The iconic Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 recently released a significant update that enables offline play. Previously, the Steam version of the game required a constant internet connection, even for solo play and local multiplayer. Yet, in an unexpected move, the offline feature is only available on Valve's handheld device, the Steam Deck.
The update comes three years after the game's debut on the Epic Games Store, where it also required a consistent internet connection to play. The launch of the augmented version of the skateboarding classic on Steam was celebrated by gamers. However, the continuation of the always-online requirement for the Steam release stirred some frustration.
The recent 1.1 patch for the Steam version, however, now allows players to bust their favourite skating moves without needing an internet connection. The change primarily benefits Steam Deck users, who can now venture beyond their home Wi-Fi networks without interrupting their gaming sessions.
On the one hand, it's a practical choice - the Steam Deck travels well and is likely to be used in areas without reliable Wi-Fi access. On the other hand, it's perplexing to some why offline play has not been made available for all PC users. The shift towards offline play on the handheld device raises questions about why all Steam players or even PC players in general cannot enjoy the same flexibility.
Some speculate that the move signifies a kind of favouritism towards the Steam Deck, which boasts a sleek, skateboard-like aesthetic. Generally, it’s admired for its design, and game developers are known to make an effort to optimize their games for the handheld gadget. For example, Cyberpunk 2077 features a Steam Deck-specific preset in its graphic options.
However, making basic quality-of-life improvements exclusive to one platform has been viewed by some as an unusual move. This parity-breaking decision goes against the grain, raising eyebrows throughout the gaming community.
Despite this, there are hopes that the offline play feature won't remain exclusive to the Steam Deck. Some gamers are hopeful that Activision Blizzard, the game publisher that recently received $68.7 billion, will see the merits of expanding the offline player base for THPS 1 + 2.
Despite the controversy regarding the offline feature, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 has received praise and positive reviews. Notably, it was once named as one of 2020's best games by vidbud Colm, who complimented the game's playability, stating it played as well as he remembered the original games.
As the popularity of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 continues to grow, this latest update marks a significant leap forward in the game's evolution. However, it also serves as a reminder of the complexities that arise when striving to balance progress with accessibility and equality in the gaming world. The offline play controversy presents an opportunity for a more inclusive approach to future game updates that benefit all players, regardless of the device they use.
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