Elite: Dangerous designer David Braben revealed that studio Frontier Developments has ditched a previously announced offline single-player mode in favor of immersing players in an online persistent universe.
"Going forwards, being online lets us constantly both curate and evolve the galaxy, with stories unfolding according to the actions of commanders," Braben explained. "Exploration is also a key factor, too, and it is important that what a single player explores matches what other players explore whether single or multiplayer - a complex, coherent world - something we have achieved."
Braben continues: "Galaxy, story, missions, have to match, and it does mean the single player has to connect to the server from time to time, but this has the added advantage that everyone can participate in the activities that can happen in the galaxy. A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering."
A single-player mode was originally announced as part of last year's Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter campaign, which earned more than $2 million in backer pledges. A recent thread on the game's official forums has drawn thousands of responses, many of which express disappointment regarding the game's new direction. A studio representative notes that requests for refunds will be granted on a "case by case basis."
Kickstarter backers will get access to a playable version of Elite: Dangerous on November 22. A public release will follow on December 12.