David Braben angered a lot of fans last week when he announced that Elite: Dangerous, his long-in-development open world space sim, would no longer include an offline single player mode, as was initially promised. Braben’s studio Frontier Developments announced in the latest newsletter that it is now offering refunds to fans that pre-ordered the game without early access. The studio will not, however, refund those that have already been able to play the game in its alpha or beta builds.
Braben took pains to clarify the reasoning for the decision and its implications. The game will still include a single player mode, but in order to maintain continuity with the dynamic universe the game requires a low bandwidth online connection.
Braben’s vision of the game was always to make an online experience first and foremost, but initially he thought that it would be more feasible to also include an offline alternative. As development went on, it became clear that they would not be able to deliver an offline mode without crippling the central game experience of a vast, interconnected galaxy.
You can learn more about the decision and its reasoning over at Braben’s FAQ.