” GOG said. “At the same time, while we are open to deserving discussion and comment, we will not tolerate review bombardment and will remove posts that do not meet our review guidelines.”
The GOG community was not happy with this response, pointing out that many negative reviews only contain information and disclaimers that are not on the game’s store page. The GOG team further explained that these reviews would not be removed., but has not shared any further details on what will be removed.
Likewise, it is unclear what can be done to make matters better, given the interweaving of online functionality of Hitman (2016) correspond to the overall structure of the game.