Arkane revealed in February that its upcoming vampire shooter Redfall will require a "a persistent online connection," even if you're playing by yourself. The reaction to the news wasn't great, both as a matter of principle and practicality. Believe it or not, there are still people who live in areas with wonky internet connections, and why should we have to be connected to the internet to play a singleplayer game anyway?
In an interview with Eurogamer, director Harvey Smith said Arkane has "a lot of empathy" for people who can't reliably play online, and is looking at making changes to the game so it can be played without a connection.
"We listen. And we have already started work to address this in the future," Smith said. "We have to do some things like encrypt your save games and do a bunch of UI work to support it. And so we are looking into—I'm not supposed to promise anything—but we're looking into and working actively toward fixing that in the future."
It doesn't sound like Redfall really needs to be online at all, at least for gameplay purposes. Smith said there are no microtransactions or in-game store, and DLC is planned "but it'll just be like DLC that you buy through Xbox or whatever." The actual purpose of the requirement was to enable Arkane to monitor the game and adjust it accordingly, a bit like a live game.
"It allows us to do some accessibility stuff," Smith said. "It allows us for telemetry, like, if everybody's falling off ladders and dying, holy shit that shows up. And so we can go and tweak the ladder code. There are reasons we set out to do that that are not insidious."
Redfall is set to come out on May 2—whether that's enough time for Arkane to excise the always-online requirement remains to be seen. At this point, though, we have somewhat more pressing concerns about the game: Our most recent preview of Redfall found "limp combat and a lifeless world," with nothing terribly interesting or exciting going on. Hopefully the full game will deliver a better experience, for both solo players and groups.