Splatoon 2 players are finding the Nintendo Switch game increasingly overrun with hackers, who have figured out ways to not only claim an easy win, but also circumvent the game’s abuse report system. Their anger crested this week when a Splatoon 2 fan hacked the game’s leaderboards to display a message demanding that Nintendo install anti-cheat measures, or otherwise clean up the abuse of the multiplayer game.
Someone hacked the Splatoon 2 X Rank Leaderboard in an effort to call out Nintendo's lack of response to cheaters.— Nintendeal (@Nintendeal) July 12, 2018
"Please add anti cheat" pic.twitter.com/ehz4mmWL3c
Earlier in the week, several videos circulating via Twitter have shown teams squaring off, only for the first to be immediately killed by a single player on the other side.
In one, a team of presumably non-hackers face a team of at least one Squid Kid who doesn’t play fair. Within seconds, that player (“Fuck Ninty” is their username, based on the clip) manages to ready their special weapon and explode its yellow ink over the entire map, killing every single member of the other team.
Since the game’s launch last July, Splatoon 2’s multiplayer modes have been rife with players who have unlimited ink meters, or superpowered weapons or even the ability to turn invisible. These can only be achieved through hardware exploits, and ones that remain hard to patch out; Nintendo currently relies on legitimate players to report anyone manipulating the game through Splatoon 2’s SplatNet app. Problem is, some of the cheats being used simply can’t be reported.
Splatoon 2 got a patch today, and like most multiplayer shooters, the changes it introduces are the usual incremental boosts, nerfs and balances to weapons and the like. Nothing in the notes specifically mentions any exploit. This thread on the Splatoon subreddit from a month ago lists a number of known exploits and advice on how to avoid or protect against them (usually blocking the offender).
Still, Nintendo is relying on players themselves to police the game — and that’s hard to do when someone’s cheats can’t be called out or the match it’s over almost immediately. That’s what got a player mad enough they were willing to risk a ban (by hacking the leaderboards) to call it out.
“My purpose was to call attention to the current issue that plagues the game, and I’ve done that,” said the leaderboard hacker (calling themselves “PleaseAddAntiCheat”). “But my message is, please make protecting your players the top priority.”
Update: The player confirmed that they were in fact banned from Splatoon 2’s multiplayer, by Nintendo, for the leaderboard hack. The suspension is indefinite.