Co-op RTS Dwarfheim is going offline, and the singleplayer mode can't be saved because nobody has the source code

Dwarfheim screenshot - couple of dwarves hanging out, doing their thing
(Image credit: Pinelfeaf Studio)

The co-op RTS Dwarfheim came to the table back in 2020 with some interesting ideas. Unlike most games in the genre, in which one player controls one base and does battle with all comers, Dwarfheim enabled groups of up to three to run their show together, each with a unique role: Builder, Miner, or Warrior. But it never really caught fire through its early access period or after its full release in September 2021, and the team maintaining it has announced that it will close up shop for good at the end of November.

I say "maintaining it," because active development ended long ago. The last game update listed on Steam was a hotfix released in October 2021, a month after Dwarfheim went live, and the only news since then related to a service outage in 2022. As it turns out, developer Pineleaf Studio dissolved shortly after Dwarfheim's full release, and publisher Merge Games says it can't make any new updates itself because it doesn't have the source code.

Merge has been keeping the servers up so people can continue to play the game, but said in the announcement that it is "no longer feasible" to continue doing so, no doubt due to the fact that the average concurrent player count throughout 2023 has been just slightly shy of three. Sales of Dwarfheim have already been halted, and server support will be ended on November 30.

Dwarfheim actually has a singleplayer mode, but even that won't be available once the servers go offline. Some of the remaining player base aren't happy about that, and a few asked Merge Games to patch in some sort of standalone mode. Sadly, that can't be done: "Due to the way Dwarfheim was built it is not possible to play the game without servers, and without the development team, or the source code, there's no way we can patch in offline play," Merge said.

It sucks to see this happen. I don't like it when any game fails to meet its ambitions and disappears into the ether as a result, but it's particularly galling when it's one with a singleplayer mode that ends up dead on the floor because of a reliance on an external connection. It seems like such a simple concept—if my game allows me to play by myself, then I should be able to play by myself—and yet time and again, developers insist that their grand vision means a connection to the outside world is mandatory for functionality. Sometimes, as a game slowly fades away, that requirement is patched out. But in other cases the whole thing goes screaming off a cliff, nobody's left to do anything about it, and a game that some people might actually like and want to play is rendered useless.

Anyway, the Dwarfheim servers will remain up until the end of November. If you want to squeeze in a last hurrah, alone or with some friends, now's the time.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.