Assassin’s Creed Shadows Needs Internet to Install and I Can’t Fathom Why

In Short
  • It has been recently revealed that even installing Assassin's Creed Shadows will require an Internet connection.
  • Ubisoft clarified that while the game needs internet for installation, you can play it completely offline after installation.
  • Nonetheless, this poses a problem as not everyone has access to stable internet which leaves many gamers locked out of the experience.

As the world finally got its first look at the Assassin’s Creed Shadows trailer, gamers worldwide were overjoyed. After all, we finally got our wish of an Assassin’s Creed game set in Japan. While a bit late, it’s still here. But with it came some sad news. Not long after the reveal, VGC spotted that the physical version of Assassin’s Creed Shadows will require an Internet connection to fully install.

As someone used to developers’ shenanigans, I was equal parts shocked and saddened. After all, locking a game’s physical copy behind an internet connection screams 2007 to me. As someone who also highly values video game preservation, I believe this is a move by Ubisoft that is going in the wrong direction. Why? Well, let’s talk about that.

Assassin's Creed Shadows Naoe picture
Image Courtesy: Ubisoft/Assassin’s Creed Shadows

Not long after the news broke, gamers all over were upset about this little revelation. Comments on Reddit threads started bashing Ubisoft about its general treatment of IPs, with some speculating that Shadows will be yet another microtransaction-ridden game.

byu/ameensj from discussion

And you know what, I don’t blame them. I have always understood the value of a single-player storyline remaining untouched by anything online. However, if the process of barely getting Assassin’s Creed Shadows requires Internet to install, well, that’s a red flag by itself. At least it would make sense, given Ubisoft’s previous moniker for the game.

Ubisoft Clearing the Air Doesn’t Help

In a bittersweet development, Ubisoft did come out from the shadows to clear the air. The company confirmed that you indeed need an internet connection to install the game. However, once installed, you can pull the cord to play as Yasuke and Naoe offline. That said, it still doesn’t remove the glaring problem I have—game preservation.

What I mean is that you will need to download additional game files each time you wish to play the game. Or maybe an online check that allows you to install the game in the first place. Buying a physical copy entails it should be a plug-and-play solution. But Ubisoft’s insistence on requiring an internet connection feels like you’ve reached the checkpoint in a game but can’t fight the final boss cause you didn’t fight his minion on the way.

In the future, you can be in a situation where you lack internet connectivity, so you won’t be able to install Assassin’s Creed Shadows anymore. Womp Womp! Also, it impacts trading the physical copy with peers, re-selling, or even random playthroughs from time to time.

This handy list by DoesItPlay reveals how around 75% of the games tested don’t require any online connectivity for installation and playthrough. Unfortunately, Assassin’s Creed Shadows isn’t one of them.

Those Who Don’t Know History Are Doomed to Become Ubisoft

While I could have made my peace with this little yet large request, there’s another reason for my concern. Ubisoft is not the best when it comes to managing its online infrastructure. Without holding back, Ubisoft is just plain bad at handling online connectivity. You should know that this isn’t the first time the company has pulled something like this.

This trend started with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and will continue with Star Wars: Outlaws. So, if anything else, Shadows is just the latest victim to join the roster. Unfortunately, Ubisoft applies bad online practices to its other titles, too.

The Crew official image
Image Courtesy: Ubisoft/The Crew

In 2010, the company launched a game called Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2. The game struggled with its always-online rule to even play it. Even to this date, the game struggles to run the single-player portion.

This was also the case when Assassin’s Creed 2 first launched on PC. An always-online requirement combined with a buggy launch hampered the entire experience. Ubisoft took its sweet time to make it playable. As of today, the game is at the mercy of the company’s client for even single-player playthroughs, and it occasionally crashes.

Even recently, Ubisoft delisted The Crew from all storefronts. And, if that wasn’t enough, people who paid for the game also had their copies removed. Instead of shedding its always-online requirement, they decided to sunset the game.

It might be that the company wants to enforce this because of the day-one patch. If that is the case, this should’ve been optional. Many games receive them, but unlike Assassin’s Creed Shadows, they allow you to install the unpatched version from a disc offline. If it is about online DRM, that doesn’t make sense either, as consoles have great security.

It again raises the question of why now. Why did they start this trend with the current generation of consoles? Alas, those are some questions only Ubisoft can answer. Hopefully, Ubisoft knows what it is doing.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows launches on November 15 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, with pre-orders for the game already open. Will you be getting it despite this news? Let us know in the comments below!

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