Update: Ubisoft have deleted the forum post which was saying the DRM would not require an internet connection! Just removed it from history. Fortunately, we took a screenshot.
Update again!: Now the post is mysteriously back, with a disclaimer saying the details are being checked, and a statement should be coming shortly.
It's hard to know what to say. After their insisting that From Dust, the delayed PC version from Ubisoft, would not require an internet connection to launch after the first time, of course it does. It's impossible to launch From Dust, even from Steam in offline mode, without being online. Launching the game fires up their new Ubisoft Game Launcher, which refuses to work unless it can find a connection. And that's ignoring the fact that the game is in no way properly ported.
After someone alerted us to the GetGames site carrying a warning that you required a permanent internet connection to play, we got back in touch with Ubi on Monday to check. Came the reply,
"I can confirm that From Dust won’t require a constant internet connection, as before."
This obviously leaves things ambiguous. However, Ubisoft's forum manager, back on the 1st August, made a very clear statement on the matter, that's pinned to the top of the From Dust forums:
"We are aware of some confusion over the inclusion of DRM in the release of From Dust on PC.
To prevent any on-going confusion we would like to clarify From Dust PC will release with DRM requiring a one-time only online activation. After which you will be able to play the game offline.
We hope this clears any outstanding confusion on the matter"
They hoped wrong, sadly.
And then, the struggle to get the game to play (there are myriad issues being reported with the game, especially the menu screen's not loading which I experienced on one launch) isn't rewarded by a proper port. The first thing to notice is that the game is capped at 30fps. With PCs offering four times that, being locked off at a crappy console limit is good evidence of how little effort has gone into the PC version. Worse is the lack of options. Yes, it can be run in a window (for some reason not at the largest resolutions though), but beyond that you're on your own. Anti-aliasing? No chance. The game is made of staircases on a machine that could be making it look beautiful. So what were they doing during the eleventh hour delay?
What is this? Outright lying? Complete disarray at the company so no one knows what's going on? One maverick employee posting nonsense on the forum? Whatever it is, customers are being deceived and buying a product that comes with inherent flaws they've claimed wouldn't be there. Which is absolutely unacceptable.
Of course we have contacted Ubisoft to ask when the DRM will be removed, and whether the porting will ever be finished. In the meantime, we can only suggest that you do not buy From Dust.
Edit: It's worth noting that commenter Sheng-ji reports below that he was able to get a refund from Steam over this.
Also, Ubisoft are now suggesting that you contact their support team to pursue refunds.