Darkspore (inaccessible action role-playing PC game; 2011-2016)
Darkspore was a 2011 Action RPG PC game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It was an indirect sequel to 2008's Spore, a creature creation game also developed by Maxis. The game's graphical style was far different from its predecessor, taking on a more realistic and dark style. The game was most infamous for its always-online DRM, requiring an internet connection even if someone wanted to play single player. This was put on top of already requiring Origin to run the game, which also required an internet connection at all times. On March 1st, 2016, Darkspore's servers were shut down, making the game entirely unplayable even with a physical copy of the game, as it still needs the servers to be up.
The gameplay of Darkspore was mostly single player, but it also featured online co-op and PvP (player vs. player) and was quite similar to Blizzard's Diablo series. Similar to Spore, it also had a "Hero Editor", which was the equivalent of Spore's "Creature Creator".
On March 1st, 2016, Electronic Arts announced that they were shutting down the game's servers. The closure was met with negative feedback, with Mark Richard of TechRaptor stating that the shutdown of Darkspore was "banishing the title from gaming history" and Clint Basinger of Lazy Game Reviews saying in a video review that, while he didn't like the game much, the game being shut down was "an assault on history". He also criticized the game's convoluted DRM system as well as DRM in general, stating that Darkspore was a reminder of the cons of DRM platforms such as Origin and Steam.
As previously stated, the game can't be played in any way currently, and unless EA/Maxis make an offline option available, bring back the servers, or another party somehow hacks the game to get past the DRM, it may never be playable again.
Recovery Attempt (Darkspore-LS)
On December 2018, Reddit user VitorMM wrote a topic about his attempts at making Darkspore work on a private server running on Python. After searching over the code, VitorMM discovered that, when trying to boot, Darkspore attempts to find the domain where the bootstrap is located, which Electronic Arts closed down back in 2016, thus leading to the connection error message. Since then, he has been hard at work making Darkspore playable once again by cracking down its in-game DRM. VitorMM states that his goal is to make all copies of Darkspore, whether they were bought on Steam, Origin or on disc, to be playable without the need of purchasing the game a second time. With time VitorMM gathered more programmers to help him work on making the game playable, with the project now under the name Darkspore-LS.
As of July 2019, the team behind Darkspore-LS has managed to make the "Play" button functionable and gaining access to the Login screen. While the team has already gained access to the Hero Editor, the game's single-player campaign is yet to be playable, either being connected to the Internet or offline.
- TechRaptor article on Darkspore's shutdown. Last retrieved 02 Jan '17.
- VitorMM's Reddit topic about cracking Darkspore's in-game DRM. Retrieved Jul' 29 2019
- Darkspore-LS' progress on making the game work offline Retrieved July 29th 2019