Helldivers 2 Developer Explains Use of Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat on PC Version
10.02.2024 - 03:25
In light of player criticism from its use of the notorious GameGuard anti-cheat in Helldivers 2, developer Arrowhead Game Studios has released a statement explaining its use of the anti-cheat system, and especially why the studio went with the kernel-level GameGuard anti-cheat system.
The developer kicks things off by explaining that, while GameGuard is a kernel-level anti-cheat software that could even be classified as a rootkit, it’s one of the more effective ways that the studio can combat cheating. The studio also emphasises that GameGuard will not stay installed on a player’s PC if the game has been uninstalled, and that the anti-cheat doesn’t collect sensitive information about players, following global laws for user privacy like Europe’s GDPR.
Responding to questions about why Helldivers 2 even needs an anti-cheat system, considering the game is a purely co-op game with no competitive aspects to it, technical director Peter Lindgren talks about wanting to prevent cheaters from negatively affecting non-cheating players by, for example, ruining the progression curve of Helldivers 2 by raising a mission’s rewards for all players.
“When we released Helldivers 1 on PC there was effectively no anti-cheat implemented,” says Lindgren as part of an anecdote about cheating in the original Helldivers. “Additionally Helldivers 1 uses a peer-to-peer networking model, and that means, from a security perspective, each game client will blindly trust each other. Shortly after release we noticed there was a cheat going around which granted 9999 research samples.”
“Unfortunately any non-cheaters in the same mission would also be granted 9999 research samples. These non-cheating players now had their entire progression ruined through no fault of their own.”
In an FAQ further into the statement, the studio also confirms that, while it is using GameGuard to protect the monetisation structures in Helldivers 2, the studio’s primary motivation of the studio’s choice of anti-cheat was to protect the social aspect of the Galactic War meta story.
Helldivers 2 is available on PC and PS5. The game has been quite successful, especially on PC where it became Sony’s biggest Steam launch yet.