Pardo was in good spirits when we spoke to him yesterday afternoon when I touched on the controversial subject, which has spawned a wave of forum rage and countless petitions calling for the reinstatement of feature. "You're the first person who asked me about that this weekend," he joked. When I asked if the company was still receiving flack over the decision, his good humour continued. "Only from you guys. Only from the press. Everyone else has accepted it."
Once I finished giggling, Rob got down to brass tacks.
"Everyone is going to give us flack until it's out. None of us is going to know how big a deal it is until it's out. We believe that it's really not that big of a deal - that most people are not really going to notice that it's missing. There's a lot of people out there I think that are just afraid that they're suddenly not going to be able to connect to the internet tonight and they won't be able to play. I actually think that case is extremely rare, and I think we're going to be okay."
And what of the rare cases where no direct-connection option wouldn't be okay?
"There's a few legitimate cases that we're going to try and address over time. Location-based tournaments, or let's say I'm in a dorm with a firewall or something like that, hopefully there's a way to determine that and maybe start a peer-to-peer game."
So it really doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but as Pardo said, we won't really know until the game comes out.