Infamous Video Game Leaker Admits To Pretending To Be A Japanese Woman For Clout

Infamous Video Game Leaker Admits To Pretending To Be A Japanese Woman For Clout

A hyper-passionate fan base. A notoriously secretive industry. And social media algorithms that encourage people to follow their worst impulses for 15 minutes of fame. It’s a volatile cocktail, and one that might explain why an infamous leaker who went by the name Midori lied about being a Japanese woman, when he was actually a disgraced leaker known as MysticDistance from many years ago.

I apologize if none of that quite scanned for you. Let’s rewind a bit. Heading into the Summer Game Fest and not-E3 2024 season, in which rumors fly about the state of various games, whether they’ll be shown, and what it means if we don’t hear about them, the Twitter account MbKKssTBhz5—which went by Midori—was posting all kinds of stuff with just enough accurate hits to make everyone take them seriously.

Midori had built up a reputation for being legit following leaks of stuff like Persona 5 Tactica DLC, Persona 3 Remake’s “The Answer” DLC, and a Sonic battle royal party game. But recently, the account started branching out into much bolder claims about Kingdom Hearts 4still being several years off after Geoff Keighley confirmed it wouldn’t be at Summer Game Fest, as well as codenames for several secret Nintendo projects, including the next Splatoon game. “Watching Midori post Nintendo leaks is like seeing Icarus progressively get closer to the sun,” wrote one person in a tweet that blew up near the beginning of the month.

But Midori wasn’t just posting reams of apparent insider information about upcoming video game releases from Japanese publishers, the account was also building up a persona of a female Japanese leaker engaged with a seemingly predominantly male American audience, one who ran a Discord and wrote in broken English. This was enough for some fans obsessed with Japanese games to develop a parasocial relationship with Midori, to the point where they were trying to calculate her age and asking her for her number.

“Thank you for friend requests,” Midori posted last October. “But I have a boyfriend, so I don’t want to date right now. You can date in Persona games, so you can do that instead. I hope you find cool girlfriend soon.” Adding to the mystery surrounding Midori, the character would frequently talk about getting out of video game leaking world altogether, before eventually coming back, most recently on Monday of this week.

“It is just stressful to continue because of conspiracies,” Midori wrote at the time. “So I am uncomfortable now. I think it is good to stop here.” The timing also happened to coincide with several incorrect predictions around Square Enix games showing up at the Xbox showcase, as well as Visions of Mana not coming to PlayStation 4 (the publisher confirmed earlier today that it was).

Now it turns out the only real conspiracy was that Midori was a mysterious new female leaker from Japan, and not apparently a white male Persona leaker previously known as MysticDistance. “The rumors about my identity that have started to spread and will continue to spread recently are correct information,” he posted on June 13. “It is only ironic that I am corroborating information that will almost assuredly end the long journey that has been had with this account.”

The confession was in response to an anonymous document going around accusing MysticDistance of faking their new identity and relying on old or incomplete sourcing to peddle new, unsubstantiated rumors. On social media, meanwhile, the leaker has been criticized for embracing racist caricatures to masquerade as someone they weren’t.

“The Midori persona as it is may not be a real person, but it is what I believe to be an accurate representation of a real person albeit in a particularly strange way that I wish I did not use,” MysticDistance wrote in response. “But it was never used to manipulate anyone or to appear more credible.” He denied that the leaks came from old presentations rather than current sources, and said the new account “liberated” him to embrace Sega and Atlus leaker fan culture in a way that his old reputation as MysticDistance did not.

“I won’t tell anyone what to feel or what I think they should do in this situation. That isn’t my place,” he wrote. “I know that there are people who are reading this post who feel betrayed. I will not invalidate your feelings or decision to walk away or voice your feelings.” MysticDistance also claimed that his existing leaks will still be proven accurate. “Over the coming months and years, more and more of the unannounced information I have posted will be revealed,” he continued. “Of course, some plans will probably change too. I hope everyone is excited for what they can expect from Atlus and Sega going forward.”

Midori is just the latest episode in a video game leaking culture saga that feels increasingly off the rails. As gaming companies pull back even further from early trailers and reveals, and fandoms for the hottest games become even more desperate for crumbs of new information, various leakers have tried to fill the gap, with varying degrees of success. In part that’s because business plans can be complex and constantly evolving. It might also have to do with a lot of supposed leakers getting one piece of good information, and then not being able to help themselves from trying to parlay it into an entire identity and Discord community. Midori did fly too close to the sun, and now his wings have melted, at least until another one of his older random predictions gets proven right again.

Midori, aka MysticDistance, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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