Update: After assuring players it was hard at work repairing "a problem within the game code" that meant Sonic Mania could only be played online via Steam, Sega has now confirmed an update has fixed the problem. This Facebook post went live this afternoon:
"We’d like to thank the community for their honest feedback with regards to Sonic Mania on PC. We’ve found the problem within the game code that was stopping people playing offline and it’s been corrected by the dev team. The fix is now being tested by SEGA QA to ensure it is working properly and we’ll let you know when it will be implemented via our social channels ASAP.
"We’ve looked into the DRM complaints and can confirm this was not the cause of the problem. We apologise for any inconvenience any of the bugs may have caused players of the PC version at launch and would like to reassure them again, that as with this particular bug, we are on the case and working on fixes so everyone can have an uninterrupted and enjoyable experience playing Sonic Mania both online and offline."
After which Sega tweeted the following:
Users are reporting that the Steam version of Sonic Mania needs an internet connection in order to boot. Those trying to access the game while offline are prompted to connect by a pop up box – though once the game's open, a connection is no longer needed.
Still, this is a pain in the backside, and shouldn't be necessary for a ye olde styled 16 bit platformer with no essential online components. Meanwhile, users are similarly miffed that the game uses Denuvo DRM software, despite the Steam listing previously making no mention of it.
"Like you, we've noticed an error in the Steam store not mentioning the DRM for Sonic Mania," an official post on the game's Steam page reads. "We're fixing that now."
The statement also reads: "Sonic Mania is intended to be played offline and we're investigating reports on that." Though it's a fairly vague sentence, that probably means that the company will nix the online requirement sooner rather than later.
And it better, because even Sonic's social media and PR guy doesn't seem too impressed. Responding to users on Twitter, Aaron Webber encouraged people to "make your voices heard", a revolutionary plea if ever I heard one.
Whatever the case, assuming these problems are fixed up it's reportedly a very good Sonic instalment, which is as nice as it is surprising.