‘Guilty Gear Strive’ streamers can’t play the game without getting hacked

‘Guilty Gear Strive’ streamers can’t play the game without getting hacked

Ramlethal Valentine, a brown-skinned young woman wearing a white military uniform, brings her massive swords down on the enemy.

Screenshot of ArcSystemworks

Guilty Gear Strive has become one of the most popular fighting games in recent times. It has also become completely unplayable for streamers, due to a recently discovered exploit that, among other things, allows hackers to remotely crash the games of other players.

This is particularly problematic given the game’s importance to the modern Fighting Game Community (FGC), evidenced by the fact that the game had more than 2,000 entries at EVO, the world’s largest fighting game tournament, nearly doubling the next most popular game, Street Fighter V. This popularity has arisen from the game’s best-in-class graphics, accessibility to fighting game newcomers, and the legacy of Guilty Gear franchise. It was my personal gateway to fighting games, for example.

An important part of that introduction to the genre, and to any given game, is watching the streams and videos of professional players, who can explain game mechanics, character strategies, and provide communities that new players can go to for advice or coaching. Struggle was popularized, in no small part, by Twitch, with its EVO final reaching more than 100,000 concurrent viewers on the platform.

The exploit, which became a serious problem around Christmas 2022 when it was used to target streamers, allows hackers to remotely change the names of other players in the middle of a match, causing their games to crash. There are dozens of clips of streamers getting knocked out of a match, only to have to close the game from the task manager. Hackers can also force streamers to send in-game chat messages, and, following Struggle pro Hotashicreate memory leaks that can affect performance in Training, Arcade and Dojo modes, until the game becomes unplayable.

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Hackers appear to be using “R codes”, which are unique codes that contain information about a given player, including name, match history and statistics. At first, streamers started hiding their R-codes while on stream, hoping to prevent the hackers from targeting them. But Guilty Gear Strive lets you follow other players, letting you know when they’re online and what they’re doing – meaning once you’ve been followed by a hacker, there’s not much you can do other than start a new account or play the game offline.

This exploit is particularly frustrating because of its timing. ArcSystemworks, the game’s developer, is hosting a $200,000 prize pool Struggle tournament later this year, for which top players must qualify by performing well at other events, the latest of which, Frosty Faustings, is next month. This means that streamers have their practice time ruined by hackers during the most important period before a big tournament, risking their chances of qualifying for the ArcSystemworks tournament, and the chance of $200,000.

At the time of publication, ArcSystemworks has not released an update for the game to address this issue, two weeks after its discovery. This, in addition to stability issues resulting from the recent addition of crossplay to Struggleputs the game, the community and the developers in a difficult position at the worst possible time.

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