Just over 18 months ago, Capcom launched Steel Battalion: Line of Contact, the online-only sequel to its controversial Xbox game Steel Battalion. Besides having to spend $199 for the first game and its massive 40-button controller, the $50 Line of Contact required players to subscribe to Xbox Live to take on other players, bringing the total startup cost of the game to around $300.
Besides the usual battle royale, capture the container, and conquest missions featured in the game's "free mission" mode, Line of Contact also sported an innovative campaign mode. The campaign mode was the game's main draw, as it allowed teams of up to 10 players to join in mission-based competition for control of enemy strongholds. It was also essential to advancing in the game. Players begin Line of Contact with access to only four out of 31 of the game's mechs, or "VTs" (Vertical Tanks), and just three out of the game's 24 maps. To unlock to the rest, they must make progress in the game's campaign mode.
Unfortunately, today Steel Battalion players learned that, as of the end of the month, Line of Contact's campaign mode will be going offline permanently. A post on Capcom's official bulletin board announced the decision, saying, "As of Friday September 30th, 10:00AM-12:00PM PST, Capcom will be ending the online services for Campaign Mode of Steel Battalion. We appreciate your continued support of our product, and sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may cause."
When contacted by GameSpot, a Capcom representative said, "Current user base conditions are at a level where it is no longer feasible for us to continue the campaign mode service." The rep added that the company "will continue Xbox Live services and support for free mission mode."
As for Line of Contact players who want to access content that can only be unlocked by playing the campaign mode, Capcom reps would not rule out some sort of patch that would make it accessible. "We are currently evaluating that option," the rep told GameSpot.
Whatever Capcom's actions, it will do little to stem the wave of outrage that has swept through the Steel Battalion community. Numerous posts both on the official Capcom forums and on fan sites, such as Lineofcontact.net, demanded refunds and/or called for players to contact Xbox customer support to voice their objections over the campaign mode's cancellation.
For more on what the campaign mode currently offers, read GameSpot's full review of Steel Battalion: Line of Contact.