Players noticed something disturbing after the launch of the first episode of Hitman: if you save the game online and then go offline for any reason, you're out of luck: you can't access those online saves.

More disturbing, though, is the developer's reaction to those complaints: this is a feature of the game, meaning it's entirely intentional.

"It is possible to enjoy the locations offline, but in order to ensure player-progress of the live content is correct and up to date, the save states for online and offline are kept separate," an IO Interactive spokesperson said to Eurogamer.

IO Interactive made it clear early on that Hitman was a live interactive game, with the developer adding new locations, missions and contracts throughout the year, meaning that it's always a sort of work in progress.

"When we announced Hitman, we explained to fans and to gamers everywhere how we are creating a live game," said the spokesperson. "This is a constantly evolving, living world of assassination, that will grow alongside the community with frequent content updates in between the launch of each location. This live content includes new contracts, escalation contracts, elusive targets, and even additional challenges.

Although that sounds all well and good, there's just one massive problem with the concept: players will get kicked offline occasionally, either because of issues with their own Internet connections, or problems on the Square Enix servers' end. This "feature" means that, if players go offline, even temporarily, they can't access saves they made while online to keep playing the game's offline sections. That basically makes Hitman an online-only game.

Not only has this frustrated some gamers, but it could become more of an issue when longer missions and larger, more complex areas get added to the game: those might require more of a time commitment to play. Not only that, but some players already report that, when the game servers lose a connection, they get dumped back to Hitman's main menu.

So, although players can play Hitman offline, they can't play from their last save point if it they made it online. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but the developer insists that this is what the game intended, so it doesn't look like this will ever change.

Hitman's first episode is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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