Elite: Dangerous single-player taken offline because experience was “unacceptable”

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 17:15 GMT

Frontier Developments boss David Braben has responded to the outcry over the company axing the offline, single-player mode for Elite: Dangerous.


Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer, Braben said the decision to take the single-player portion online was “not made lightly as we have been looking for ways to satisfy everyone”.

“We announced shortly after we reached the conclusion that it wasn’t possible to create an offline mode without unacceptably compromising the game,” he told the site. “Some people have thought this means there wouldn’t be a single-player mode – to be clear, the single-player game is there, but it requires an online connection.

“Back during the Kickstarter, we believed we could offer a good single-player experience, and base an acceptable offline-only experience off that. As development has progressed, it has become clear that this last assumption is not the case. The offline experience we could deliver now is unacceptable to us. To make this acceptable would be close to a whole new game development, so with heavy hearts we have made this decision.”

Braben said in hindsight, the Elite community should have been told Frontier was having issues with the offline version of the game during development.

“As we have developed the game and released Alpha and Beta versions, the work needed to deliver a rich online nature of the game diverged from the requirements of a fully offline game,” he said. “In retrospect we should have shared the fact that we were struggling with this aspect with the community, but we were still trying to find a solution.

“We have developed a multiplayer game with an unfolding story involving the players, and groups collaborating with specific objectives and taking account of all players’ behaviour. This is what the game is about. Without this it would not be the rich gaming experience that we will deliver, and would be a great disappointment to all players.

“Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty. We could write a separate mission system to allow a limited series of fixed missions, but that would still not be a compelling game, and is only the first step in the mountain of work required.”

Braben went on to say that online gaming is “already a reality for the majority,” and that Frontier has faith in the game’s servers to deliver a stable experience due to being “the same ones that Amazon uses,” which can be “scaled up quickly to deal with demand when needed.”

You can read the entire interview over on Eurogamer.

Elite: Dangerous is out December 16.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.