Someone who has managed to get a physical PlayStation 5 copy of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora early has claimed they’re unable to start playing the game, which suggests you need to connect to the internet first even though it’s primarily a single-player game.
Reddit user Interesting-Squash81 shared a screenshot of what happens when they try to boot the game up. All they’re met with is a black screen with the game’s logo and release date of Dec. 7, even after changing the console’s date to past then.
This strongly implies the game requires either a day one patch or some kind of online check before it can start running. VGC also reports the game’s box art has the message “Internet required to install the game”—something that wasn’t present on early box art. Regardless, Ubisoft has made it impossible to start playing without connecting to the internet first, no doubt to help ensure anyone who gets their copy early can’t leak details online.
It does make some sense for Ubisoft to do this. This year alone, multiple major releases have broken their street dates, such as the Resident Evil 4 remake and Spider-Man 2 (thanks Push Square), allowing people to upload footage and spoilers ahead of launch. However, it’s also incredibly inconvenient for anyone with poor or even no internet connection, especially since Frontiers of Pandora is a single-player game and thus shouldn’t require mandatory online.
This is something that’s starting to become worryingly commonplace. EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, another single-player game, also demands you download a patch before playing. Elsewhere, Bethesda’s Redfall, while primarily a multiplayer game, won’t even let you play it solo unless you’re connected to the internet. What happens if, or when, the servers needed for these are shut down? Do these games people spent money on just become inoperable?
Best case scenario: Frontiers of Pandora‘s online check will be a one-time-only thing and you’ll be able to play offline afterwards. After all, the game has no online functionality besides a co-op option that lets you team up with another player. Dot Esports has contacted Ubisoft for clarification.