Older Rockstar games may be defective due to anti-piracy measures
If you have ever had the sensation that old Rockstar games run poorly on PC, you are not alone. Many fans have long complained about performance issue...
If you have ever had the sensation that old Rockstar games run poorly on PC, you are not alone. Many fans have long complained about performance issues, which have largely been attributed to their age and the fact that they must be run on operating systems that did not exist at the time of their release. However, that may not necessarily be the reason at all.
In the realm of the internet, fans have discovered indications of cracked game files within the official releases of Max Payne 2, Midnight Club 2, and Manhunt. According to data miners, this implies that the game files contain elements from a pirated version that have been cracked by third parties to circumvent anti-piracy measures. However, these files may potentially trigger Rockstar's own anti-piracy features, even if the game copy in question has been lawfully acquired.
According to Twitter user, game developer, and modder Silent, all of this originates from files found within the code. In the example below, they showcase a file within Midnight Club 2 bearing the name "Razor 1911" - the name of a software cracking group. Presumably, this suggests that the Steam port is not based on the legitimate release of the game but rather on an online available pirated version. This could be attributed to Rockstar having lost the necessary files to officially publish it.
The same issue appears to be present in Manhunt as well, as documented at the end of a video by YouTuber Vadim M. It becomes evident that there are numerous similarities between the Steam version of Manhunt and a pirated copy of Razor 1911 from 2004. The problems are nearly identical, including the fact that they did not function properly on Vista - which was released after the cracked version. This was not an issue with the physical release, leading many to believe that Rockstar relied on the illegal copy instead.
However, that is not the worst part. Once the Steam copy protection is activated, it deems the game version as illegitimate. As a result, issues arise such as locked doors and significant performance problems, rendering the game unplayable for many. Previously, these problems were attributed to the age of the game, but the video suggests that it is due to it being based on the cracked version.
As explained in the video, a signature of the crack group Myth was found in the executable file of Max Payne 2. We have been aware of this for some time, as it made headlines and prompted Rockstar to update the game in order to remove it. Our news editor, James Troughton, was able to confirm that it is indeed still present in the game, albeit renamed and unused.
This is all very peculiar, to say the least. However, one possible explanation is the lost source code, which means that Rockstar relied on piracy to re-release these titles. This puts the company in an uncomfortable position, as no game studio endorses piracy. For the fans, it also means that they paid for a version of the game that is freely available, along with intentionally induced errors due to the anti-piracy measures that make it impossible to complete the game.
So far, Rockstar has not yet responded to the recent resurgence of interest in this matter and has also not updated all the affected games.