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Elite: Dangerous abandons promised offline mode

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Elite: Dangerous has formally abandoned the offline mode the spacefaring MMO promised when it was originally crowdfunded, a month before the game is due for its final release.

"A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering," David Braben, the CEO of Frontier Developments, said in an online newsletter posted on Friday.

Elite: Dangerous was always planned to take place in a persistent online world, but the FAQ on the game's Kickstarter page promised (as far back as Dec. 11, 2012) an offline mode that would allow players to play the game without connecting to a server.

Some backers are not pleased with the online obligation of Elite: Dangerous and have gone to the game's forums to register that complaint. In response, executive producer Michael Brookes said on Friday that "the galaxy mechanics" the game uses all reside on Elite: Dangerous' online servers. "The data set and processes are huge and not something that would translate offline without considerable compromise to the vision," Brookes said.

So while the game still may be played solo, it still has to connect back to a server to synchronize with the galaxy shared by everyone else.

Elite: Dangerous is due for a Dec. 16 release. For more on the game, see Polygon's overview video below.

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