Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bioshocked 2: Return of the horribly draconian DRM

The day has come, mothers gather your children, fathers lock up your female offsprings or commit homicide among your loved ones (whichever is more convenient), I'm just gonna say it right now: other publishers could really learn a bit from present day EA.

What's that? The world is still here, no explodey action... well then I'm in trouble. Imagine me, thinking I wouldn't have to put any effort into writing an actual explanation after spouting this heresy. Drats.

Bioshock 2 has finally unveiled it's DRM scheme now and after most of the reasonable world warming up to the thought of not totally locking down games for paying customers, 2K Games finally comes out of the closet and admits it: they're not part of the reasonable world.

It has been known for a long time that BS2 would use Games for Windows LIVE - in part because of its excellent and seamless integration of multiplayer I guess. It seems ridiculous to have Digital Extremes (THE Digital Extremes) work on a completely separate game that relies on multiple participants and the effectively strangle it within the womb by removing dedicated servers, a server browser and all those goodies that GfWL obfuscates or simply omits. But that's not all. Let's be optimistic and say DE deliver a must-have multiplayer experience, it's half-life will still be closer to 6 months than to a year.

And what must my eyes read this morning? The game's not undesirable enough. It seems to me that whoever coughed up the initial Bioshock DRM was so high up in the chain of command that repercussions were essentially inexecutable on that sad, miserable individual. High enough to be able to spoil Borderlands and its DLCs with the same taint at least. And now, this unperson strikes again. Oh how he must enjoy being unpopular! Yes, there will be SecuROM. Yes, there will be a 5 machine activation limit.

I imagine Ken Levine, and I imagine him weeping lightly. Weeping in unison with Jordan Thomas and all the fine folk at 2K Marin, DE and associates. Back then there was a lot of hate towards the developers of the first game when really, it wasn't their fault their studio was called 2K Boston and their publisher/overlord is 2K Games. 2K != 2K in this case, see? Good that they were allowed to revert back to their true name - Irrational Games. Maybe 2K Marin will have the chance to choose a nice name for themselves? Maybe Reflective Surface? (See what I did there...)

Anyway. This, coupled with their already announced "aggressive DLC plans" (= heavy wallet abuse) has led me to cancel my preorder of the Collector's Edition. No score, Art Book or retro poster can gloss over those flaws. Too bad. I'd say in about a year, when SecuROM has inevitably been patched out and the DLC will be available bundled with the equally inevitable Complete / GotY Edition, we can start negotiating again.

Ah, frig! Back to that EA thing. Yeah, I'll take mandatory registration and First-Day-DLC à la Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 any day over this abominable lockdown. Apropos Mass Effect 2, I can't wait to get my hands on the Collector's Edition...

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