Update: A new update from Square Enix has resolved the issue.
Original Story continues below
It's rare that you see an online requirement being added to a product several years after release, but a variety of Steam users are up in arms after an update to Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster has left the game unplayable unless you are online at the time. Specifically, the game will not launch from the launcher provided by Square Enix in order to start the game when in an offline mode. Members of TechRaptor staff have tested the claims of the online requirement and found that the game does fail to launch from the games provided launcher if you are not connected online when you launch the game. If the game is already launched and you go lose internet, you seem to be fine with the game continuing to run.
A patch that occurred on March 7th, 2019 has seemingly brought some unreported functionality, despite the patch notes only indicating that minor bugs were fixed. This occurs 3 years after the original release of the game on May 12th, 2016. This was functionality that was working at one time, even in the early stages of the game's release. What should be noted is that the idea of the online requirement being added was indicated by some users as early as March 8th, 2019, but only has recently resulted in a review bombing of the title due to the seemingly unreported requirement. There has been no official indication by Square Enix that this requirement has been added, and those trying to work with support to get their game to work have indicated that support staff are unaware of any new online tethering that had been added to the game, suggesting it is possible that it is a mistaken addition to the game.
There is a workaround for those who want to play the game offline at the moment, as there is a way to downgrade version with the process listed here until further notice. Additionally, if you are wanting to play with mods, it is also advised at this time that you downgrade the version as very few have updated to work with the newest version.
This does also seem to be a scenario that tests the new review policies that Steam has put forward regarding review bombs. It is specifically called out that DRM is not an item that will be considered a legitimate reason to allow a review bomb to count, but this could end up being a different scenario with the requirement being added after the fact, and its existence not being reported on by Square Enix. Only time will tell how Valve, or Square Enix for that manner, will handle this.
TechRaptor has reached out to Square Enix regarding the issue and will update everyone when we receive any official word regarding the new requirement and update this article accordingly.