The first game in IO Interactive’s reboot trilogy of the Hitman series has arrived with a discount on GOG, CD Projekt’s alternative to digital storefronts like Steam. It’s a platform that is supposed to be famous for having DRM-free versions of games compared to other places. But that doesn’t seem to be completely the case with the GOG version of Hitman – Game of the Year Edition.
For the most part, the game is still playable offline, which is consistent with the DRM-free stance of GOG. But because of the way IO Interactive implemented the game’s various unlocks, from better guns and equipment to different starting outfits and locations, most of this will not actually be unlockable without online connectivity. And this is not counting other things like Escalation mission, Elusive Targets or user-created Contracts, which makes more sense.
As a result of this, many of the reviews left on GOG’s Hitman – Game of the Year Edition is negative in nature. Most players who have left negative ratings zero in on the fact that many of the unlocks, which would traditionally not need an internet connection in other games, is needed here.
And that, in turn makes Hitman a very barebones version of itself without its usual replayability, unless you connect the game to the internet. That is argued to serve as its own form of DRM, and as such makes the DRM-free label inaccurate.
Adding fuel to the fire is the statement by GOG community manager Gabriela Siemienkowicz, via the handle “chandra”. To say that it’s been poorly worded would be the most diplomatic way to describe the statement.
It’s a contentious subject, to be sure. On one hand, it looks like the basic Hitman game can indeed be played completely offline. But on the other, other singleplayer elements being locked behind an online connectivity can certainly be argued to be against the spirit of the DRM-free claim.