CD Projekt launched the GOG store in 2008 with the aim of bringing DRM-free copies of video games into the hands of gamers. Since then, the store has stuck with the DRM-free mantra, but a recent release has seemingly struck a nerve with some fans when it was revealed to not be entirely DRM-free.
Although GOG is home to some older Hitman titles, the most recent ones aren’t being sold on the store. That is, until Hitman (2016) launched on GOG this week, but is being review bombed for still incorporating online-only elements despite not having any official form of anti-piracy DRM and labelling itself as “DRM-free. No activation or online connection required to play.”
Although that is technically true, the reason Hitman needs an online connection is in order to play online-related activities like leaderboards, user-created contracts, and the regular elusive targets. Most importantly though, it is needed to advance your Mastery progression, which is required in order to unlock new weapons and gear, or different starting locations or pickup points when you replay missions.
Though, the case can be made that requiring an online connection to play a game is a form of DRM any way you look at it, but fans are not at all happy. Currently, it sits at a rating of 1.4/5 stars on GOG, which is the lowest rated Hitman on GOG by far. Most reviews are criticizing GOG and the publisher (IO Interactive) for releasing the game without coming up with a way to play Hitman offline with the same features.
GOG has taken a stance by saying they will be “looking into it and will be updating you in the coming weeks” and urged unsatisfied customers to seek a refund. However, they will not tolerate review bombing and will remove posts that “do not follow our review guidelines,” though that does not mean they will be removing all negative reviews.
What do you think? Are the fans right? Should the publisher have come up with a way to enable Mastery progression offline before selling it on GOG? Does this hurt GOG’s integrity? How often do you buy games on GOG? Let us know!