- Rockstar Games has been caught once again selling pirated copies of its game on Steam. The company was selling a cracked version of Midnight Club 2 until 2021 when its sale was eventually stopped.
- As the modder Silent discovered on Twitter, the cracked version used for sale purposes was pirated back in 2003. The game is still using the Razor 1911 signature that was used in the pirated version.
- The company possibly did this because it was going to be quite a hassle to remove the old DRM used in the game. It instead downloaded the cracked version and started selling it on Steam for convenience.
- Rockstar Games has done this a few times with its games in the past. It also sold the cracked copies of Manhunt and Max Payne 2 on Steam, which were similarly full of quite annoying issues.
In a weird find, Rockstar Games is apparently selling cracked versions of its games on Steam. In other words, the company seems to have downloaded pirated copies to sell them ahead as legit versions on the platform — the finding has surely rubbed gamers the wrong way. The situation becomes even weirder considering the huge swaths of work devs do, like using Denuvo DRM to prevent titles from getting cracked in the first place.
The olden Midnight Club 2 on Steam is using the pirated version of the game. As uncovered by the modder Silent on Twitter, the cracked version used for sale purposes was seemingly pirated back in 2003. The scene group “Razor 1911” was responsible for the piracy two whole decades ago.
— Silent (@__silent_) September 3, 2023
The Hex editor used by the modder shows that the Midnight Club 2 is apparently still laden with the Razor 1911’s signature. Rockstar Games just decided to roll with the cracked version and started selling it on Steam instead of using the original version of the game. It is worth noting that the game is no longer being sold by the company on Steam as of 2021. But it does not change the fact that Rockstar sold pirated copies for several years.
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The exact cause behind why Rockstar Games is selling cracked copies of its games is unclear, but a few theories could explain it. The dominant reason currently is that Rockstar Games did not want to expend resources on removing the old DRM the title was using. Instead, it opted for a half-handed approach and just downloaded the cracked version to sell it on the platform.
Midnight Club 2 was reportedly full of issues on Steam — especially with launching the client — but these problems are not even the fault of the pirated version. The Steam’s native DRM and Rockstar Games’ failing to detect the potential conflicts occurring in the title were the culprits. The cracked game seems to work fine on its own.
This gets better – Razor's crack is fine, the reason both Midnight Club 2 and Manhunt crashed when these cracks were in use was the fact that Steam DRM included a .bind section that was code *not* marked as code – thus tripping Data Execution Prevention 🤦♂️
— Silent (@__silent_) September 3, 2023
Rockstar Games has been known to indulge in this fiasco in the past, with titles like Manhunt and Max Payne 2. Manhunt is also inflicted with similar issues that make it a bug-filled mess. The aforementioned games are full of soft locks or bugs because of the pirated versions. A wave of gamers have come forward to call out Rockstar Games for taking advantage of piracy in certain situations while it openly speaks against it.
The company and its publisher, Take-Two, take a hard stance even against mods for its games. It regularly strikes down popular mods and restricts the community. The community alleges that it seems quite hypocritical for the devs to use pirated versions — with a wobbly implementation — instead of the original copies of the sold entries. Some other users have pointed out the need for piracy and how it serves game preservation so well.
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