GOG have pulled Hitman from sale. The bald assassin joined the DRM-free digital shop in September, but was met with damning reviews. That's because, while theoretically DRM-free, Hitman relies on online connectivity for a lot of its features to work. In pulling the game offline, GOG apologised, saying that they "shouldn't have released it in its current form."
Hitman's store page on GOG had a warning at the top, reportedly added shortly after launch, which noted that "Internet connection is required to access Escalation missions, Elusive Targets or user-created Contracts. Story and bonus missions can be played offline."
Users were quick to point out in dozens of negative reviews that an internet connection was also required to unlock new equipment, starting locations and outfits. Those are pretty fundamental features of Hitman's excellent murder sandboxes.
"Thank you for your patience and for giving us the time to investigate the release of HITMAN GOTY on GOG," wrote GOG in a post on their forum yesterday. "We're still in dialogue with IO Interactive about this release. Today we have removed HITMAN GOTY from GOG’s catalog – we shouldn’t have released it in its current form, as you’ve pointed out."
"We’d like to apologise for the confusion and anger generated by this situation. We’ve let you down and we’d like to thank you for bringing this topic to us – while it was honest to the bone, it shows how passionate you are towards GOG."
In the wake of Hitman receiving so many negative reviews, GOG had initially riled its community further by stating that they would not tolerate "review bombing." They later clarified that only reviews that breached their review policy would be removed.
This is yet another shame surrounding the recent trilogy of Hitman games, all of which are excellent but which seem to trip over themselves at every opportunity. Hitman 3 - which is excellent, and basically contains Hitman 1 & 2 - ruffled feathers on launch because it's an Epic exclusive that initially didn't play nice with progress from previous games made on Steam.
Hopefully GOG's ongoing conversations with IO Interactive mean that one day a version of the game will be available that's less dependent on an internet connection.