To Ashes: From Dust’s DRM Removed

They're happy. You can tell.

Ding dong, the witch is dead! As promised, Ubisoft have now removed the legitimate consumer-punishing always-on DRM from the disappointing PC port of their strategy/puzzle/sorta-god game From Dust. Let Steam auto-update it and the unpleasant eggy stench of a constant internet requirement will be gone, plus it’ll grab your savegames from Ubi’s servers and sync them to your PC.

Alas, the patch doesn’t fix any of From Dust PC’s other problems, but at least the headline-generating publisher has made good on its word about the copy protection and now you’re free to play the game while on the move or if you’re a victim of a flaky web connection.

I’d like to hope that it signals a broader u-turn on a system that has been deeply unpopular and entirely unnecessary all along, but we mistakenly thought that back when RUSE shipped without it. We shall see, eh?


  1. Lazaruso says:

    Oh no! Now pirates will be able to pirate it and Ubisoft won’t make any money because no one buys games that can be pirated!

    Oh wait. Screw Ubisoft. If they remove it from all their games and don’t release any more with it… then I might think about pissing on them if they were on fire. I might.

    /Angry Internet Man-Boy

    • Bingo Bango says:

      They’re not that bad. I got a refund (monetary! Not even Steam World Coins) on my copy of From Dust at Ubisoft’s request, because I complained to Steam Support that I felt the game was misrepresented.

      edit: clarities

    • SprintJack says:

      Actualy, pirates were playing it OFFLINE since one day after the release…

    • Cinek says:

      Yep. Pirates were able to play game in like… 2 hours after release without any internet connection. In about 3-4 days there was released a pirated version that removed requirement for this stupid ubisoft spy-tool installed on your PC that takes cares of updates and your account crap or without Steam soft running. So pirates actually could play a game not bothering with tons of external apps doing nothing useful.

      When I got known of this I felt VERY relieved that haven’t spent a single cent to support Ubisoft and their.. ekhm… products.

    • Zulthar says:

      Pirates could actually play this game before europeans could. My pirate friend made fun of me for paying for a game :(

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      Our reputation is nonexistant so we can’t damage it, even with idiotic posts like these.
      Please come and order some random words, satisfaction guaranteed. Any word you like we send.

      Free ships and paypals accepted

    • 4026 says:

      Oh, look, that post’s got stars in it so it’s an obvious spambot. I’ll just hit ‘block’ and move o-

      Hang on, hang on, what?

    • Burning Man says:

      *wipes tear* That’s the best spam I’ve ever had the privilege of being exposed to. Well done, you wonderful bot you.

    • mandrill says:

      “I’m not a robot, I’m a unicorn”

  2. Armante says:

    wow. about time. let’s hope it carries on through their games.

    I’ll consider picking it up now. In the next Steam sale

    • sPOONz says:

      Exactly my thoughts. Ive a self imposed ban on anything with DRM. Unfortunately as the game didnt fair so well on the review front I’ll be waiting for a sale also.

    • theleif says:

      You only buy from GOG then, cause afaik. it’s the only online store without DRM on their games.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Actually, the other stores besides Steam Ive used don’t add any additional DRM that isn’t put there by the publisher, unless you broaden your definition to include having to download and unlock it from the store. Steam is the only store with additional “always on” DRM I use. Haven’t used Gamers Gate in quite a while, or Impulse since the Gamestop sale, though. Perhaps things are different now.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Buy it on sale, then hit pirate bay and download the off-line crack for it – it’s a great game but ya, the online shit has to go.

  3. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah, RUSE shipped without it, but it also came with no LAN support.

    This DRM is horrible, but we also need back some of those features we’ve always had. Even MW3 is restoring LAN support! (assuming Robert Bowling is not lying to us AGAIN).

  4. terry says:

    Sweet, maybe in a couple of months we’ll get graphics options!

  5. kregg says:

    As soon as I saw “ding dong”, I thought of that level in Left4Dead.

    But back to news, this is good news, but far too late. That, and like Mr Meer said, the PC port is plagued with issues. I have a friend who described to me that the controls are basically far more suited to a controller than a K&M combo, and the max screen resolution is just frankly pathetic.

    I’ll just reinstall Populous The Beginning. Save me money and disappointment.

    • Squishpoke says:

      Your friend had trouble moving the mouse to where he wanted to go?

    • Aemony says:

      Regarding the resolution.. WTF are you talking about? The game automatically detected my 2560×1440 resolution and applied it, works flawlessly on it as well… And if Steam’s Hardware survey is anything to go after (which it is), only 0.67% of all of their users have this resolution… So… WTF are you on about?

    • Hardtarget says:

      sooo many things wrong with this post
      first, you should have thought of The Wizard of Oz and not Left 4 Dead, good god man.

      Second the mouse works fine, especially if you turn off mouse scrolling. yes the control could be better, but it’s not like it’s broken.

      Third, the resolution will go up to anything you want it to, the game runs very nice at 1920×1080 on my monitor.

    • evilmatt says:

      1920×1080 is teeny tiny these days. Try 5760×1080, From Dust has a heart attack at the mere mention of that.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      evilmatt – is that a triple monitor set-up? Otherwise, that’s a weird shaped screen!

    • Cinek says:

      Yes, he surely has a weird shaped monitor. It’s most possible option.

    • evilmatt says:

      Yep, triple monitors. But thanks to wonderful driver jiggery-pokery, Windows (and by extension the games I run on it) only see one display at the graphics-RAM-meltingly high resolution of 5760×1080, which is a joy to behold in the few games that support it such as Deus Ex HR. I defy anyone to try it and then not want it for themselves. It’s probably the best technology unique to PC gaming nowadays, and I personally think PC-centric sites such as this one could do with promoting it more as it’s just so damn cool.

    • PanzerVaughn says:

      I thought of Wizard of Oz, but now i wish i had thought of L4D.

  6. Squishpoke says:

    Thank goodness, because Ubisoft’s servers were actually down at one point, which made me angry.

    Also, I find the game rather good. Controls are not what people are making it out to be… it’s pretty easy to just move around with your mouse and pressing q or e to rotate if necessary. Those that complain might need to have their brains examined for stubbornness.

    And being locked at 30fps is a non-issue, since the game is not a fast-paced bug/manshoot with adrenaline injected directly into your testicles. Instead, you are calmly moving dirty balls around to fill up holes. You don’t need 60fps for that.

    • Lazaruso says:

      Is it a game about playing God or playing a pornstar? :/

    • Aninhumer says:

      You can use the argument “you don’t need it” to remove almost any graphical feature. I still think it’s shoddy not to offer the baseline graphical options that almost every other game in the world seems to manage.

  7. pistolhamster says:

    Great. I had a good 10 hours of fun with it and thought it a pity that the game gained so much infamy. Completef it WITH drm so I wont even benefit from this patch. But I certainly hope the opinion of the game will.

    • Cinek says:

      10 hours of fun? Gash… my friend completed it in ~3h.

    • Kadayi says:


      Are you accusing him of lying there?

    • Unaco says:


      I don’t think it’s an accusation of lying. More, he’s commenting that 10 hours seems a little on the high side from what he’s heard, and 3 hours is what he has heard from a friend. You know the whole “Your mileage may vary” thing? He’s simply giving some extra perspective on the matter, a different viewpoint, an alternative source… that, perhaps, the game is NOT a definite “10 Hours of Fun”, and that it may be less than this. Putting together the 10 Hour and 3 Hour figures, someone reading these comments (perhaps interested in the game) could perhaps judge how much time they may get from the game (somewhere between 3 and 10 hours). It’s extra data.

      To add some more data to this… From what I’ve heard, a friend picked it up for his XBox and he finished it that first night, in about 4 or so hours. He was quite appalled and phoned me to voice his anger and disgust (and to remind me he still possesses my MegaDrive with my copy of Populus, and that he might try and get it working some time). He didn’t even really have fun with it until the last level, but by that time he had realised it was the last level, so he was a little too angry to enjoy the fun. Shame.

    • Kadayi says:


      the @ means it’s a directed question.

    • Unaco says:


      So? What? Am I not allowed to give my opinion? To ‘comment’ on something, here in the comments section? I do apologise… I didn’t realise this was your domain, and everything must be exactly as you demand it to be. I didn’t realise there was such limited space here on the internet, and my reasonable reply is superfluous because you want a response from him and him only.

    • Torgen says:

      I play every level until I get the 100% vegetation state, so it takes at least three times as long to do some levels. I do feel that 75% of the original game has been stripped out though, as there is (as far as I can tell) ZERO explanation of what the “tribal memories” you’re collecting are- they don’t even have names!

  8. DevilSShadoW says:

    This was one of my most anticipated titles of the season. Thankfully (divine inspiration) I put off preordering until I read some reviews. Best decision ever. Now that the DRM problem is dealt with I’m waiting on a proper PC patch that adds never before seen features like AA and other things that we’ve never had before.

    • Hardtarget says:

      don’t hold your breath on that patch, if you think the concept of the game sounds fun then get it, I’ve quite enjoyed it.

  9. elnalter says:

    those left behind games seem more appealing lol

    • theleif says:

      NO they are not. Yesterday, out of some morbid interest, I started to play Rise of the Antichrist, but after the third loading screen telling me evolution is a lie, I gave up. And I had only gone through the tutorial.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      I wonder of FOX News is ever going to react to those games. Probably not (or if they do, it’ll be nothing but praise from “parents” and “experts”)

  10. Teddy Leach says:

    Thanks, Ubibum. Could you please grow up now?

  11. Calneon says:

    This will be standard on most of the games releases. They put the DRM up initially to deter pirates (mostly people who share copies) for a few weeks, and then remove it once the they think they have forced enough pirates to buy the game.

    Don’t take this as a sign that they think any less of the DRM, or won’t use it anymore.

    • Prime says:

      Precisely. While I’m glad the DRM has been removed the larger issues of buying from a company that actively treats their PC customers like potential criminal scum still remain. Until we see a general statement announcing they will permanently end this ludicrously over-the-top DRM scheme, until they state that PC releases will occur concurrently with console releases and not be mysteriously delayed with only four weeks to go, until PC releases are crafted with at least a nod to the PC’s vastly superior control and graphical capabilities…until all this happens than I shall not be spending a penny on a Ubisoft game, Steam sale or otherwise.

      I’ve had enough of them. Time to spend my money with people far more deserving of it.

    • Kadayi says:

      Oh the tyranny.

      Maybe I’m crazy, but what excites me about games are the experiences. I have to wonder how invested in the actual playing of games a person is when you make such forthright declarations. I mean, I’m no fan of Rupert Murdoch and actively don’t subscribe to Sky or buy his news papers, but I’m not going to swear off watching films made my 20th Century Fox any time, because what matters to me is the film not whose behind it.

  12. ix says:

    I really wish other publishers would follow this lead. I’d like to play Spore at some point but EA still hasn’t removed the DRM on it. On the steam page it actually says it only allows one single install, I’m pretty sure that’s insane, right?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I don’t see that anywhere on the spore page on steam but if it is there, that is insane.

    • ix says:

      Ah woops, it’s related to online registration apparently, not install. I do not find any mention of limited install DRM and wikipedia states it hasn’t been on the Steam version since 2008, though I could have sworn it was on there.

      Anyway, might snap it up in the next sale then.

  13. Eclipse says:

    too little, too late. They don’t seem to be interested in fixing the PC version issues.

    • Cinek says:

      They don’t cause game didn’t sale well on a PC so why bother? What’s the point? It won’t restore lost PR, at least: no more than removing the DRM.

    • Eclipse says:

      This is the kind of PC title that could sell a lot. Strategy on PC sells, it’s a no brainer. The game sold very well on Steam during preorder, it went off the top 10 sellers only after they released that crappy mess. It will sell a lot more with a proper patch, and it’s something the developer can do in two days worth of work

  14. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:

    Let Steam auto-update it and the unpleasant eggy stench of a constant internet requirement will be gone,

    Since steam requires a constant internet connection (with the offline mode being broken half the time) I hardly see how this is an improvement.

    • Unaco says:

      A lot of games bought on Steam, can easily be ran offline or without Steam running at all, by finding and running the game .exe itself (rather than the shortcut, which tries to run through Steam). I don’t know if From Dust will allow this though.

  15. Derppy says:

    When I saw my Steam updating it I got kind of hyped. “Finally they fixed it!”.

    Then I saw the notes, always online DRM removed. It’s a good thing, but it doesn’t make the game itself any better. 30 FPS lock, lack of proper video settings, mouse control that feels like using a gamepad… It’s one of the worst ports ever.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    Nice! I may even forgive them if they remove U(Don’t)Play from more of their titles so I can buy them. I’m going to have a lot of Assasin’s Creed to catch up on if they remove the DRM from all of them at once (I currently only have the first one).

    “Alas, the patch doesn’t fix any of From Dust PC’s other problems”

    Eh. It’s only been a few weeks and they had to shove the DRM free version through QA before fixing anything else. I’ll give them a pass for now on technical grounds.

  17. Iskariot says:

    Ubisofts DRM policy is making me dizzy.