Imagine you’re a publisher, and there’s a problem with the copy protection on the Direct2Drive version of your game. You don’t have time to/can’t be bothered chasing up the unprotected executable for the title (which you should have in easy reach), so you just browse to your favourite crack search engine, whack in the game’s title, and download the appropriate hack.
According to a thread over at Ubisoft’s forums, this is exactly what the publisher did with Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. A savvy user opened the latest game executable (v1.03) in a hex editor, and found the tag for a crack group known as “Reloaded“. The patch responsible was once available from Ubisoft’s support site, but has since been removed… which doesn’t look good for the company.
The only official comment so far has come from a community manager:
We’re looking into this further as this was not the UK Support team that posted this, however if it is an executable that does not need the disc I doubt it has come from an external source. There’d be very little point doing so when we already own the original unprotected executeable [sic] .
As soon as we find out more about this we’ll let you know.
It makes sense – copy protections such as SafeDisc and SecuROM “wrap” the original game executable so they can load whatever mechanisms they need into memory to analyse the disc, before decrypting the game code and running it. This, however, doesn’t explain the Reloaded tag.
Update: Another comment from the same community manager:
The file was removed from the site over a week ago now and the matter is being thoroughly investigated by senior tech support managers here at Ubisoft.
Needless to say we do not support or condone copy protection circumvention methods like this and this particular incident is in direct conflict with Ubisoft’s policies.
R6Vegas2_Fix.zip is the same as the ReLoaded no-dvd crack
[Ubisoft forums, via Blue's News]