Red Dead Redemption 2 has been cracked after more than a year on the PC. The game is a massive title, and it likely took crackers crawling through the code nullifying multiple layers of DRM to achieve. The game uses Denuvo DRM, which is already notoriously hard to crack. But that wasn’t the only hurdle. Rockstar had also used Digital.AI and its Social Club; two mechanisms meant to operate the online portion of the game and protect the game from hackers, to support DRM protection. There were likely multiple layers here that needed to be unwound from each other in the code.
The level of intrusion into the game’s code will also likely aid modding efforts in a way. By understanding how the game operates, modders can achieve more complex manipulations of the game. The downside here is that this will make it easier for hackers to pounce on the game in the future. Red Dead Redemption 2’s modding community pales in comparison to the modding community of other Rockstar titles like GTA V. Maybe this change can help give the scene a booster shot.
Denuvo DRM sure has fallen a long way since it was first a herald of doom among cracking groups. Various groups disbanded or pledged not to touch Denuvo-protected games years ago. Now, it seems like many groups make a point of cracking the DRM it provides, mostly to prove a point. Just last week, a wide array of Denuvo-protected titles were cracked by scene-groups: Mafia: Definitive Edition, Marvel’s Avengers, and Death Stranding all in rapid succession.
Denuvo was introduced in 2016 and quickly became a go-to for developers looking to protect launch sales. DRM solutions are almost always cracked, and then quickly patched out by many developers. The chief reason for this seems to be that developers want to avoid backlash and potential performance issues. It seems that the background processes used by Denuvo to check source code for alterations can cause some issues, although the impact varies wildly by title.
The crack for this game appears to be distributed by EMPRESS, a cracker who appeared on the scene earlier this year by cracking other Denuvo titles.
It’s worth noting that the cracked version of Red Dead Online 2 cannot connect to Rockstar’s, so multiplayer will not be an issue. There may be some cheaters who can glean how to be more undetectable from the insights of cracking the game, but that’s still very unlikely.