'Resident Evil 8: Village' Broken Due To DRM, Cracked Version Fixes It
from the your-game-on-crack dept
Any review of the stories we’ve done on DRM in video games will reveal two main categories as far as themes for those posts. The first is that DRM is laughably ineffective. DRM is an arms race that only ever has one winner: those who seek to circumvent it. Even the once-vaunted Denuvo DRM, thought, for some time, to be undefeatable, has now been reduced to being an industry joke. The other theme is how DRM has awful effects on paying customers and absolutely zero negative effects on those who commit copyright infringement. So, what is DRM? A useless platform used by video games with only one real impact: annoying paying customers.
But one point that often gets lost is that cracked versions of games that include annoying DRM aren’t just functioning as copyright infringement (though they certainly are primarily that), but also that these cracked versions can also be legitimately seen as fixing these broken games. For an example of this, one need only look at the PC gaming experience surrounding Resident Evil 8: Village, which is fundamentally broken on the PC for paying customers.
The background here is that Capcom actually layers two different DRM systems on the game, apparently as a method for making the game much harder to crack. Instead of being cracked at the time of release, in May, the game was only cracked here in July. The problem is that this 2 months worth of protection appears to have come at the cost of the game being able to keep up when players do very necessary things in a Resident Evil game like, oh say, shooting zombies.
The retail version includes easily reproducible scenarios where attacking an advancing zombie with a gun—something you do quite often in Resident Evil games—can trigger a visible on-screen stutter. In other words, the image freezes for a noticeable moment before the game catches up, and this can be seen in RTSS’s real-time graph as a spike.
Whatever Capcom and Denuvo worked up this time around seems to have evaded crackers’ efforts for much longer. That may have come at the price of guaranteed smooth performance—with gaming analysts like Digital Foundry’s Alex Battaglia maligning the game’s PC version. “This stuttering honestly leaves a very bad first impression for this game, as the pivotal moment of a first-person game with guns is shooting those guns,” Battaglia said shortly after RE8:V’s May 2021 launch. “If that is unsatisfying very often when you do it, then the game is doing something wrong.”
Notably, the cracked version has none of these stuttering issues. In other words, the crack, or more specifically the routing around of the DRM, simply fixes the game. Yes, it’s also a method for playing the game for free and thereby committing copyright infringement, but think about what this means in summary. Capcom released a game where the core gameplay element — shooting bad guys — doesn’t work right. The cracked version makes that core gameplay element works correctly. If you’re a paying customer of Capcom’s, where does this leave you?
Well, it leaves you in a place where the company you bought the game from has sold you an inferior product compared with the one the pirates are offering you for free. Does that make copyright infringement morally right? Absolutely not. But it is also not solid moral footing for the company to punish its paying customers for the crime of paying for the game as opposed to pirating it. Selling an inferior product is not a business strategy.
For what it’s worth, the guilty party in this equation looks more to be the Capcom side of the equation rather than Denuvo, but that doesn’t change the fact that something like 2 months worth of protection came at the cost of the paying customer. In what world does that make any sense at all?