Titanfall 2 hasn’t exactly had a hot girl summer. Since May, hackers have regularly hit Respawn Entertainment’s first-person shooter with direct denial of service (DDOS) attacks, making the game virtually unplayable. The situation hit a fever pitch yesterday, when viral social posts suggested hackers could actually obtain control of players’ computers. But Respawn, which acknowledged security concerns, said the issue was overblown.
An Update: We’re still investigating this issue but our engineers believe that we’re dealing with a simple exploit that can be used to crash games.— Respawn (@Respawn) September 9, 2021
We do not believe there are any more serious risks to affected players or their machines.
We’ll update again as we learn more.
This hooplah happened as these things always do: through an unwieldy game of Telephone. One message in particular — posted by Twitter user @WorkAsIntended, citing a Discord post by user DirecXeon, who quoted Titanfall 2 content creator Blueghost — laid out the crux of the issues:
Basically someone discovered the temporary file that Titanfall/Origin uses for the game invites has a size cap. If the username of the person who invited you is larger than that size cap, it’ll start overwriting other files to save the name. Once it gets outside of that specific temporary file, though, your computer starts treating it as an executable code instead of a username. And because that is directly on your computer, it can edit the other files on your computer.
That sparked a flurry of social media posts from players urging others to uninstall Titanfall 2 posthaste. But after investigating the issue, Respawn said such a move wasn’t necessary, and that the exploit only makes Titanfall 2 crash. In a follow-up to a since-deleted Tweet, popular Titanfall fan account Titanfall4Ever told players they needn’t uninstall the game.
Titanfall 2 isn’t the only Respawn game to suffer hack attacks. Earlier this summer, Apex Legends was hacked by Titanfall fans who believed Respawn wasn’t doing enough to support Titanfall 2. Those hacks prevented players from getting into matches, forced them into a “SaveTitanfall” playlist, and directed them to a website dedicated to raising awareness about Titanfall 2’s sorry state. Those hackers ostensibly succeeded at one thing: making devs work on a holiday. Later, the community discovered that the whole thing was really a false flag operation designed to secure Titanfall’s source code in the efforts of getting Titanfall Online, a cancelled free-to-play game, online. It was a mess.
Kotaku reached out to EA, Titanfall 2’s publisher, for comment about this week’s hacks but did not immediately hear back.