Players who purchased their copy of the beat’em-up Streets of Rage 4 off of GOG.com have been sucker punched with some fine print. While the game supports local 4-player co-operative play regardless of the storefront, online 2-player co-op is restricted to copies purchased on Steam.
When a fan asked developer Lizardcube through Twitter when they could expect online play, the developer replied, “Unfortunately the GOG version of the game won’t be supporting online features.”
The store page on GOG.com has the following disclaimer, “Please note that at this time, the DRM-Free version supports local co-op only with up to 4 players. The 2-player online mode is not available.” Lizardcube’s response, however, seems to foreclose any possibility of online play ever coming to the game in the future, specifically if it was purchased on GOG.com, which makes a point of selling games without DRM.
For gamers, this is particularly irritating since the price point on both Steam and GOG.com is the same, currently $24.99 USD. And given the quarantine and social distancing measures that many are still operating under around the world, it seems odd to allow for a local co-op mode which some people can’t effectively utilize while separated from family and friends.
It is possible the decision did not come from Lizardcube, but rather from publisher Dotemu, or perhaps Sega (who owns the rights to Streets of Rage). One has to question why the publisher or Sega would make such a decision if they knew GOG.com’s position on DRM, and why anyone involved in the release would allow a stripped down version of the game to be sold at full price.
Streets of Rage 4 was released April 30 for PC, Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There has been no online issues with console versions of the game.
In a statement to GameLuster, GOG.com clarified that: “the DRM-free version of Streets of Rage 4 supports local co-op for up to 4 players only. The 2-player online mode is not available. We are in contact with the publisher and in talks about adding this mode in the foreseeable future.”