Three years after debuting for PC on the Epic Games Store, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, a remastered bundle of the first two games in the long-running Tony Hawk series, finally made its way to Steam earlier this month. By and large it's been well received, but there's one persistent complaint: A lot of players would really like to see the always-online requirement dropped. Yesterday it finally happened, thanks to the 1.1 patch for Steam, but only partially—very oddly, the offline mode is only available on Steam Deck.
The 1.1 patch notes are very brief:
- Steam Deck users can now play offline.
- The keyboard overlay now works properly for Steam Deck users.
There was some hope that the Steam Deck offline option would also apply to the standard Steam release, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Multiple users on Reddit and Steam confirmed that THPS1+2 is now playable offline on the Steam Deck, but say it's still not playable offline on regular ol' PCs.
I fired it up with Steam in offline mode to double check, and sure enough, it refused to run without a connection:
Even better, there was no way to exit the game from this "press enter to start/you must be connected" loop aside from a good ol' Alt-F4.
That's weird, right? Why make an offline mode available for a portable platform but withhold it from desktop PCs? As far as I can tell there's nothing in the Steam Deck compatibility requirements that demands offline support, and while I can see where it might be handy if you are, for instance, Pro Skating on the bus without any connectivity, why limit that functionality to just the Steam Deck? Piracy is the most common justification for always-online requirements, but THPS1+2 has been out for three years now—I think it's fair to say that anyone who was going to pirate the game already has.
And sure, you're probably not going to be hauling your PC around like it's a handheld, but always-on requirements can be a headache even when your connection is working perfectly well. Look at Payday 3: It's been pummeled by players on Steam almost entirely because of server issues that have made it difficult to play the game, even for those who want to play solo.
The bottom line is that there's just no good reason for it. There's no good reason for an always-online requirement for any game that offers a singleplayer mode as far as I'm concerned, but in the case of a years-old game that allows offline play on this platform but not that one, it's especially egregious.
I've reached out to Activision to ask why the Steam Deck is allowed offline play but PCs aren't, and if the capability will be extended to regular PCs at any point in the future, and will update if I receive a reply. In the meantime, an offline workaround is available and it apparently works, but be warned: It also looks like a huge pain in the ass.